After CIDA demise, Canada withdraws from UNCCD

    Dried land. Canada has decided to withdraw its membership from a U.N. convention for advancing drought management policies. Photo by: Lighttruth / CC BY-NC

    Canada has decided to withdraw its membership from a U.N. convention that has been advancing drought management policies, a week after announcing the merger of its aid agency with the country’s foreign affairs and trade department.

    It is not immediately clear how the move will affect the work of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, which has been pushing for the inclusion of land management as a stand-alone goal in the post-2015 development framework. Canada’s annual contribution to the UNCCD amounts to 3.127 percent of the convention’s budget.

    Yukie Hori, coordinator of UNCCD’s Awareness Raising, Communication and Education Unit, told Devex however that this will be “felt by every member of the Convention.”

    “We expect that when they meet on the occasion of COP 11 they will look on options to fill in the gap,” she said.

    UNCCD, which helps governments develop national policies to mitigate the effects of drought and land degradation, finds Canada’s decision ”regrettable.” The convention was reportedly only informed of the decision after it was reported last week by the Canadian media.

    Hori said the Convention was not officially informed of the reason behind the withdrawal.

    Membership at the convention “was costly for Canadians and showed few results, if any for the environment,” a spokesman for Canadian International Cooperation Minister Julian Fantino told CBC News.

    Canada has been criticized in recent years for its seeming departure from the international development scene. Before announcing the end of the Canadian International Development Agency on March 21, the Western donor has already closed a number of its regional aid offices and reduced the number of countries it supports.

    “We’re increasing our isolation by doing this,” opposition New Democratic Party MP Paul Dewar commented about the decision.

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    About the author

    • Jenny Lei Ravelo

      Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.

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