Crossroads International welcomes the 2018 federal Budget as a positive investment towards empowering women and girls in the global south. Announced earlier this week, the Budget reiterates the government’s wider approach to equality and commits to gender-based budgeting, something Crossroads and other women’s rights organizations have been seeking for years.
Of particular note for our community, there was significant news regarding funding for the international aid sector. There is $2 billion in new money for international development assistance over 5 years, a significant increase compared with recent years. This new funding comes with an added commitment to transparency which is important not only for aid agencies but for all Canadians. The money will support Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy.
Crossroads International is encouraged by this Budget, especially following our discussions with Members of Parliament and staff from the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of International Development and La Francophonie’s office at the launch of Crossroads 60th anniversary celebrations on Parliament Hill on International Volunteer Day, December 5th.
Global Affairs Canada has made decisive, innovative strides in directing its development focus to women and girls. Now we must commit to a path to meeting our overseas aid funding commitment to ensure we can achieve our ambitions. As welcome as this new funding is, it is still far short of Canada’s global commitment to spend .7% of Gross National Income on overseas development. We must set out a detailed plan to reach this funding level if we are to truly be a global leader and maximize our potential to defend the rights of women and girls in the South.
With the support of Global Affairs Canada, and through partnership with organizations in the global South and Canadian volunteers, Crossroads International is making an impact. Consider:
- Volunteers contributed 54,077 in-kind hours valued at more than $1.9 million in 2016-2017
- 8,850 people in the South improved their income and more than 20,600 increased their capacity to access their rights in 2016-2017
- 17,000 women and girls increased their access to justice, developed leadership skills and became more financially autonomous in 2016-2017
Imagine what we could do together if Canada met its global funding commitment on overseas development.
For now, we celebrate the good news in Budget 2018, and we look forward to building on our work with our partners in the years to come.