The Surprising Story Behind Canada's Declining Leadership in Foreign Aid

Experts weigh in on the need to recommit to foreign aid targets

Why It Matters

The Pearson Commission’s breakthrough report on foreign aid, delivered in September of 1969, which set the global Official Development Assistance (ODA) target of 0.7%, was a Canadian-led innovation. 50 years later, experts weigh in on the significance of this target to Canada’s global leadership in the next decade.

Quick history lesson: Fifty years ago, Canadians helped spearhead the now widely-adopted international target to provide foreign aid equal to 0.7% of Gross National Income in economically advanced countries. It was a remarkable Canadian innovation but something most people knew very little about. Today, Canada’s contribution to foreign aid falls short of this target and is declining. On the anniversary of the Pearson Commission on International Development, led by former Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, experts say Canada needs to recommit to meeting the Official Development Assistance (ODA) target.

According to the 1969 report by the commission, which was taken up in a UN resolution, the 0.7% target was ideally to be met by 1975. Years later, the deadline was extended to 2015. Almost fifty years aft

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