April 21, 2008 07:16 ET

Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA): Minister Oda Delivers Keynote Address at Conference of International Donors in Afghansitan

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN--(Marketwire - April 21, 2008) - The Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, today delivered a keynote address in Afghanistan, at an international aid conference that brought together donors from around the world. The following is a summary of her address:

"I'm delighted that so many donors are represented here today. I think it speaks volumes to our collective commitment to getting things right when it comes to harmonizing our efforts and working in an integrated fashion.

"As donors, we have an obligation not just to support development projects, but also to work hand-in-hand. We must combine our efforts in a way that maximizes resources, reduces overlap, and avoids distorting priorities. One of the most effective ways of doing this, I believe, is to ensure that the Afghan government is in the driver's seat, leading its own development agenda.

"A prime example is the Afghan government's own National Solidarity Program. The program is setting up a network of thousands of elected village councils that are designing, implementing and administering their own projects. Even in an area as challenging as Kandahar, these projects are having an exceptional impact in critical areas such as water supply, irrigation and transport, to give just few examples.

"Canada firmly believes that donor countries must drive forward development and reconstruction in the areas of Afghanistan where they are well established and best placed to do so. This requires making real progress on targeted local objectives - objectives that are in keeping with the Afghanistan Compact and National Development Strategy.

"Canada's engagement with Afghanistan is entering a new phase that is in keeping with this principle.

"At the request of Prime Minister Harper, four other Canadian ministers and I are leading a whole-of-government approach based on new parliamentary consensus and recommendations set out by an Independent panel of Canadian experts.

"Through this process, we'll have some tough decisions to make. And, while Canada will continue to work with our international partners on the national front, we believe it is time for us to ensure that we are making a particular and focused contribution to development in Kandahar - to set down benchmarks, timelines and objectives for what we want to achieve in the province in the next three years.

"Another key concern, in terms of aid effectiveness, is strengthening, monitoring and evaluation functions. We can and must do a better job of building up mechanisms to better inform policy-making and budget decisions, and to keep track of progress and results achieved.

"This accountability is owed to both the Afghan people and to our own citizens. As I stressed to my colleagues at the recent meeting of G8 Development Ministers in Tokyo, this point is absolutely critical - international aid needs to be more focused, effective and accountable to demonstrate results."

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
    Joanna Bailey
    Press Secretary
    Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
    Media Relations Office