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Canada provides significant support following UN meeting on refugees and migrants

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The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today signaled Canada’s strong leadership in assisting and protecting refugees and migrants during his participation in the Refugee and Migration Summit, hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Following the High-Level Meeting, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that Canada will provide increased support for education initiatives and humanitarian assistance that will help countries and people directly affected by humanitarian crises.

Pledge to Increase Humanitarian Assistance by 10 percent

The Prime Minister pledged to increase humanitarian assistance for 2016-2017 by at least 10 percent over the 2015-2016 total of $684 million.

Educational Initiatives

The majority of displaced youth and children face a grim future without adequate access to quality education. The potential long-term consequences include increased vulnerability to social, economic and sexual exploitation, and limited prospects for future employability. Educating and empowering girls is particularly important to safeguard both this generation and the next.

In recognition of these challenges and in keeping with its responsibility as a member of the global community, Canada has announced funding to improve learning opportunities for hundreds of thousands of displaced children in Iraq, Syria, and neighbouring countries.

More specifically, Canada will provide:

  • $15 million over the next three years for the Education and Learning in Lebanon initiative to help ensure refugee girls and boys, including children with disabilities, receive a quality education;
  • $10 million over three years towards the Scaling Up Access to Formal Education for Syrian Girls and Boys project in Jordan. This initiative will help identify out-of-school children, encourage and support families to enroll their children in a nearby school, improve the learning environment by ensuring access to science labs, computer labs, and libraries, and help children to stay in school through targeted efforts to combat known drop-out causes such as early marriage and child labour. It will help Jordan’s Ministry of Education to deliver on its commitment to get every child in school—regardless of their nationality—during the 2016-2017 school year;
  • $20 million over the next two years to the Education Cannot Wait Fund to ensure the right to education for emergency-affected children and youth around the world, including to address the specific needs of girls and young women. In times of conflict or crisis, the educational needs of children and youth are often an afterthought, but education is a right that should be upheld along with meeting other basic needs. Our support will help to eliminate gaps in education for these children and youth, so that they are equipped with the skills and knowledge needed for the future.
  • $739,000 over 18 months to improve the accessibility and quality of learning for refugee and host community children both in and outside the classroom in up to 25 schools in Lebanon and Jordan. The project, which will be led by Canada’s International Development Research Centre, will use digital learning innovations. The project will also build the capacities of teachers, educators, administrators, and counselors.

Humanitarian Assistance for Syria, Iraq and the region

As part of Canada’s new $1.6 billion strategy announced in February 2016 to address the crises in Syria and Iraq, the Prime Minister announced over $442 million in humanitarian assistance over the next three years that will help save lives and alleviate suffering of millions of conflict-affected people in Syria, Iraq and the region by helping them meet their basic education, food, health, water, shelter and protection needs.

Humanitarian assistance will be delivered by trusted and experienced international humanitarian partners including United Nations agencies and the International Committee of the Red Cross, and will focus on four priorities:

  • Helping families meet basic needs;
  • Improving access to and quality of social and public services;
  • Meeting the specific needs and rights of women and girls; and
  • Supporting livelihoods of conflict-affected families.

For example, Canada is providing $100 million in support of the UNHCR’s emergency response to the Syrian and Iraqi crisis over the next three years. Canada is also providing $78 million to UNICEF over the next three years to provide education opportunities and child protection services to conflict-affected children in the region as part of the No Lost Generation Initiative. This initiative is helping to ensure that children are able to continue their education in a safe and secure environment. Canada is also providing over $40 million to the United Nations Population Fund to provide reproductive health services to women and girls, and assistance to victims of sexual and gender-based violence.

Multi-Year Support to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

In addition, Canada has announced long-term institutional funding of $37.8 million over three years in support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ global response. This predictable multi-year funding will support UNHCR in providing humanitarian assistance to refugees and other displaced vulnerable populations, including women and girls.

Canada’s multi-year funding to UNHCR will help:

  • Conduct refugee status determination for asylum seekers;
  • Provide shelter, clothing and other essential non-food items such as blankets;
  • Provide adequate sanitation services such as latrines;
  • Respond to educational needs of refugees;
  • Facilitate transportation and basic needs support for returning refugees or forcibly displaced persons;
  • Support refugee self-reliance and durable solutions, such as voluntary repatriation, resettlement to a third country, or local integration in the host country;
  • Provide support and services to sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) survivors and seek community involvement in SGBV prevention and protection of survivors; and improve participation of women in leadership management structures in refugee situations.

Increased Funding in Support of Migrant Workers

Canada will provide $5.5 million over five years through the International Labour Organization to promote and protect the rights of the Association of South East Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) migrant workers. Millions of migrant workers in the ASEAN region, particularly women migrants, engage largely in low-skilled work, which makes them vulnerable to labour exploitation and abuse. This project will ensure that the estimated six million women and men migrant workers within ASEAN are better protected. As a result, the development and poverty reduction benefits of migration are increased.