Inter Pares welcomes Canada’s feminist realignment of international assistance

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A rural Senegalese leader, addressing a gathering while visiting our counterpart Deccan Development Society in India. A central part of our feminist approach is to organize international exchanges, enabling mutual learning and solidarity-building.
 A rural Senegalese leader, addressing a gathering while visiting our counterpart Deccan Development Society in India. A central part of our feminist approach is to organize international exchanges, enabling mutual learning and solidarity-building.Credit: Samantha McGavin

Inter Pares welcomes the Government of Canada’s launch of its long-awaited international assistance policy (IAP). Following consultations that concluded July 2016 and through which Inter Pares made a series of recommendations, this policy establishes broad directions and commitments for Canada’s aid policy.

As a feminist organization, Inter Pares congratulates Minister Bibeau’s leadership in the creation of a feminist IAP – one that emphasizes the importance of transforming unequal and unbalanced power relations. The policy recognizes that women and girls around the world experience marginalization and impoverishment due to their gender, which manifests in high rates of violence against women, a lack of access to sexual and reproductive health and rights, limited political representation by women, and the feminization of poverty. The IAP also recognizes that an inclusive feminist approach is an effective entry point to addressing some of today’s most pressing global issues, including food insecurity, climate change, conflict and poverty.

We appreciate the establishment of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls as a stand-alone thematic pillar of Canada’s development assistance, as well as the integration of gender equality programming into the other areas of focus. This was a key recommendation to Global Affairs Canada from Inter Pares, and other collaborating organizations in articulating the elements of a feminist approach. Inter Pares also welcomes the establishment of a specific fund to support local feminist and women’s rights organizations with an accompanying allocation of $150 million over five years.

We welcome the recognition that a “more responsive international assistance also requires more efficient and effective funding mechanisms and approaches.” Inter Pares looks forward to further elaboration of the policy in the coming weeks and months. Specifically, we will be monitoring:

  • Details regarding the implementation of the policy;
  • Further financial commitments to components of the policy; and
  • Policy coherence within Global Affairs Canada, and among other government positions, priorities, and programs.

As noted in a recent report on investment related to food security in Senegal, private sector development is often ineffective in reaching development outcomes. As such, Inter Pares urges the government to step up their own investment in the new IAP.

As a social justice organization dedicated to peace, justice and equality, Inter Pares welcomes the IAP as a significant milestone in the government’s feminist reorientation of Canada’s international assistance. We look forward to working with the Government of Canada in further shaping and implementing a truly transformative, feminist vision of our relationship with people in the Global South. 

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