Canadian International Development Agency

The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is the federal government agency responsible for administering most of Canada's official co-operation program with developing countries and countries in transition. Formed in 1968, CIDA now has a presence in over 100 countries and manages a budget of approximately $2.1 billion a year. CIDA's mandate is to support sustainable development in developing countries in order to reduce poverty and to contribute to a more secure, equitable and prosperous world.

To achieve this purpose, CIDA concentrates its efforts on the following priorities: basic human needs, full participation of women, infrastructure for the poor, human rights/democratic development/governance, private-sector development and the environment. Approximately 25% of CIDA's resources are devoted to basic human needs.

CIDA works with a variety of partners to deliver its assistance program. Bilateral projects are based on government-to-government agreements with developing countries. CIDA also enters into contribution agreements with Canadian partners, such as volunteer organizations, universities, co-operatives, professional organizations, churches and so on, to implement projects overseas. CIDA also supports mutually beneficial, development-oriented commercial partnerships between Canadian and developing country private-sector firms. Finally, CIDA also contributes to the assistance programs of multilateral development banks such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank, UN agencies like UNICEF and a variety of international organizations.

Canadians play a key role in their development co-operation program. CIDA's mandate and priorities are arrived at after cross-country public consultations, and most of the co-operation program is implemented by Canadian suppliers of goods and services. Over the years, Canadians have made important contributions in a wide range of development projects and programs. For example, Canada is a world leader in supporting the full integration of women as equal partners in the development of their societies. Canadian engineers have helped build dams, communications systems, airports and railroads. Canadian professionals have also shared their skills in immunization programs, education, community development and environmental protection. In addition, because of Canada's lack of a colonial past and its reputation as a middle power and an "honest broker," Canada has been able to play constructive roles in sensitive areas such as human rights, governance and postwar reconstruction programs.