Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Giving Credit Where It Is Due

I want to somewhat belatedly congratulate International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda on this announcement last week, specifically:

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Untying food aid

The Government of Canada has changed its food aid policy to remove restrictions on sourcing food aid allowing for greater flexibility in where Canada’s food aid can be purchased. Canada will increase the untying of its food aid from 50% to 100% this year, which will open up to 100% of its food aid budget to international procurement with a special emphasis on purchasing food in developing countries. Purchases from developed countries will be limited to countries with similar policies on untying food aid. By untying restrictions on where food is purchased, Canada is promoting the development of local and regional markets and more importantly, increasing the speed, effectiveness, and efficiency of Canadian food aid.

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One of the professional accomplishments that I am proudest of is the work I was able to undertake with former International Cooperation Minister Aileen Carroll back in 2005 to change Canada's food aid rules to increase untying from 10% to 50%. Though it wasn't the sexiest policy issue (certianly no 0.7), in simple terms it meant that without the Government of Canada spending an extra dollar, fewer children in the world had to go to bed hungry. Now, even fewer will.