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This year will mark a turning point for Canada's aid program and development agency. It will be marked by a profound shift in response to Canadians' call for tangible results through an effective, accountable aid program.
I have witnessed for myself the results achieved by our aid resources, supporting the less fortunate based on the principles of human rights, freedom, democracy and the rule of law -and reflecting Canadian government policies. I believe however that more can be accomplished with increased focus, efficiency, innovation and clear accountability.
This report highlights our commitment to Canadians to become more effective and the key steps we will take in 2008-09. This will not be easy and will require tough decisions and resilience. To achieve more effectiveness in our international aid, we depend on the support of all.
After all, such reforms are in support of our goal to reduce poverty, promote human rights, and increase sustainable development, in priority areas and regions. We will remain steadfast in our commitment to the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan, our largest aid program with $1.2 billion over a 10-year period. We will revitalize our engagement in the Americas with the key objectives of promoting basic democratic values, building prosperity, and meeting new security challenges. Canada will meet its G8 commitment to double aid to Africa, reaching investments of $2.1 billion this fiscal year.
We will continue to bring Canada's recognized expertise in the areas of public sector reform, technical and vocational education and training, equality between women and men, private sector development, the environment, health and basic education; and to lead innovative programming.
These efforts and the Canadian International Development Agency's many other initiatives in poverty reduction and sustainable development are reflected in the Agency's 2008-09 Report on Plans and Priorities, which I am pleased to table for Parliament's consideration.
The Honourable Beverley J. Oda, P.C., M.P.
Minister of International Cooperation
I submit for tabling in Parliament, the 2008-09 Report on Plans and Priorities for the Canadian International Development Agency.
This document has been prepared based on the reporting principles contained in the Guide for the Preparation of Part III of the 2008-09 Estimates: Reports on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Reports:
President, Canadian International Development Agency
Canadians recognize that their future is intertwined with that of people around the world, and that the failure to achieve significant political, economic, social and environmental progress in the developing world will have an impact on Canada in terms of long-term security and prosperity.
The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is the Government's principal organization responsible for development and humanitarian policy and programming. Its aim is to reduce poverty, promote human rights, and support sustainable development, in a manner consistent with Canadian foreign policy.
Canada's development assistance program promotes Canadian values: compassion for the less fortunate, democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law. It also promotes the interests of Canadians: contributing to Canada's voice on the world stage, building long-term relationships with emerging economies, and supporting global peace and security.
1.2.1 Challenging Canada's aid program
In partnership with recipient countries, other donors, international and multilateral organizations, and Canadians, CIDA is contributing to the achievement of notable results.
A snapshot of results in 2006-07
Recipient countries are increasingly taking charge of their own development, strengthening democratic governance, enhancing skills in government and civil society, and sharpening competitiveness in their business sectors.
Over the past decades, however, questions with respect to the effectiveness of aid investments remain based on the persistence of intractable poverty throughout the developing world. This has given rise to rethinking the approach to development.
With Canadians questioning the effectiveness and results of their aid program, a number of studies and reviews have made recommendations on ways to improve international assistance that the Government has duly taken into consideration. These are informing CIDA's plans and priorities.
On October 10, 2007, the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) tabled its review1 of Canada's aid program. It recognized Canada's progress in areas such as its whole-of-government approach to working with fragile states (e.g., Afghanistan and Haiti), humanitarian action in Africa, and increases in the aid budget. The review also identified the following main challenges: continuing to increase aid to meet Canada's commitments made at Monterrey; focusing its aid on fewer partner countries to generate stronger impact; and galvanizing the implementation of the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness.2
The OECD also released its Overview Report of the 2006 Survey on Monitoring of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. It notes that CIDA programming is well aligned with country priorities and increasingly coordinated with other donors, but that further progress is required by all donors to ease the administrative burden on recipient countries. Areas for improvement for CIDA include increasing the proportion of coordinated missions and shared analytical work with other donors, untied aid, and harmonization of practices and procedures.
