Montreal, September 6, 2017 – Development and Peace-Caritas Canada’s new campaign May Peace be With Her highlights how women are our best hope for establishing peace in the world today, and asks the Government of Canada to provide the necessary funds to support grassroots women organizations that are promoting peace in their countries.
“We applaud the fact that the new international assistance policy of the government recognizes the significant role that women can play in peacebuilding and development, but we are concerned that the budget to make a real impact is just not there,” says Serge Langlois, Executive Director of Development and Peace.
Although the government announced its new international assistance policy last June, it did not increase the budget envelope for overseas development aid(ODA), which stands at 0.26% of gross national income (GNI). This is well below the 0.7% of GNI that is recommended by the United Nations for ODA. At the same time, the government announced that it was increasing Canada’s defence budget by 70%.
“It sends a strange message to announce a commitment towards empowering women in peace processes, but then investing heavily in defence. With this campaign, we are hoping that the government will show that it is serious about investing in women and peace,” adds Mr. Langlois.
Statistics show that when women are involved in peace negotiations, the resulting agreements are 35% more likely to succeed. The political participation of women is also a key factor in creating peaceful societies. When 35% of parliamentarians are women, the risk of relapse into conflict is near zero. Yet, only 2% of international funding dedicated to peace and security is allocated to equality between women and men or the empowerment of women.
“At a time when armed conflicts are on the rise and we are seeing a record number of people displaced by war, we hope that the Canadian government will prioritize peaceful solutions rather than military ones,” says Mr. Langlois.
Each year, Development and Peace launches a public awareness campaign on an issue of global injustice and encourages Canadians to voice their concerns by writing to the Prime Minister and meeting with their Members of Parliament.
“When our organization was founded 50 years ago, it was said that development was the new name for peace. The two go hand-in-hand and until people have access to education, health, employment and democratic systems, peace is illusory. Wealthy nations must recognize their historic role in perpetuating poverty and conflict in the Global South and must support local populations in building peaceful and prosperous societies that are inclusive and just,” says Mr. Langlois.
Development and Peace is the official international development and solidarity organization of the Catholic Church in Canada. It supports local grassroots organizations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, and acts in Canada to help create greater global justice. This year the organization is celebrating its 50th anniversary.