Sustainable development is a cornerstone of Canadian foreign policy. Canada sees the United Nations and the UN funds, programmes and specialized agencies (where it plays a leading role) as key instruments for promoting economic and social development. Canada was and is very active in the UN reform process; we want the administrative savings achieved by the different funds and programmes to be applied as "development dividends" to finance the alleviation of poverty and economic growth generation in developing countries.
Through bilateral assistance and participation in UN funds, programmes and institutions, as well as in the regional development banks, Canada has supported African development for many years. We have been a leading player in addressing the problem of debt: we were among the first to forgive the official development assistance (ODA) debt of the least-developed and other poor countries, and were equally prompt in reducing the debts of the poorest highly-indebted countries. We have a long tradition of development assistance in Asia and are active partners in building new forms of cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and other regional forums. Further, Canada is a full partner in Latin American and Caribbean development, and we maintain an active program of assistance to Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union in order to assist in their transition to democracy and market economies.