With urgent basic needs unmet for hundreds of millions, an increasingly complex geopolitical environment, and a climate that affects the world's poorest regions, development is a risky endeavor. Delivering assistance in areas of conflict and political instability such as the Kandahar Province of Afghanistan and the West Bank and Gaza territories represents significant challenges for program delivery and staff security. Such risks are mitigated by focusing support to address humanitarian needs and by working with government and NGO partners with experience in working in similar environments.
1.2.2 Transforming Canada's international assistance program
The Government is significantly increasing the resources it devotes to international assistance. Budget 2007 reaffirmed Canada's commitment to double international assistance from 2001-02 to 2010-11, bringing the International Assistance Envelope (IAE) to $4.4 billion in 2008-09. CIDA will manage 67.4 per cent of the IAE, or $2.96 billion in 2008-09.
As highlighted above, although Canada's international assistance program has produced some notable achievements, new realities and a more complex international environment require a new approach. Canadians have great expectations for their aid program, and the Government will live up to them. Therefore, Budget 2007 laid out a clear program that will transform both Canada's aid program, and its aid agency:
1.2.3 Transforming CIDA
In support of the Government's aid effectiveness agenda, CIDA will pursue its Transformation for Results Initiative that seeks to move the Agency towards a more effective and accountable bilateral development organization. The new structure will ensure that CIDA:
These changes are the foundation on which CIDA will build improved clarity of roles, enhanced field presence and improved ability to achieve and demonstrate results.
1.2.4 Clear priorities for Canada
The Canadian role in Afghanistan is one of our most important foreign engagements in many decades. The priority to Afghanistan is also reflected in the 2007 Speech from the Throne. This political and military commitment is supported by CIDA's largest and most complex aid program. The whole-of-government approach is critical to Canada's success. For example, in Kandahar, the Provincial Reconstruction Team includes the Department of National Defence, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), CIDA, Corrections Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). This whole-of-government effort includes CIDA's support for long-term reconstruction and poverty reduction, and DFAIT's support for stabilization and short-term reconstruction through the Global Peace and Security Fund. These programs are in addition to humanitarian assistance, and focus on meeting basic needs of refugees and others affected by conflict. Canada is a top donor in Afghanistan, with a commitment of $1.2 billion through 2011.
Canada's commitment to double its aid to Africa by 2008-09 from 2003-04 levels, to reach $2.1 billion, confirmed by the Prime Minister at the 2007 G8 Summit in Germany, will be met. DFAIT, through its support for the African Union's peace support operations in Sudan, for example, contributes to this commitment, as does the Department of Finance, as the Government's lead with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and the International Development Research Centre, which has focused much of its research support in African countries. Canada will be first amongst G8 countries to meet its commitment to Africa and will be able to proudly take on its role of host of the 2010 G8 Summit.
Canada's re-engagement in the Americas is a priority announced in the Speech from the Throne in October 2007. Through renewed engagement, Canada will contribute to building a more prosperous, democratic, secure and safe hemisphere. Canada's international development assistance in economic development, governance, and social programming helps create an enabling environment for increased prosperity, economic opportunity, and access to the benefits of democracy. Canada will continue to play a leadership role in Haiti through our commitment of $555 million from 2006 to 2011. Canada's approach will draw upon government resources including commercial, defence, diplomatic, international assistance and immigration.
In cooperation with DFAIT, CIDA will follow through on the November 2007 Government Response to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development's report entitled "Advancing Canada's Role in International Democratic Development". Actions include establishing a 'panel of experts' to study Canadian capacity to deliver democracy support; the development of a CIDA-specific governance analysis tool; supporting efforts to improve greater coordination among Canadian organizations delivering democracy support; and establishing research programs to inform CIDA programming in this area. CIDA will also work with DFAIT to develop a focused policy statement on democracy support.
The Agency will develop a plan for a renewed approach to technical and vocational education and training, initially informed by a round-table of experts in winter 2008. CIDA is also renewing, with interdepartmental colleagues and other stakeholders, its private sector engagement. As well, the Prime Minister announced the Canada-Caribbean Institutional Leadership Development Project during his summer visit to Barbados. The performance of this project will inform options for increasing support for public sector reform in developing countries, including a Canadian institute of public service. Such an institution would aim to improve the coherence of Canada's efforts to strengthen the performance of developing countries' public sector and assist in policy development.
