Is international development a sub-set of everyday IR? In other words, should foreign aid be another means of furthering Canada’s “national interest”? The Canadian government seems to think so, announcing last week that it plans to merge the formerly independent Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). But what does this mean for Canada’s development priorities, and most importantly, for recipients of Canadian aid? Are Canada’s international political and economic objectives complementary to those it claims to promote through aid assistance?
CIDA’s stated goal, since its creation in 1968, has been to support sustainable development in poor countries “in order to reduce poverty and contribute to a more secure, equitable and prosperous world”. Since its founding, CIDA has been an independent government agency although ultimately reporting to parliament. In fact, since the time of CIDA’s first president, Maurice Strong, there has been recognition that CIDA needs institutional autonomy in order for development objectives to remain separate from political considerations. Last week’s decision changes that.
Continue reading Is International Development IR? Canada says yes.