Washington, D.C., April 22, 2010

Archived - Canada Helps Launch Global Agriculture and Food Security Program

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Today, the Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, on behalf of the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, announced Canada’s participation in a new World Bank initiative to improve agriculture and food security assistance to low-income countries. Minister Flaherty spoke at the launch of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), an event hosted by U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner and attended by Bill Gates, Founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“Today, it is estimated that more than a billion people go to bed hungry,” said Minister Flaherty. “This new Global Agriculture and Food Security Program can help change that, and I am pleased that Canada is among the first to contribute. I am particularly encouraged that there is a role for the private sector to boost the resources available to combat hunger, and that countries in need will play a leading role in putting these new funds to their best use.”

“Canada is delivering on its food security and sustainable agricultural development commitments made last year at the G8 L’Aquila Summit,” said Minister Oda. “Lack of access to safe and nutritious food is one of the major obstacles to reducing poverty in developing countries. Through its contribution to this initiative, Canada supports developing countries’ efforts to increase long-term agricultural development in order to improve the incomes and nutritional status of people in developing countries.”

The GAFSP was established by the World Bank in response to calls made at the G8 L’Aquila and the G20 Pittsburgh summits for a multilateral trust fund to boost sustainable agriculture and food security assistance to low-income countries. The GAFSP is an improvement over current initiatives as it is designed to strengthen links to the private sector, provide additional and rapidly available resources for sustainable agriculture development, and ensure country ownership by linking funding to developing countries’ identified priorities and strategies.

Canada is providing $230 million to the GAFSP as part of a three-year, $600-million agriculture package, a doubling of Canada’s existing spending in this area. It is a further demonstration of Canada’s leadership in global food security, where Canada is the third-largest contributor to the World Food Programme, and has fully untied its food aid.

Minister Flaherty noted that the Canadian contribution is another example of Canada’s commitment to international financial institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). Over the past year, Canada has boosted its contributions to these multilateral institutions by more than US$22 billion. This includes being the first donor nation to the World Bank’s Global Trade Liquidity Program, and the first G20 nation to provide an increased commitment to the IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust, to support low-income countries facing severe economic challenges.

The Global Agriculture and Food Security Program was launched before the G20 and G7 meetings of finance ministers and central bank governors, and the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank. Minister Flaherty is also participating in a conference organized by the Bertelsmann Foundation, where he will discuss the changing role of the G20 in the global economy.

For further information, media may contact:

Annette Robertson
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Finance

Jack Aubry
Media Relations
Department of Finance

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