Factsheet: The reality of Canadian aid promises

 The Canadian government has made commitments regarding aid over the last several years. Here's a rundown of which promises they have kept and which ones they have broken.

Promise
Double international assistance by 2010/11 from 2001/02 levels.

Reality
The Conservative government honoured the former government's pledge to double the international assistance envelope (IAE). In 2001/02 the IAE was $2.5 billion, and in 2010/11 it's $5 billion. But IAE isn't the same as Overseas Development Assistance (ODA). Canada fell short of doubling its ODA by 2010. ODA in 2001/02 was $2.9 billion and double that is $5.8 billion, which is where we should be for 2010/11. Instead, Canada's budgeted ODA for 2010/11 is $5.2 billion, which is $600 million short.

Promise
Delivery of HIV prevention, treatment and care to all those needing it by 2010.

Reality
Despite reassuring the international community about their commitment to this pledge, known as the Universal Access Pledge, the G8 has failed to deliver. It's estimated that they are only 40 per cent toward achieving this. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has identified maternal and child health as a priority for the G8. HIV is the leading global killer of women of reproductive age. Failure to honour this past commitment negatively affects any attempt to address maternal and child health.

Promise
Move toward the "average" level of aid among OECD donors.

Reality
This promise was made in the 2005/06 Conservative election platform. Aid is calculated as a percentage of gross national income (GNI). The UN target is 0.7% of GNI. In 2005, the average performance among donor countries was 0.33%, and in 2008 it was 0.47%. For Canada, 0.32% of GNI was directed to ODA in 2008, which ranked Canada number 16 out of 22 countries. A timetable for increasing Canada's ODA to 0.7% of GNI has not been set.

Promise
Double aid to sub-Saharan Africa.

Reality
At the 2005 Gleneagles Summit, the G8 promised to raise annual global development assistance by US$50 billion by 2010, with half of this increase earmarked to "more than double" annual aid to sub-Saharan Africa. Only about half of this increase has been delivered by G8 governments, and only a sliver of it directed to Africa. Many would claim Canada has already reached this commitment, but if they were to do what was promised at the 2005 Gleneagles summit, Canada would have to invest a further $600 million.