Mr. Speaker, with regard to a) the government tabled the summary of the Government of Canada's official development assistance 2008-2009 at the end of September 2009. It is the first report of its kind under the new Official Development Assistance Accountability Act. The report is fully compliant with the requirements of the Act.
It was the first time that the government presented a report including a comprehensive picture of the development assistance provided by all federal departments and agencies. The assistance reported in this report meets the official development assistance definition of the act and of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD. Under these definitions, official development assistance must contribute to poverty reduction.
In terms of CIDA’s implementation of the act, a number of actions were taken, including:
i) Clear directions were provided to CIDA staff to ensure that the provisions of the act were integrated in our programming. We take the implementation of the act seriously.
ii) CIDA also coordinated the production of the above mentioned whole-of-government report that was tabled in September on behalf of the Government. In doing so, CIDA ensured all the provisions of the Act were respected, including the requirements to provide Parliament with a summary of its own departmental performance report. CIDA also published, as required by the act, a statistical report on the total Canadian ODA for 2008-2009.
Poverty reduction has been at the core of CIDA's mandate for many years. CIDA’s ODA contributes to poverty reduction in developing countries in an effective and focused manner. We take the perspectives of the poor into account as a central element in delivering Canada's aid program, for instance through consultations with local partners and beneficiaries, participatory approaches and policy dialogue. Our programs are consistent with international human rights standards through our “Do No Harm approach”--ensuring that our programs do not contribute to violations of human rights.
With regard to b) there is no specific requirement for the evaluation of the reporting requirements of the act. However, the Federal Accountability Act, 2006, which modified the Financial Administration Act, section 42.1, requires that departments conduct evaluations of the relevance and effectiveness of each ongoing program for which they are responsible every five years. These evaluations are used as inputs for CIDA’s reporting to Parliament, including the departmental performance report.
In that context, CIDA prepares a rolling five-year evaluation plan to address the requirements of the Federal Accountability Act. The evaluation committee, composed of a majority of non-CIDA members, reviews the evaluation plan every year and advises on the adequacy of it. The evaluation committee also reviews each of the program evaluations completed under the plan to advise on their adequacy and readiness for approval, so that they can made public.
The most recent program evaluations undertaken by the agency are posted at the CIDA website: www.CIDA.ca/Performance/Evaluation/Evaluation Reports.