Minister Sajjan concludes productive visit with UN and international partners in Geneva

News release

March 8, 2022 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

Canada’s commitment to global health extends to pandemics and conflicts, and supports the efforts of a wide range of partners to help the most vulnerable people around the world. Canada has been a leading donor to help end the COVID-19 pandemic and stands ready to further support responses to rapidly evolving humanitarian needs, including in Ukraine and Afghanistan.

Today, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, met with the UN and key international partners at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic response, as well as with experienced partners on the front lines of humanitarian crises, including in Ukraine and Afghanistan.

Minister Sajjan met with the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer, the Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Jagan Chapagain, and with humanitarian civil society organizations, to discuss the major humanitarian crises unfolding in Ukraine and Afghanistan, and to determine how Canada can best continue to support their efforts. Canada’s humanitarian support in Ukraine includes emergency health services, protection, support to displaced populations and essential life-saving services such as shelter, water and sanitation, and food. In Afghanistan, Canada is contributing to the provision of life-saving assistance, such as emergency food and nutrition services, and to protection and logistics services for the dispatch of humanitarian goods.

During a roundtable discussion with Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator partners, including Dr. Philippe Duneton, Executive Director of Unitaid, the Minister highlighted the importance that Canada places on addressing delivery and distribution challenges related to COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics, as well as on strengthening health systems for now and into the future. He also underscored Canada’s commitment to end the pandemic through its support to all pillars of the ACT-Accelerator. Canada’s recent contributions to ACT-Accelerator partners, including the WHO, Gavi, the Global Fund, Unitaid and FIND, totals $130.4 million.

At a meeting with World Health Organization (WHO) Deputy Director, Dr. Zsuzsanna Jakab, the discussion centered on the humanitarian and health impacts of the conflict in Ukraine, including its disproportionate impact on women and children, and the WHO’s work in Ukraine to address the current humanitarian situation. Canada is contributing to the WHO’s overall health response in Ukraine, which is focused on saving lives, ensuring access to basic health services for those affected by the armed conflict, COVID-19, polio and other health threats.


“As the world grapples with multiple crises, Canada has stepped up to support those most impacted. We continue to work with our partners, such as the World Health Organization, the ACT-Accelerator, the International Committee of the Red Cross and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, to see how Canadian assistance can be best used to deliver real and tangible results to increase vaccine equity and help the people of Ukraine and Afghanistan. We will continue to work together to strengthen coordination and international responses to crises, whether caused by pandemics or conflict.”

- Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada

Quick facts

  • Canada has committed more than $1.3 billion to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics are available around the world through the ACT-Accelerator and health systems are strengthened. As part of this commitment, Canada has allocated an additional $430,000 to the WHO to improve essential health services in Ukraine, including: emergency care for injured patients and continued COVID-19 care; $35 million to Gavi for the delivery and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines; an additional $60 million to the Global Fund for lifesaving diagnostic tests, treatments (including medical oxygen) and personal protective equipment; an additional $20 million to Unitaid for COVID-19 therapeutics; and an additional $15 million to FIND to expand testing and for better screening.

  • Since the start of 2022, Canada has committed $125 million in humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. This includes an initial $15 million allocation to experienced humanitarian partners such as the International Committee of the Red Cross and the UN managed Ukraine Humanitarian Fund, and $10 million to the Canadian Red Cross through the matching fund for its Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal, launched on February 24, 2022. An additional $100 million was announced on March 1, 2022, and will be provided to experienced partners who have the capacity to scale up operations and have the flexibility to address the needs of mobile displaced populations.

  • The recent upheaval in Afghanistan has exacerbated the already significant humanitarian needs. An estimated 24 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in 2022, up from 18.4 million in 2021. Since August 2021, Canada has allocated $106 million in humanitarian assistance to the response in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries, including $56 million announced on December 21, 2021.

Associated links


Yentl Béliard-Joseph
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Development

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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