Current Canadian commitments should be more focused on children living in conflict and disaster, according to the “Making Children our Priority” report. Recent research conducted by the Canadian International Development Platform in partnership with World Vision found that only USD $123 million, or 3.9% of total Canadian ODA spending in 2017, went to projects in fragile, dangerous contexts that were specifically focused on children.
Over the next decade, 80% of the world’s poorest people will live in fragile and conflict-affected places – the majority of them will be children. These children face extreme levels of abuse, exploitation, deprivation and violence, says World Vision. They experience the highest levels of food insecurity, malnutrition, and mortality rates, and are nearly three times more likely to be out of school than other children. This directly impacts global security, gender equality and child well-being.
Promises to the CRC and made during the recent federal election will not succeed unless Canada and the international community redoubles its efforts in these places.
Key recommendations for Canada to meet its promises to children in dangerous places:
1) Place children and youth living in the world’s most difficult places at the heart of its international assistance strategy. To do so, the Government of Canada should:
- Invest in access to education, delivering on its campaign promise.
- Increase funding to peacebuilder programs, championing the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda.
- Establish a Global Children’s Advisory Council, amplifying voices of children from fragile contexts.
2) Increase funding to fragile context to at least 20% of Official Development Assistance (ODA).
3) Focus funding on preventing violence to improve efficiencies of time, money, and human resources.
4) Ensure gender-responsive programs. Conflict and displacement impacts women and girls the most.
5) Convene sector-wide dialogue. Partner with faith leaders to build engagement and development.
“Current commitments simply aren’t focused enough on children living in the most dangerous places,” says Michael Messenger, President and CEO of World Vision Canada. “Canada has to take advantage of the opportunity to step up and lead the global community in continuing to support the rights of children. I’m inspired by the girls and boys that I meet when I travel, especially in the world's toughest places. They have endured more hardships than we can imagine. Now is the time for Canada’s government to be bolder in working toward achieving global stability, security and gender equality.
“A proverb says ‘educating a girl educates a nation’,” says Martine Riziki, 16, the Gender Commission President for the Children’s Parliament in Beni, DRC. “I must tell Canadians that DRC is a good country - we have many problems, many conflicts, but we can develop ourselves. We can change our country, this is what I tell other children so they can regain hope for their life. I will struggle hard so that all of these things will come true.”
World Vision is committed to expanding and deepening its impact to support the most vulnerable children living in fragile contexts. In 2018, World Vision directly reached 10.1 million of the most vulnerable people in 10 of the most fragile countries where it operates – almost 60 per cent of those reached were children.
As the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) turns 30 and a new cabinet is sworn in this week, World Vision Canada is unveiling a new report offering five critical recommendations to the Government of Canada, urging continued focus on its international commitments and recent federal election promises to the world’s most vulnerable children.