12/30/2016 08:44 EST | Updated 12/30/2016 08:46 EST

Looking Back At 2016: The Year Canada Re-Engaged With The World

As minister of International Development and La Francophonie, I have visited 15 or so countries and Canada's re-engagement was pointed out to me during each of them. But what does this re-engagement really mean? Here are five major achievements that speak to Canada's re-engagement on the international scene and the impact of our actions.

Policy review: A focus on women and girls

The empowerment of women and girls is at the centre of Canada's vision, as we frame our new development agenda. That means that women and girls will be consulted, take part in decision-making, and be key partners for the implementation of all of our initiatives. Empowering women and girls is essential to all of our development goals.

Accompanied by Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund, Canada announced that it would restore its funding to the fund for the full range of sexual and reproductive health services, including providing access to safe, reliable and high-quality family planning services, which could prevent more than 52 million unplanned pregnancies and 15 million unsafe abortions.

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Crises in Iraq and Syria

Canada announced in February its Middle East strategy in response to the crises in Iraq and Syria. We committed $1.6 billion over three years to help our partners plan long-term interventions on the ground in Syria and in neighbouring countries that are receiving millions of refugees. This funding includes $1.1 billion in humanitarian and development aid. Canadians not only welcomed thousands of Syrian refugees to Canada, but they also generously contributed over $30 million to the Syria Emergency Relief Fund.

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Fighting HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria

Canada hosted the Fifth Replenishment Conference of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, in Montréal. Thanks to Canada's leadership, we raised close to $13 billion, which will help to save 8 million lives by 2030 by ending these three devastating global epidemics. Canada contributed $804 million, up 24 per cent from the last replenishment period.

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Support for peace support operations

Canada will re-engage in peace support operations missions by offering the services of up to 600 troops to the United Nations. The new Peace and Stabilization Operations Program is providing $450 million over three years. This new contribution is excellent news for our humanitarian partners on the ground since development is dependent on peace.

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Helping the poorest and most vulnerable

In 2016, Canada increasingly focused on those who most need our help, including by announcing support at the World Humanitarian Summit for vulnerable populations in more than 32 countries.‎ We also restored funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the only UN agency that helps Palestinian refugees in the West Bank and Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. This contribution will allow children to remain in school and have access to health care.

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