Thank you very much.
I am very pleased to be here today.
Mr. Chair, thank you for the opportunity to be here today to discuss supplementary estimates (B) related to the Canadian International Development Agency.
I'm joined by Margaret Biggs, CIDA's president and accounting officer, and Sue Stimpson, chief financial officer, as well as David Moloney, our executive vice-president.
Over the past three years, since our government first introduced its aid effectiveness agenda, we have accomplished a great deal to make Canada's international assistance more focused, efficient, and accountable. First, we untied Canada's food aid in 2008 and are on track to untie all of our aid by 2012-13. This means that our aid dollars can go further, buying needed food and supplies closer to the people in need and supporting more local and regional economies, reducing high transportation costs.
Secondly, CIDA has strengthened its focus both geographically and thematically so that its resources and efforts have the critical mass needed to achieve the greatest impact, making a real difference for those living in poverty.
I outlined also how CIDA will focus its work on three thematic areas, starting with food security. We will follow three paths: food aid and nutrition, sustainable agricultural development, and research and development.
Under our second thematic focus, children and youth, the three paths we will follow are: child survival, including maternal health; access to quality education; and safe and secure futures for children and youth.
Mostly recently, I outlined CIDA's sustainable economic growth strategy and its three paths: building economic foundations, growing businesses, and investing in people.
We have completed a full review of CIDA's country strategies, aligning them with the national poverty reduction plans of our partner countries and with CIDA's focused priorities. At every step taken, we have maintained our government's commitment to accountability. This means taking our international commitments very seriously and fulfilling those commitments.
Budget 2010 ensured that Canada would double assistance by March 2011, increasing the international assistance envelope by 8% and bringing the annual aid budget to its highest level ever—to $5 billion. We doubled Canada's aid to Africa in 2008, one year ahead of the commitment deadline, and have maintained that level of commitment since.
Our government has also made significant new international commitments. To address the food crisis in 2008 at the G-8 L'Aquila summit, we committed to double our support to food security, with 50% going to Africa.
CIDA is responsible for managing $93.5 million of Canada's fast-start climate change funding in 2010. We are helping vulnerable, small, developing countries meet the challenge of climate change with contributions to the least developed countries fund, the Haiti world food program, for Vietnam, for Ethiopia's climate change projects, the World Bank's forest carbon partnership, and the Global Environment Facility trust fund.
At this year's G-8 summit in Muskoka, Prime Minister Harper announced $1.1 billion in new incremental funding over the next five years to improve maternal, newborn, and child health. Of this, 80% will be directed to sub-Saharan Africa, specifically to Mozambique, Mali, Malawi, Nigeria, south Sudan, Ethiopia, and Tanzania, because this region faces the greatest challenges in reducing maternal and child mortality.
Canada's efforts will focus on strengthening health systems by increasing access to local health centres that are adequately equipped with trained health workers, improving the nutritional well-being of mothers and children, and reducing the burden of diseases that are the major causes of maternal and child mortality. Canada will also address identified urgent gaps in maternal, newborn, and child health care in Afghanistan, Haiti, and Bangladesh.
Canada fulfilled its G-20 commitments to replenish the African development fund, as announced by Prime Minister Harper in Seoul in November. Our government remains committed to Africa.
As I said, Canada doubled its aid to Africa to $2.1 billion a year. In fact, last year 45% of CIDA's total aid budget went to Africa. Africa received 62% of our total food aid, 55% of all of our agricultural support, and 51% of our multilateral aid. This year we witnessed the devastating effects of major natural disasters that have overwhelmed their governments and have targeted countries least equipped to reduce their impact, the largest being in Haiti and Pakistan.
Haiti has been the poorest country in the Americas, so in 2009 the international community assisted the Haitian government to develop a national poverty reduction plan. Then this past January it was struck by a devastating earthquake that virtually destroyed its capital; thousands died and thousands more were made homeless, and Haitians faced even greater hardship.
In response to the Haiti earthquake, CIDA promptly allocated $150 million in humanitarian assistance, and at the international donors conference on Haiti in New York last March, Canada committed $400 million over two years to support reconstruction efforts, in addition to CIDA's ongoing five-year commitment of $555 million in development.
Due to the extraordinary needs in Haiti, CIDA is seeking $40 million in supplementary appropriations. This summer, when devastating floods affected more than 20 million Pakistanis and damaged more than 2 million hectares of agricultural land, one of the largest humanitarian emergencies ever faced by the international community, Canadians responded once again with great generosity, donating $46.8 million to the Pakistan flood relief fund.
To date, our government has announced $52 million in support of needed humanitarian assistance and early recovery initiatives. CIDA's support is helping to provide food to 7 million people each month, clean drinking water to over 4.6 million, and basic heath care to at least 716,000 victims of the flood.
In August, CIDA sought access to the government's crisis pool for $16.5 million because of the scale of this crisis, and this is also included in supplementary estimates (B). In Kandahar province, 26 schools have been constructed and another 24 are currently under construction. Another example of our work in Afghanistan is that 23,500 Kandaharis have received literacy training and 5,900 have completed vocational training.
The rehabilitation of the Dahla dam is proceeding well, with 137,500 cubic metres of silt now removed, providing 5,300 hectares of irrigated land for farmers. Over 7.2 million children have received, and continue to receive, polio vaccinations. Over 275,000 tonnes of food have been provided to 9 million Afghans in need; 3,800 Kandaharis have received microfinancing loans; and 66% of all Afghans have access to primary health services within a two-hour walk from their homes, rising from a foundation of only 9%.
Under supplementary estimates (B), we are seeking needed funds to support Canada's ongoing work in Afghanistan.
Finally, there are a number of small transfers to cover a range of operational issues.
In conclusion, Mr. Chair, money from these votes will be used to maximize the impact and effectiveness of Canada's development assistance, and I would be happy to discuss any of the items listed with you in further detail.