1.2.5 The International Environment
Over the past ten years, a global consensus has emerged on the goals and principles of development cooperation:
In 2008-09, the international community, including Canada, will be assessing the progress on the goals and principles of development cooperation agreed upon since 2000.
A multi-stakeholder UN meeting will be held in 2008 to review progress and accelerate action to help achieve MDG targets by 2015. The third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, to be held in Accra, Ghana, in September 2008, constitutes the first milestone to assess progress and performance on implementation of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, and to identify actions to accelerate achievement of the Declaration's commitments and targets by 2010.
Canada was a strong advocate for including civil society into the discussions on aid effectiveness. Its efforts have delivered. The international community, including Canadian civil society, is now engaged in a dialogue to better understand the role and contribution of civil society to development and the effectiveness of aid. This issue will be a priority for discussion in Accra.
Another major event will be the Doha Conference on Financing for Development, to be held December 2008 in Qatar. This conference will review progress on implementing the actions contained within the six thematic areas of the Monterrey Consensus. These include developing countries' efforts to mobilize resources for public and private investments, reductions in the external debts of developing countries, further liberalization of trade, greater and more effective development assistance and addressing some systemic issues.
These events will offer Canada an opportunity to affirm its commitment to poverty reduction, and more effective aid delivery.
Financial and Human Resources
|Financial Resources 2008-09 (Planned spending)
|Human Resources 2008-09
|1,834 Full Time Equivalents
CIDA's aim to reduce poverty, promote human rights, and increase sustainable development is supported through two strategic outcomes described below.
|Selected Performance Indicators
|1. Increased achievement of development goals consistent with Canadian foreign policy objectives
|2. Sustained support and informed action by Canadians in international development
|Strategic Outcome 1: Increased achievement of development goals consistent with Canadian foreign policy objectives
|Countries of concentration
|Enhanced capacity of countries of concentration to achieve development goals
|Fragile states and countries experiencing humanitarian crisis
|Reduced vulnerability of crisis-affected people
Restored capacity of public institutions and civil society
|Selected countries and regions
|Enhanced capacity of selected countries and regions to achieve stability and/or development goals
Contribution to international interests of the Government of Canada
|Multilateral, international and Canadian institutions
|Enhanced capacity and effectiveness of multilateral institutions and
Canadian/international organizations in achieving development goals
|Strategic Outcome 2: Sustained support and informed action by Canadians in international development
|Engaging Canadian citizens
|Increased awareness, deepened understanding and greater engagement of Canadians with respect to international development issues
|Allocated across program activities
|Provide support services that are not specific to any individual channel of program delivery
* Financial and human resource costs for Internal Services have been allocated to the other programs activities, as required by TBS.
Program and Management Priorities
Over the planning period, CIDA's efforts will aim at transforming for more effective, accountable aid, while reflecting the Government's policies and priorities. More specifically:
Canada's international assistance program has produced some notable achievements in areas such as advancing equality between women and men, and innovative micronutrient initiatives in developing countries. Although two-thirds of Canadians support international assistance and believe it can make a difference, the program has been criticized with continuing scepticism that real results are being achieved. In his reply to the 2007 Speech from the Throne the Prime Minister stated that Canada's international assistance program would be refocused and strengthened.
Transforming the aid program has a clear purpose: to become more effective and achieve results. To demonstrate real results for Canadians' aid dollars requires focusing international assistance in countries, strengthening presence on the ground in order to be more responsive and make better choices and reducing the cost of doing business to ensure more resources reach the poor in developing countries.
Strengthening Geographic Focus
Focusing aid efforts and resources in certain countries will increase the effectiveness and accountability of Canadian aid, delivering greater results on the ground and increasing Canada's influence as a donor. It will enable the Agency to deploy more staff to the field and to make better choices based on deeper knowledge of local conditions. Bringing more resources to bear in these countries will also improve the Government's ability to monitor and evaluate the Canadian investments and their development impacts, to manage risks and to respond to changing conditions.
