October 05, 2011 10:07 ET

Canadians Give Generously to East Africa Drought

Canada fulfills food security commitment

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Oct. 5, 2011) - Today, the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, announced the preliminary tally of funds donated by Canadians to registered Canadian charitable organizations working in East Africa on drought relief.

"Canadians have once again demonstrated their compassion and generosity by continuing to support the people of East Africa suffering from this catastrophic drought," said Minister Oda. "The Canadian government is proud to partner with Canadians to help those affected by the drought. We continue to work with partners on the ground to ensure Canadian aid is helping those who need it the most, including women and children."

Donations made by Canadians to registered Canadian charitable organizations, from July 6 to September 16, 2011, will be matched by the Government of Canada through the East Africa Drought Relief Fund.

The preliminary tally, as of October 4, is estimated to be just over $70 million with total contribution amounts to be verified by mid-October.

The Government, through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), will use the Fund for relief efforts that benefit the people in East Africa affected by the drought. CIDA will allocate the money raised through the Fund to experienced Canadian and international humanitarian organizations.

Minister Oda made her remarks during a keynote address at the McGill Conference on Global Food Security, where she highlighted Canada's international food security commitments.

"I am proud to report that Canada is the first G8 country to meet its L'Aquila commitment," said Minister Oda. "Canada's support will deliver results for sustainable agricultural development and for research and development needed to develop new seeds and crops that will be drought tolerant."

In fulfilling its L'Aquila commitment, the Government of Canada, through CIDA, helps countries improve food supply and long-term food security. Canada's support helps smallholder farmers, particularly women, to increase agricultural productivity, improve nutrition of malnourished children through diversifying diets, and strengthen agricultural livelihoods so families can meet their food needs. Canada is investing in agricultural research to spur scientific advances in crop production to ensure people have access to adequate, safe, and nutritious food.

The Minister underlined how Canada's programming includes a strong focus on nutrition when addressing emergency situations, and when building long-term food security. The Minister emphasized that nutrition is a key pillar in Canada's G8 Muskoka Initiative to improve Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, and that Canada is a leader in the global movement on Scaling Up Nutrition, which aims to tackle under-nutrition across a range of sectors, including agriculture and food, health, social protection, and education.

For more information on the Minister's speech at the McGill Food Security Conference, please visit CIDA's website.


Drought in East Africa

The ongoing drought is having a devastating impact on millions of lives throughout East Africa. People are experiencing acute malnutrition, crop failure and loss of livestock.

So far this year, the Government of Canada, through CIDA, provided a total of $72.35 million to support humanitarian operations in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. This funding is helping to meet the immediate humanitarian needs of the more than 13 million people who are affected by the ongoing drought in the region.

The following is a brief description of the projects being funded through Canada's $50-million additional response to the drought in East Africa, which supplemented the $22.35 million provided by CIDA earlier in 2011:

- World Food Programme (WFP) ($25.5 million)

- United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) ($7 million)

- United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) ($5 million)

- CARE Canada ($3.75 million)

- Oxfam Canada ($3.75 million)

- Action Contre la Faim (ACF) ($2.35 million)

- World Vision Canada ($1.2 million)

- Plan Canada ($1 million)

- United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) ($350,000)

- United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) ($100,000)

East Africa Drought Relief Fund

In recognition of the generosity of Canadians, Government of Canada announced on July 22, 2011, that it established the East Africa Drought Relief Fund.

The Government of Canada will contribute an equivalent amount of money to the Relief Fund based on the total amount of eligible donations made by individual Canadians, from July 6 to September 16, 2011, to registered Canadian charitable organizations responding to the East Africa drought.

The money raised through the Fund will be allocated by CIDA to established Canadian and international humanitarian organizations for relief efforts that benefit the people in East Africa affected by the drought.

The preliminary tally, as of October 4, is estimated to be just over $70 million with total contribution amounts to be verified by mid-October.


