Rather than close the Global Affairs Canada's Office of Religious Freedom, Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion should seize the opportunity to transform it into a real force for change for all excluded minorities in developing countries.
The fact that there are still approximately 2 million people around the world who receive an HIV-positive diagnosis each year only accentuates how important it is to scale-up proven combination prevention approaches. Equally important is the scale-up of investments to find a safe, effective and affordable vaccine and multi-purpose prevention technologies.
The next global goals -- the SDGs that will take us to the year 2030 -- will need to build on the progress of the MDGs and go beyond them to reach the most marginalized and vulnerable population -- especially girls, and including people in the poorest and most remote rural communities, refugees, and women in minority groups.
Pregnancy is still one of the leading causes of death of girls in developing countries between 15 and 18. Worldwide, 16,000 children under five die every day. Girls and boys are left behind because of who they are or where they live. Women and girls from ethnic minorities have fared worst, and discriminated against because of their sex and race. Girls living in towns or cities are much more likely to have access to a skilled birth attendant than young women living in remote parts.
In September, I take up my new responsibilities in Geneva, Switzerland as Canada's Ambassador to the United Nations and the Conference on Disarmament. The UN reflects the dreams and aspirations of not just Canadians but of the world. My new role will allow me to address global challenges from a different perspective than I've had at Plan Canada, but as I prepare to leave I reflect on a few proud accomplishments that bolster my confidence and hope for the future.
In the 2015 federal budget, the Canadian government announced its intention to create a $300-million initiative to encourage private investment, job creation and growth that will fight extreme poverty in developing countries. Canada is the last G7 country to create a public arm to support private investment in development. Some of our counterparts have been in this business for over 50 years, doing good and making money at the same time.This initiative looks even tardier when one considers that successive Canadian governments since the early Trudeau era have bandied about the idea of creating a public entity to catalyze more private capital for development.
On World Health Day, I feel especially protective of the millions of children around the world whose circumstances force them to consume food and water that puts their health and lives at risk. I see that the World Health Organization has picked "Food Safety" as this year's theme for the day, and can understand why.
2015 promises to be a transformative year on the international development front and is therefore an appropriate time to reflect on a noteworthy milestone. The United Nations enters its 70th year -- and like some 70-year-olds, the beleaguered UN has found new vigour and relevance in people's lives, with Canada playing a role in some noteworthy accomplishments.
Canada can lead other UNGA members to contribute robustly to the new blueprint for child health past 2015. Since 2010, our country has been a consistent and inspirational champion for child and maternal health, helping to drive down global child mortality rates. Simple, high-impact solutions include vitamins, immunizations, iron supplements, and clean water.
There are many tricks -- most of them currently legal -- multinationals use to avoid paying taxes in developing countries, including a tactic called "profit shifting." This often leads struggling families in the developed world paying more in income tax than international businesses.