The Canadian government’s announcement of new humanitarian assistance funding is a promising start for people trapped in desperate situations, including people in Syria, and Yemen, the Rohingya people, and Venezuelan migrants.
Canadian Foodgrains Bank welcomes this humanitarian assistance, announced in the 2021 federal budget.
“We are pleased to see Canada recognize the plight of many millions of people around the world who are suffering in circumstances beyond their control,” says Paul Hagerman, who directs public policy for the Foodgrains Bank. “This funding will mean more people affected by war and persecution can be helped.”
Yet the scale of issues facing the world at the moment goes well beyond humanitarian emergency. It is disappointing to not see a bigger commitment to fighting the pandemic globally, when many lower income countries have not received a single dose of vaccine, endangering the lives of people and threatening economic recovery everywhere.
As well, the lack of longer-term commitments to helping people affected by poverty and hunger, including small-scale farmers, is troubling, says Hagerman.
“Looking forward, the federal government must make stable, adequate funding available for long-term development, to help lift the world’s poorest people out of poverty,” he says. “We know that even in the midst of this pandemic, many Canadians have remained generous, and would welcome Canada supporting a just and transformative recovery for all people in the world.”
It is widely recognized both in the Foodgrains Bank and across the wider development sector that we in Canada are not safe from the effects of the pandemic, until everyone is safe.
Canada’s international assistance budget must reflect both the severity of the situation we’re in now, while not forgetting about long-term development challenges.