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431-00040 (Foreign affairs)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English


We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada draw the attention of the House to the following:


Whereas Canadians believe in the value of international engagement, strong multilateral institutions, and in our country playing a positive role in the world;

Whereas climate change represents the greatest threat humanity has ever faced, requiring collaborative international approaches to adaptation and mitigation,

Whereas shifting patterns of precipitation due to climate change, coupled with deforestation and unsustainable agricultural practices, threaten vast swaths of the planet with drought and desertification, and will potentially render large parts of the planet uninhabitable,

Whereas Canada is the only country to have withdrawn from the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, which, following Canada's withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol, is only the second legally binding treaty in Canadian history that we have withdrawn from,

Whereas the reason given by Prime Minister Harper for our withdrawal, that the treaty was not good value for our annual financial contribution of $300,000, is difficult to reconcile with many of this governments other priorities, given that the Canadian contribution to the Convention equals:

  • half the cost of a G8 gazebo;
  • 109 days of the care and feeding of a rented panda;
  • less than 4% of the PMO office budget;
  • a third the cost of shipping an armoured vehicle to India; or
  • two days of government advertising.


Your petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to play a responsible role in the world by rejoining the Convention on Drought and Desertification, and increasing our annual financial contribution beyond 2012 levels.

Response by the Minister of International Development

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable Karina Gould

Canada is an important provider of international development assistance, a key partner to multilateral institutions, and a strong supporter of the 2030 United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development. In June 2017, Canada released its Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP), which seeks to eradicate poverty and build a more peaceful, more inclusive and more prosperous world. Canada is helping the most vulnerable communities mitigate the impacts of climate change by developing additional programming on the intersection between women’s rights and climate adaptation to better support sustainable and equitable resource management, agricultural production and access to markets. Canada is also committed to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 15.3, which calls for global action to combat desertification, drought and land degradation.

In line with this commitment, Canada re-joined the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in March 2017. Canada has been an active member of the UNCCD since re-joining, including through engagement with the Convention and its Parties on limiting desertification, drought, and land degradation, which are some of the key destabilizing effects of climate change, and providing ongoing support for the UNCCD’s work towards achieving a land degradation-neutral world. Furthermore, in alignment with its FIAP, Canada has played a leading role in promoting the increased participation of women in the implementation of the Convention. This support includes efforts to integrate gender equality in the Convention through implementation of the UNCCD Gender Action Plan. The Gender Action Plan is expected to contribute to the achievement of gender transformative results across the UNCCD.

Since re-joining the UNCCD, Canada has paid mandatory annual contributions to the Convention’s core budget. These contributions are determined by the UNCCD and can not be altered by Parties. Canada’s contribution to the UNCCD for 2020 is EUR 202,123.00 ($296,342.64 CAD).

Presented to the House of Commons
Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
January 27, 2020 (Petition No. 431-00040)
Government response tabled
March 11, 2020
Photo - Elizabeth May
Saanich—Gulf Islands
Green Party Caucus
British Columbia

Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.

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