The Government will realign its bilateral resources to countries selected on the basis of criteria that will include for example the level of poverty, the alignment with the Government's priorities and shared values, and our ability to make a difference.
This will build on results already achieved - in 2006-07, the top 15 recipients of CIDA's bilateral assistance accounted for 69 per cent of bilateral spending, up from 55 per cent in 2000-01. In line with Budget 2007's commitment, we will aim to be amongst the top 5 donors in the majority of Canada's countries of concentration. This will further enhance our impact, and improve how we work with our partners to achieve results.
Strengthening CIDA's Field Presence
The OECD indicated in its 2007 Peer Review of Canada's international assistance that CIDA's highly centralized management structure and decision making is incompatible with its desire to gain influence and impact on development issues with recipient country governments and among other donors. Budget 2007 indicated that Canada would focus aid in countries and put more staff in the field.
The benefits of greater presence in the field can be maximized with a transfer of authorities allowing the field team to respond more quickly to local conditions and to strengthen Canada's ability to act in concert with other donors and recipient governments. To strengthen its presence and leadership capacity in priority developing countries, CIDA will increasingly shift management authority and resources from headquarters to the field.
Based on experience gained to date, CIDA is building decentralized field options that will accommodate local conditions and capacities, work with the infrastructure available through other organizations, particularly DFAIT, and minimize cost implications. As part of a redesigned approach, CIDA will increase its presence in the field. It will rationalize its presence in other countries and at headquarters. Also, CIDA will recruit locally in countries where suitable candidates are available.
Further Aid Untying
Tied aid is a practice whereby development assistance is used for the procurement of goods and services from the donor country or from a limited number of countries. International studies have demonstrated that tied aid represents a major efficiency loss of between 15 and 30 per cent. This is money that does not reach the intended beneficiaries.
Under CIDA's existing policy, it is mandatory to untie Canadian aid to the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) with the exception of food aid, management services, and technical cooperation. For aid to non-LDCs, CIDA can use international competitive bidding on contracts. In Canada, 50 percent of food aid remains tied to Canadian providers.
Since the implementation of the current policies, Canada's untying ratio as reported to the OECD has improved from 32 per cent in 2001 to 63 per cent in 2006. While this represents a significant increase, it is still lower than most other donors, the average of which is over 90 per cent. In its 2007 Peer Review of Canada, the OECD also recommended further untying of food aid and the promotion of more local and regional procurement from developing country firms.
The October 16, 2007 Speech from the Throne states that "our government will bring greater focus and effectiveness to Canada's international assistance to ensure that Canadians' money is well spent." Further untying Canadian aid is an efficient means to support this objective. Building on results achieved to date, the future years will see improvements in CIDA's ratio of untied aid.
Improving Administrative Efficiency
In Budget 2007, the Government underscored its commitment to ensuring that the maximum amount of aid reaches those in need. In practice, this means a disciplined assessment of administrative costs to ensure that they are minimized and focused on the necessary requirements of stewardship and due diligence, and effective and efficient program delivery.
In 2002-03, CIDA's operating costs accounted for 10.1 per cent of total spending. Since then, CIDA has reduced its operating costs to 7.9 per cent of total spending. Despite CIDA's recent success in improving its efficiency, critics claim that Canada spends a higher percentage of its international assistance on administrative costs than do other donor countries. However, there is a major difficulty in comparing such costs because expenditure information on international development is flawed as donor countries employ different definitions of administrative costs in their reports. Comparing itself with five other federal departments administering large transfer payment programs, CIDA noted that its administrative costs as a percentage of total spending is lower than any of the five other departments.
While CIDA's efficiency has been improving, there is scope for further improvement in order to follow through on the commitment made in Budget 2007. To become more efficient, CIDA will ensure that greater country focus results in reduced costs; pursue further options for more efficient delivery of program and administrative services; increase financial delegations and other authorities; increase the average size of its projects to achieve economies of scale; standardize and streamline internal business processes; and invest in financial systems and practices that facilitate the Agency's efforts in controlling administrative costs.
Independent Evaluation of Canada's International Assistance Program
Budget 2007 committed the Government to examine options to ensure the independent evaluation of Canada's international assistance program in order to provide parliamentarians and Canadians with a more objective assessment of the results we achieve with our international assistance.
