In May 2016, Global Affairs Canada launched a public consultation to review Canada’s approach to international assistance. It is the first time in over two decades that such a review has taken place.
Since 2010, Ministerial restrictions prevented spending on abortion services in Canadian aid. It is believed that this approach led to the chill effect on other sexual and reproductive health and rights-related issues, including family planning, and a shift towards the adoption of more regressive positions on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and gender equality in multilateral negotiations.
The new Minister of International Development has been given explicit instructions to close existing gaps in the Muskoka Initiative with respect to reproductive rights and health care for women.
We therefore see this review process as a key opportunity to ensure that Canada’s future development assistance and foreign policy include a clear focus on a comprehensive rights-based approach to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights, with particular attention paid to supporting access to safe abortion care, comprehensive sexuality education, and advocacy related to SRHR. Global Affairs Canada could do so by developing a policy or strategy to guide the governments’ efforts in this regard, both in terms of development viagra initiatives as well as foreign relations.
Global Affairs Canada has prepared a discussion paper to inform the public consultation process. The paper identifies ‘health and rights of women and girls’ as one of 6 priority areas. At this point in the process, the framing of this priority area does not make reference to support for safe abortion care, comprehensive sexuality education, advancement of SRHR in policy dialogue, or advocacy for SRHR, among other gaps.
Action Canada encourages all organizations and individuals who are interested in raising these issues to participate in the consultation.
Deadline to participate in the online consultation is July 31, 2016. Action Canada will make public its response to the consultation in mid-June.