The COVID-19 pandemic is a child rights crisis. It threatens decades of hard-won progress to advance children’s access to nutrition, education, health, and protection. Bold action is needed to ensure that those being hit the hardest – including children living in war zones, remote communities and refugee camps – aren’t left behind.
For this reason, we welcome the commitment in today’s federal budget of an additional $1.4 billion in international assistance over five years. We were also pleased to see additional support directed at some of world’s worst crises, including the Rohingya response and the Venezuela migrant and refugee crisis.
At the same time, we are disappointed that the federal commitment falls short of Canadian civil society’s proposed target to increase Canada’s global spending to just 1% of what we spend at home to battle the pandemic – a goal we have been calling for in our Protect a Generation Campaign. It is a missed opportunity for Canadian leadership to tackle the devastating international fallout from COVID-19.
“Before the pandemic, children around the world were already facing a triple threat to their rights from conflict, climate change and food insecurity. This year the global number of people in need of humanitarian assistance is expected to rise to 235 million. Half of them are children,” said Danny Glenwright, President and CEO of Save the Children.
“Although this funding boost will help address immediate COVID-19 response efforts, as well as meet some humanitarian need, it will not get us back on track to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. We know that Canadians care about the global impact of the pandemic and want to emerge from it in a more equal and equitable world. The time to act is now.”
Today’s federal budget does not provide adequate, stable and long-term funding for the required international aid efforts. The consequences of this could be devastating for a generation of children.
The G7 meeting in June will be the next test of Canadian leadership and an opportunity to build a coalition to ensure that all countries have the necessary tools to build back a healthier, safer and equitable world. We need to see strong commitments on vital areas of global cooperation, such as getting all children back to school, averting famine and ensuring we do not leave low income countries behind in vaccine access and roll out.
It is also anticipated that Canada will make an announcement on international climate funding in the coming weeks. It is critical that these commitments are additional to the new funding announced in today’s budget.
For additional information please contact Jessica Bryant, Head of Communications, Media and PR:
About Save the Children
Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. In Canada and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share.