Canada’s Pull Out From Annual Anti-Drought Aid ‘Regrettable’: UN

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By Tendar Tsering | March 30, 2013 8:47 PM EST

The United Nations Friday termed Canada's withdrawal from a UN convention to help fight against wide spread droughts in Africa and elsewhere as 'regrettable.'

Blaming bureaucracy, Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently declared that his government will end the $350,000 contribution to the special global program.

"The Convention is stronger than ever before, which makes Canada's decision to withdraw from the Convention all the more regrettable," said the Bonn-based secretariat for the convention in a statement Friday.

Over 190 countries had signed to combat drought in 1994 and Canada is the only country pulling out of the UN convention in fight against the drought across the world.

Canada's sudden withdrawal has drawn wide spread criticism from all walks of life including from opposition parties, rights groups and non-governmental aid agencies.

"It is time for Canada to reclaim its role as a respected member of the international community, and to reject the Harper government's isolationist moves. Our political capital on the international front has been disappearing rapidly, and with decisions like the rejection of the Convention to prevent drought, it won't be long before it's all dried up," Ryan Liss, a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto, Law faculty told the Globe and Mail.

According to the UN body, Canada previously contributed 3.1 percent of its total budget allocated for the anti drought program.

Annoyed by the Canada's decision, the UN secretariat Friday noted that Canada is a country which is prone to drought.

 "Canada, a country that is frequently subjected to drought and where 60 per cent of the cropland is in dry areas, is also a major actor in global efforts to address food security in developing countries," said the secretariat.

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