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At the end of this month, government leaders from around the world will gather in New York to adopt the  — the most comprehensive framework for global sustainable development ever designed. The agenda includes a set of 17 goals and 169 targets — the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) — that all countries will commit to working toward.  Under Goal 5, ‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls,’ is Target 5.3, ‘Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilations.’  

Now that we have an ambitious global development agenda, what do we have to do in the next 15 years to make meaningful and positive change in the lives girls?

Read more by Helena Minchew of International Women’s Health Coalition.  

Canadians have been horrified and moved to act by the graphic portrayal of the desperation of the faces of the men, women and children fleeing Syria. There is huge support for increasing the number of refugees. As Jenny Neal reminds us, in her editorial published in the Saskatoon Star Phoenixtoday, there is also a critical need for long-term approaches such as Official Development Assistance (ODA).

She spells out the decline in ODA, an issue GRANs are highlighting in the election campaign. Jenny is a member of our Leadership Team---read what she has to say...


This summer has been a very busy time for global education.  Several high level meetings have taken place to set goals for the new sustainable development goal four of achieving inclusive, equitable and quality education for all.  The Global Partnership for Education played an important role in developing and advancing the future of education for all at the World Education Forum in Korea, the Oslo Summit and the Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa.  Canada sent representation to all three conferences recognizing the central role education plays in all development sectors.  To find out more about these significant conferences, please read Alice Albright’s blog at

Alice Albright is the CEO of the Global Partnership for Education and is tireless in her quest to raise awareness, to make sure that global education is at the top of the development agenda and to get every child into school and learning


Trade ministers from Canada, the United States and 10 other Pacific Rim countries are meeting in Hawaii July 28-31 to begin final negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement — a deal that could restrict access to lifesaving medicines for millions of people around the world.

Time is running out to change a trade deal that could jeopardize people’s access to affordable medicines at home and abroad. You can help by signing MSF petition asking Prime Minister Harper to not make medicines a luxury at or send an email to the government of Canada with your concerns: and spreading the word.

Why the TPP trade deal is a threat to public health? Check out TPP campaign resources and read more at

GRAN applauds Canada’s pledge to contribute $20 million to a new United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) project aimed at addressing the causes and consequences of child, early and forced marriage (CEFM).

Child, Early and Forced Marriage (CEFM) is a human rights violation, and has devastating consequences to women and girls in sub-Saharan Africa and around the world.  It perpetuates gender inequality and powerlessness that is a barrier to girls developing their full potential and contributing fully to their society.  It exposes them to health risks, abuse and violence.

The new UNFPA project aims to help adolescent girls gain better access to health information and services, education and life skills training, while also generating valuable data that will be used for advocacy, training and project tracking.

AIDS researchers released a call to action recently for a worldwide shift in HIV treatment, to providing medication immediately after diagnosis instead of first watching for signs of illness to appear. Grandmothers and families in Africa need affordable ARVs NOW!

Read more at:

Image courtesy of voraorn at

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are ambitious targets to eliminate world poverty and food insecurity by 2030.  The SDGs follow on from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which end this year.  Progress was made, but not nearly enough.

Meeting the SDGs by 2030 will be very expensive.  Tomorrow the UN's Third Financing Development Conference ends in Addis Ababa.  Click on the link to read the Guardian’s article which brings clarity to the difficulties in achieving these goals.

And some good news from the same conference:

GRAN is keeping an eye on a critical global meeting taking place on July 13-16th.  The UN Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia will bring together governments, donors and experts to look at ways to figure out how to pay for the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Presently, the gaps and needs for sustainable development are immense. The conference will look at ways to help reverse the declining trend in international aid and to pave the way for a new era of fairer development finance rules to tackle inequality and poverty. 

The Finance for Development Conference is a major conference feeding in to the UN Summit in the fall. The UN summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda will be held on September 25-27 in New York.  At this important meeting, the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be ratified and these new goals will drive international development for the next 15 years.

We applaud Canada as one of the major donors to the Global Financing Facility in Support of Every Women and Every Child.  However, we feel that Canada needs to make a stronger commitment to education in development, to recognize that education is a driver to all development sectors and to understand the role that girls’ education plays in poverty reduction and economic growth.

Canada needs to be at the table and be visible in Ethiopia. We want our government to know that we feel education deserves a higher priority in our development agenda, to make more of a commitment to getting the world’s children into school and increase its commitments to ODA (Official Development Assistance), especially in the education sector.


If you are up to a grassroots action this month, you might want to call or email your own MP asking to make basic education for all a higher priority in our development agenda, to increase our ODA commitments to education in development and that Canada will actively participate in the Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa.


To find your MP using your postal code and the contact information go to


For more background information on this meeting in Ethiopia, go to

For more information on the SDGs go to

Our own GRAN, Valerie Wright, was at the table today with Bono and other representatives of civil society organizations.  The roundtable discussion was hosted by ONE Canada and Engineers Without Borders and provided Bono with what he wanted…an opportunity to listen.  And, Valerie says, listen he did.  He heard suggestions from a small number of civil society organizations on the issues he might raise in later meetings scheduled with Prime Minister Harper, Opposition Leader Mulcair and Liberal Leader Trudeau.

Some of the issues those sitting at the roundtable hoped Bono would raise included beefing up Canada’s declining contribution to Official Development Assistance, reinforcing the importance of on the ground community development and Canada’s potential to once again, be a significant  broker on the international stage. 

Valerie is a member of the Education Working Group, the Hill Team and acts as cluster leader for Ottawa-Gatineau.  We are delighted, and proud, that Valerie was invited to the table and represented GRAN.  She is shown on the right in the attached photo (Peg Herbert of Help Lesotho is in the centre).


The Day of the African Child is commemorated every year on June 16 by Member States of the African Union and its Partners. The theme for the Day of the African Child 2015 is “25 Years after the Adoption of the African Children’s Charter: Accelerating our Collective Efforts to End Child Marriage in Africa”.

Ending Child, Early and Forced Marriage is one of GRAN’s advocacy issues. In sub-Saharan Africa, 40% of women are married as children (before age 18) and 12% are married by age 15.  Projections on child marriage in Africa are alarming. If action is not taken now, the number of girls married as children will double by 2050 and Africa will become the region with the highest number of child brides in the world (UNICEF, 2014).

The causes of child marriage are complex. Parents may marry off their daughter due to poverty or out of fear for their safety, especially in conflict areas. Tradition and the stigma of straying from tradition perpetuate child marriage in many communities.

Child marriage constitutes a grave threat to young girls’ lives, health and future prospects. When girls are married as children, they are denied an education, robbed of their childhood and opportunities to develop their potential at the pivotal life stage when they should become healthy, empowered and productive.  It holds back girls, their communities and their countries. Ending child marriage will result in improved health and girls remaining in school longer to reach their potential and contribute fully to their communities. It will also reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.

Advancing the rights, participation, and development of adolescents and youth; especially girls’ education, delayed marriage and childbearing, and comprehensive sexuality education is one of the key smart investments for financing the Post 2015 Development Agenda according to the High-Level Task Force for the International Conference on Population and Development.

GRAN is promoting a comprehensive approach to ending child, early and forced marriage  that links gender equality, education, and healthcare with human rights and national and international laws and conventions.