Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), after the act came into force in June 2008, a vice president-level steering committee on the implementation of the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act, ODA AA, was created to provide strategic guidance to the agency and to consider act-related policy decisions. As a result, CIDA employees have conducted the following consultations, meetings and reviews to ensure that future ODA disbursements are in accordance with the act:
(i) Reviewed strategic documents to ensure that the requirements of the act were reflected in key policy and programming documents. Key documents include: the department performance report, the report on plans and priorities, country development programming frameworks, and thematic strategies.
(ii) Developed a consultation directive to provide formal direction to CIDA employees. The development and revisions of the directive involved considerable internal consultations and meetings.
(iii) Held two interdepartmental meetings with other government departments impacted by the act. The purpose of the meetings was to provide an overview of the ODA AA, discuss the requirements under the act, and set key milestones for the process. The meetings were followed by continued support by CIDA to OGDs on the implementation of the act.
(iv) Increase consultations in the field by CIDA staff serving in countries abroad with local civil society, government, industry, businesses and community leadership.
Over the next few months and into the fall, the agency will engage partners and stakeholders, including governments, NGOs, the private sector and academia, in support of the development of strategies for CIDA’s thematic priorities. These consultations are intended to improve the agency’s knowledge and to seek advice on possible future directions.
In response to (b), the act states that international assistance can be reported as ODA if the competent minister is of the opinion that it: contributes to poverty reduction; takes into account the perspectives of the poor; and is consistent with international human rights standards. Given that the CIDA mandate is to reduce poverty, the act is already fully integrated into CIDA’s current CIDA programming.
The act also requires that CIDA prepare two annual reports on the Government of Canada’s official development assistance activities: a summary report and a statistical report. CIDA will submit the first Government of Canada summary report to Parliament on ODA activities in September 2009. The first statistical report will be published in March 2010. At that point, CIDA will be able to provide a more accurate breakdown of the percentage of Canada’s ODA expenditures.
In response to (c), progress has been made and CIDA is currently in compliance with the act. CIDA is reviewing its strategic documents to ensure that the requirements of the act are reflected in key policy and programming documents. The agency is taking measures to ensure that CIDA employees are aware of the requirements under the act through a consultation directive and to continue dialogue on the reporting requirement (i.e. the summary and statistical reports). CIDA is also providing guidance to other government department’s reporting obligations under the act, in a whole-of-government approach.