September 21, 2007 18:01 ET

CIDA: Message on the International Day of Peace-September 21, 2007

Peace: An Ongoing Mission

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 21, 2007) - The International Day of Peace is an opportunity to remind ourselves of the importance of peace to sustainable development and the reduction of poverty, and to renew our commitment as Canadians to help troubled parts of the world like Afghanistan, Haiti, and the Sudan.

This day began as a United Nations initiative to commemorate and strengthen
the ideals of peace among all nations and peoples. It can also serve to remind us that development cannot succeed in the absence of security, and that security cannot be maintained without sustainable development.

As Minister of International Cooperation, I am proud of the Canadian International Development Agency's contribution to the complex international effort to create and maintain peace and development.

Some of our initiatives are highly visible, like delivering humanitarian aid to war-affected populations. Less dramatic, but just as vital to peace, are the longer-term projects that help people overcome poverty through their own efforts.

Perhaps CIDA's most lasting contribution to long-term peace lies in its support to key international organizations like the United Nations that work to prevent conflict, provide immediate post-crisis recovery and maintain peace. The concerted efforts of multilateral organizations such as the UN and the World Bank, and the joint efforts of all donor countries have achieved significant progress. Since 1980, 81 countries have taken significant steps towards democracy, and civilian governments have replaced 33 military regimes.

Peace creates the conditions for sustainable development at the grassroots level. In Afghanistan, for example, a poor widow in Kabul can start a small business and feed her family. A girl in Kandahar can learn to read; a landmine victim is able to stand up and walk again. When these achievements are multiplied by tens of thousands, the momentum to sustain prosperous and peaceful societies is gradually built.

This momentum must not be weakened or lost. Six years ago, under the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, there were only 700,000 children in school, not one of them female. Now more than six million attend school, at least a third of them girls. On this International Day of Peace, please take a moment to think about how Canada contributes to global peace and security and to consider how you can support efforts to build peace and security for all the world's people.

The Honourable Beverley J. Oda

Minister of International Cooperation

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
    Veronique Bruneau
    Press Secretary
    Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
    Media Relations Office
    819-953-6534 (electronic version of document)