The 2006 Federal Accountability Act requires all federal government departments and agencies to evaluate all federal government grants and contributions programs within five years. The Treasury Board is renewing its policy suite, including the Evaluation Policy, with the aim of strengthening the independence/neutrality of the evaluation function and enhancing rigour and professionalism in the conduct of evaluations across the federal government. The new Policy will improve the quality of information for parliamentarians and Canadians on the results achieved with our international assistance.
The President of CIDA oversees the evaluation function of the Agency with the advice and assistance of an Evaluation Committee, which he chairs. The committee includes two external members (from DFAIT and the private sector). The Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) in its 2006 Management Accountability Framework assessment rated CIDA's evaluation function as "strong". CIDA's current evaluation coverage is about 70 per cent of all programs over seven years, or 10 per cent a year.
There is a general move, in the donor community, towards greater independence with reforms being designed based on individual country realities.
CIDA will build on the "strong" rating in TBS' 2006 Management Accountability Framework assessment and further strengthen governance and oversight of the Agency's evaluation function in a cost-effective manner. The composition of CIDA's Evaluation Committee will be enhanced to include more independent members.
A series of additional measures will also be implemented to enhance the coverage, independence, quality and rigour of evaluations. These measures will include ensuring that 100 per cent of CIDA's programs are evaluated over a five-year cycle.
Aid Effectiveness on the International Stage
Internationally, a consensus has emerged from over 50 years' experience in development cooperation and a growing body of research into development effectiveness reflecting that past approaches to development cooperation were too narrowly focused and often failed to recognize the cultural and political context in which development takes place. At the heart of this evolution has been one overwhelming concern: improving the effectiveness of development cooperation.
The global consensus that has emerged is anchored in a series of internationally agreed documents: the Millennium Development Goals (2000), the Monterrey Consensus on Financing for Development (2002) and the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (2005).
The MDGs, which were agreed by the United Nations in 2000, provide a shared vision of a much-improved world by 2015. The goals inform country priorities and planning for development, concentrating on: eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; achieving universal primary education; promoting equality between women and men and women's empowerment; reducing child mortality; improving maternal health; combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; and ensuring environmental sustainability; as well as developing a global partnership for development.
The Monterrey Consensus (2002), adopted at the International Conference on Financing for Development, was the first global attempt to comprehensively address the challenges of financing development, especially in the context of meeting the MDGs.
In 2005, Canada, other donors and developing countries, recognizing the need for time-bound operational targets if the MDGs were to be achieved, endorsed the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. The Declaration articulates a new approach to development, with a number of shared commitments, and a process for monitoring progress.
In 2007, G8 leaders including Canada's Prime Minister confirmed that, "We are working to implement the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and recognize that both donors and partner countries have steps to take to improve the impact of aid. We must all work to encourage country ownership, assure alignment of aid programs with country priorities, reduce transaction costs of aid and improve donor coordination. We need to continue enhancing efforts to untie aid ... and disbursing aid in a timely and predictable fashion through partner country systems where possible."
As stated previously, the Accra HLF is the first milestone to report on progress achieved in implementing the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, in order to meet its 2010 timeline.
A notable initiative for Canada in the lead up to Accra is on civil society and aid effectiveness. Canada is a recognized leader on donor engagement with civil society organizations (CSOs). Canada is pursuing this initiative internationally through its chairmanship of the Advisory Group on Civil Society and Aid Effectiveness.
Civil society's contribution to development is considerable. CSOs are a highly effective mechanism for the delivery of social services and programs, and countries that are successful in reaching the poor are most often those in which a wide range of CSOs have emerged to work at the community level and hold governments accountable to citizens.
This was an overview of a very dynamic agenda for strengthened effectiveness of aid that will see CIDA taking concrete steps and making notable changes over the planning period. The next section provides a snapshot of the results the Agency seeks to achieve with its partners, in support of its corporate objectives. The examples cited are not meant to be comprehensive but to provide the reader with a better understanding of how the Agency aligns its sectoral expertise and programming response to a specific country context and set of challenges.