Canada's commitment on food security and sustainable agricultural development

Canada is proud to report that as of April 2011 Canada, it is the first G8 country to fully disburse its $1.18-billion L'Aquila commitment.

At the 2009 G8 Summit in L'Aquila, the Prime Minister announced that Canada's commitment to the L'Aquila Initiative on Food Security would be $1.18 billion over three years for sustainable agricultural development, which includes $600 million in additional resources.

In delivering on this commitment, CIDA, through its Food Security Strategy, is collaborating with key partners and partner countries to address immediate, medium- and long-term food security* and agricultural needs in support of country-owned plans. Examples of some of these key multilateral partners include:

  • World Bank Vulnerability Financing Framework—Canada's contribution to the Vulnerability Financing Framework includes support to two funding mechanisms, namely the Global Agricultural and Food Security Program (GAFSP) and the Global Food Crisis Response Program (GFRP). Under GAFSP, developing countries will have access to both private and public funding to support country-led plans increasing food security through sustainable agricultural development over the medium- to long-term. Under the GFRP, countries hardest hit by high and volatile food prices can request assistance to deal with immediate and short-term needs, such as school feeding programs, seed and fertilizer supplies, and small infrastructure projects to enhance agricultural productivity. Canada's total contribution is $230 million, with CIDA providing $182 million and Finance Canada providing $48 million.
  • International Fund for Agricultural Development — The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) works to ensure country-specific solutions to food security, with a particular focus on smallholder farmers. IFAD is helping more than 340 million smallholder farmers to improve their business practices, rehabilitate their farmlands, access finance and develop their markets. Canada's total IFAD allocation is $75 million, making Canada the fifth largest donor for the next three years.
  • Purchase for Progress initiative of the World Food Programme—Purchase for Progress (P4P) is an innovative program through which low-cost food can be purchased quickly from local farmers who also benefit from learning how to grow and sell more sustainable crops. This, in turn, helps to strengthen the development of local markets. Canada's contribution goes to P4P pilot projects in Ghana and Afghanistan.
  • Challenge Programs of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research—The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) is a global research-for-development partnership consisting of a group of international agricultural research centres and funders working with partners to reduce poverty and hunger, improve human health and nutrition and boost ecosystem resilience. It is the world's largest international agricultural research organization, with 15 international research centres spread around the world working in more than 100 countries. In addition to Canada's core funding to the CGIAR, CIDA is investing in two CGIAR Challenge Programs: HarvestPlus and the Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS). HarvestPlus is a research program that works to reduce micronutrient malnutrition by breeding key crops (for example, potatoes, beans, rice, wheat, maize, cassava) to produce varieties with higher nutritional value ($27 million). CCAFS is a new research initiative to overcome the threats of climate change to agriculture and food security by exploring new ways of helping vulnerable rural communities adjust to global changes in climate ($5.5 million).
  • Canada's total of $1.18 billion in sustainable agricultural development for fiscal years 2008–2009 to 2010–2011 has contributed to the following results

    • In 2009, CIDA's continued support to the Government of Mozambique's national program for agricultural development assisted 378,043 farmers' access to public extension services, such as technology and market information, and the irrigation of 2,062 hectares of land.

    • In 2010, Canada's support to IFAD helped smallholder farmers, particularly women, improve their business practices, rehabilitate their farmlands, access finance and develop their markets. Canada and IFAD are both working to play a crucial role in long-term food and nutrition security, and Canada's support to IFAD contributes to mitigating the effects of droughts on smallholder farmers.

* What is food security?

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, food security exists when people are able to access enough safe and nutritious food to live a healthy life. This food can be produced domestically, imported, or through food aid.

Almost one billion people around the world have too little to eat or are malnourished, a result of a number of factors. These include population growth and volatile food, transportation and agricultural costs, as well as struggling economies and reduced global investments in food and agricultural development.

For the men, women and children who are hungry, a lack of access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food is a central obstacle to reducing poverty, which impacts their health and limits their ability to learn in school and earn a living.

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