CCIC monthly e-bulletin: October 2012                                                            About CCIC     |     Contact Us
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The CCIC Board of Directors met on September 27-28 for one of its three annual face-to-face meetings. On the agenda were updates, discussion and decisions on key projects that were approved in the May 2012 Board meeting and that are now taking flight. We refer to this group of projects as “strategic investments” and they have been identified by the CCIC team and approved by the Board given their potential to elevate CCIC’s work and contributions to the sector to a new and sustainable level. I want to share with you all today some highlights of these projects so that you can become familiar with, and eventually engage with and support, this important work of the council.

For starters, we are working on updating and complementing the metrics on the sector and upgrading a section of our website so this information can be readily available and easily accessible to members. The Who’s Who section of the CCIC website was due for updating (and your organizations will be contacted soon to help us with updating your data), but in addition we are using other sources of data (such as Canada Revenue Agency) to complete a numeric sketch of the sector – who we are, what we do and where we do it.  We expect that this tangible information on the richness and strength of our sector will serve to make our collective communication about the sector more precise and robust.

And this leads us to the second and closely related strategic investment, which has to do with rethinking our narrative or the way we tell our collective story. We have a task force already up and running of mostly communications staff from 15 member organizations who have agreed on a concept note that outlines the objectives and key steps of the work that is planned for the next year. Basically, the challenge is to reframe the way the media and the general public understand our sector and to explore new ways to better engage with Canadians. Addressing common misconceptions and telling a compelling story of who we are, what we do, who we represent and our impact, are key objectives of this important work. The task force will ensure that the new narrative that is being developed is rooted in the sector, represents the plurality and dynamism of the sector, and is useful to most of us. And we will start seeing some concrete products such as Q&A’s, one-liners, talking points, etc. as this group’s work progresses. If you are interested in knowing more or being involved in this initiative, please contact Chantal Havard.

Third, CCIC has been aware that, as follow-up to the downsizing of its team in 2010, it would have to take a hard look at the Code of Ethics to chart a sustainable course for its future as a centerpiece of our community. Some of you already participated in an exploratory workshop on this issue during the last Forum & AGM, and now we are about to launch a project which will include a member survey to collect information on member needs and hopes for the Code, and in particular for its compliance mechanism. We are aware that we have one of the most robust codes in the industry, however we are also keenly aware that the climate in which we work is constantly evolving, particularly in regards to accountability. So we will also be looking at other models and alternatives to inform what is next for CCIC’s Code of Ethics. This process will include consultations and workshops, in addition to the survey, and we look forward to the participation of many of you in the Ethics Task Force.

Next, and very importantly, we have been discussing the need for some strategic thinking around the future of the sector and implications for CCIC. To accompany us in this process, we are delighted to have the expert advice of Michael Edwards  who during our last meeting presented the Board with two options: a conventional strategic planning process or a process of strategic mid and long-term reflection on key questions for the sector and for CCIC.  The resulting conclusions of these reflections will complement and enhance what we already have as far as action plan and objectives for the next several years. The Board enthusiastically supported the second option, and over the next months you will be hearing from us as to the different ways that you will be able to engage in this very exciting and forward-looking process.  But for starters, I can already give you a heads up for the 2013 Leader’s Forum, which will mark a critical step in this process and will be held on February 27, 2013 in Ottawa. Please mark your calendars, EDs and CEOs of our member organizations, and also invite your Board Chair to join you in this day of strategic, big picture and high level discussions. More details to come very soon!

And finally, to pull this all together, and make it all possible, we are also going to be working on expanding our financial resources – through increasing our membership, reaching out to new donors and considering other mechanisms for generating revenue. We will share our findings with the membership, as we hope many of them (including methods used to find new sources of support) might also be useful for many of you as well.

So as you can see, you will be hearing a lot from us, over the next several months, on some key files for the sector and for CCIC – our metrics and narrative, the Code of Ethics, and strategic thinking for the sector.  I look forward to some engaging and forward looking discussions with all of you on these core issues. In the meantime, if you have any questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me or any of our Board members.

In solidarity,



Istanbul Principle Case Studies profile best practice of Canadian CSOs IP Icons

When CCIC conducted a series of workshops in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba on the Istanbul Principles, the first thing people asked for was a set of case studies to help them translate these new international norms into practice. For many, the Principles felt too abstract, and case studies would help generate ideas on what groups could be doing to enhance their practice. In response, CCIC has been working for the past six months to generate a set of over twenty case studies from a range of different organizations from across the country. They profile some of the best and most innovative practice within the development and humanitarian sector as it relates to the eight principles and issues. Twenty of these case studies will be highlighted in a 2013 Istanbul Principles calendar that CCIC is developing with the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation.


Canada more transparent, but falling behind peers

At the beginning of October, Publish What You Fund released its second annual 2012 Aid Transparency Index. CCIC played a role in assessing CIDA’s transparency for this Index. The Index ranks 72 donor organisations against 43 indicators of aid transparency at the organisational, country and activity level. Canada ranked 32nd overall, with a score of 46 percent, putting it middle of the field. This was substantially higher than the 31 percent it received in the Index’s inaugural year, but despite this it also fell four spots in the ranking relative to last year. This was largely due to a much larger sample of organizations included in this year’s index, rather than an indication that Canada is losing ground on transparency. Canada is expected to publish its implementation schedule for complying to the International Aid Transparency Initiative by December, one year after it signed on to the agreement, something that will hopefully propel it forward again next year as far as the Publish What You Fund index is concerned.

