Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Global Governance

Program Name/Specialization

Global Justice and Human Rights


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Dr. Alistair Edgar

Advisor Role


Second Advisor

Dr. Daniel Gorman

Advisor Role

Dissertation Committee Member

Third Advisor

Dr. Yasmine Shamsie

Advisor Role

Dissertation Committee Member


The purpose of the dissertation was to examine whether globally agreed development goals (Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), with a specific focus on poverty reduction) were operationalized in human rights, access to justice and rule of law programs/projects of Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and of its executing partners. The analysis of the CIDA’s reports to Parliament and programing documents indicates that from the first years of the launch of MDGs, they were operationalized within the CIDA’s programing architecture and remained as a macro- level goal of the agency. MDGs, with the focus on poverty reduction, were treated as an ultimate goal, towards which the issues within the democratic governance portfolio were also geared. Though CIDA acknowledged that human rights were not explicitly mentioned in MDGs, in its programming documents CIDA continuously linked MDGs with human rights considerations. CIDA’s programing also envisioned the achievement of poverty reduction through activities which focused on human rights, rule of law, legal and judicial system.

Despite the fact MDGs were declared as the overarching aim of CIDA’s efforts, documents of the analyzed CIDA funded projects did not reference MDGs within their projects’ architectures. Neither projects’ goals nor outcomes indicated that they were explicitly contributing to reaching MDGs. While not explicitly referring to MDGs, some projects stated their intent to contribute to poverty reduction and/or assistance to the poor and marginalized. Even though these projects were concerned with poverty reduction and/or interest of the poor and vulnerable groups, the silence towards the MGDs can be interpreted as a gap between the CIDA’s corporate declared development agenda and goals of the projects implemented in the field.

The conclusions are based on the analysis of Government of Canada policy papers, CIDA’s official policy and strategy papers on democratic governance, human rights, poverty reduction and sustainable development, and CIDA’s reports to Parliament. As a part of the data collection, interviews were conducted with CIDA’s current and former staff, as well as professionals who worked for organizations which implemented CIDA financed projects. Documents analyzed in the dissertation projects were obtained through access to information requests.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season