International Development Minister Ahmed Hussen is prioritizing speeding up aid funding and promoting the Trudeau government’s feminist approach to development abroad. Hussen’s mandate letter emphasizes Canada’s feminist international assistance policy and the need to overcome bureaucratic obstacles that hinder its implementation. Hussen recognizes the positive impact of including women and girls in society, leading to poverty reduction, decreased gender-based violence, and increased economic development.
Hussen’s responsibilities include managing a $6.5-billion budget for development aid, including school construction and humanitarian funding during crises. The aim is to create a more prosperous and inclusive world that poses fewer security risks for Canada and its allies amidst climate change, pandemics, and high numbers of refugees.
While Canada has seen a decrease in foreign aid, Hussen argues that efforts go beyond mere funding, with Canada still being one of the top funders of development projects. He aims to improve the quality and effectiveness of aid, generating better results for those in need. His main goal is to improve client service and localize the work by partnering with smaller, innovative organizations abroad.
Hussen is leading a reform of how Global Affairs Canada funds projects, addressing outdated databases, and criteria to better support smaller impactful groups. The reform aims to streamline bureaucratic processes and better assess the effectiveness of aid projects.
In terms of promoting progress for women abroad, Hussen plans to strengthen groups in developing countries and collaborate with other rich nations to promote a feminist perspective. Efforts include a women’s voice and leadership program to build connections and enhance the effectiveness of organizations. Hussen also plans to leverage international development dollars to achieve sustainable socio-economic development.
The government aims to garner support from other countries and empower local groups to address issues like abortion access, ensuring that progress is not dependent on future Canadian governments. Additionally, the government plans to publish Canada’s third action plan on women, peace, and security, which will shape domestic policies, diplomatic priorities, and foreign aid agreements.
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