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Dialogue on human rights in Colombia

CCIC’s Americas Policy Group (APG) held a members meeting in Ottawa on October 16-17. Approximately 20 organizations from across Canada participated. The meeting’s learning session focussed on the human rights context in Colombia. Kimberly Stanton from Project Counselling Service in Colombia spoke about the peace process and the struggle against impunity. Daniel Tubb, a PhD candidate from Carleton University, provided an analysis of the armed conflict and of the economic, social, and political consequences of mining in Colombia. Members also discussed drug, security and investment issues in Mesoamerica and created a work plan for the coming months.

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Letter from Americas Policy Group on human rights and security in Guatemala

The Americas Policy Group (APG) wrote a letter to Minister Diane Ablonczy on the occasion of her visit to Guatemala. Minister Ablonczy’s visit aimed to follow through on Canada's commitment to foster security in Guatemala. In the letter, the APG shared its concern over violent repression that has taken place in three regions of the country since President Otto Pérez Molina took office in January 2012. The use of armed state forces to violently repress peaceful protest and the lack of respect for civil liberties and human rights are not contributing to increased security for the vast majority of the Guatemalan population. The APG believes that true security in Central America cannot be achieved until there is justice for such crimes.


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Building member capacity through workshop on rules of lobbying

In September, CCIC organized an interactive half-day workshop on advocacy, lobbying and political action in Canada. The facilitators, Susan Manwaring (National Chair of the Charities and Not-for-Profit Group at the national law firm Miller Thomson LLP) and Sean Moore (principal of the Advocacy School), touched on the specifics of lobbying legislation in Canada. Two key messages were: the need for organizations in our sector to clearly understand the different rules and parameters which determine the need to report political and lobbying activities, and the importance of establishing procedures in house to track and report such activities. The workshop allowed participants to clarify several misunderstandings and to discuss the lobbying and advocacy rules in a changing political context.  We hope to repeat this workshop in the near future so that more members can enhance their understanding of these important issues.

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MEMBER PROFILE: Association québécoise des organismes de coopération internationale (AQOCI)

AQOCI staff
The staff team at AQOCI

This month CCIC spoke with AQOCI, which is made up of 65 member organizations from 13 regions of Quebec. These organizations work locally and abroad for sustainable human development. Since 1976, AQOCI’s mission has been to promote and support its members’ efforts and initiatives to foster international solidarity. AQOCI’s aim is to eradicate poverty and build a world based on justice, inclusion, equality and the respect for human rights, and it relies on the strength of its network to do so.  In this interview, AQOCI staff speak about their campaigns, as well as social change in Quebec and the effects of CIDA funding cuts in Quebec.

Read the full interview...

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Development and Peace Fall Campaign: “International Development: Do it Justice”

Development and Peace invites Canadians to reflect on Canadian international aid, the principles that should guide it and their own expectations of what it should be. Participants in the campaign are invited to share their concerns towards international aid policies with their member of parliament.

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Canadian Foodgrains Bank is promoting a “Recipe for Ending Global Hunger”

CFGB has launched a postcard campaign asking the federal government to remember the needs of people around the world who don’t have enough to eat, when making crucial decisions.  Members, supporters and partners are invited to participate in the campaign.

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Canadian Hunger Foundation releases report on food security and resilience

Drawing on examples from CHF’s projects around the world, The Road to Resilience: Achieving Food Security by Strengthening Livelihoods examines some of the ways we are helping smallholder farmers in developing countries to thrive. Investing in smallholder farmers is one of the most effective ways to reduce poverty as according to the World Bank, a staggering 75 percent of the world's poor live in rural areas, and most depend on farming to survive. This report looks at the interwoven challenges related to food security in a number of sectors and discusses the lessons that emerge in the areas of Gender Equality, Climate Change Adaptation, Disaster Risk Management, Market-Led Development, and Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.

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Ontario Council for International Co-operation e-magazine call for submissions

Entering its fourth year of publication, OCIC’s iAM multimedia e-magazine recently launched its call for submissions. Writers/artists are asked to send full submissions by November 15, 2012 to OCIC. The theme for this year’s edition is food, in its many roles.

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Oxfam launches report on land grabbing

A new Oxfam Briefing Note titled Our Land, Our Lives: Time out on the global land rush, was released this month and looks at the increasing rate of land grabs in developing countries, and the lack of adequate regulation. This brief also looks at the impact on communities displaced by land grabs. The rate of land grabbing is related to food prices, which are currently once again on the rise.  

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Oxfam Canada’s GROW Week 2012

From October 15 to 19 2012, Oxfam campaigners pushed for small-scale food growers to have better access to land. This campaign gave participants the opportunity to learn, act, and share the message. The campaign is ongoing and people can still get informed and involved.

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Campaign asks federal government to “Reverse the Cuts”

On October 17, International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, a number of Canadian CSOs working in international development launched a campaign asking the federal government to reverse the cuts that were made to CIDA in the March 2012 budget. Canadians who disagree with the cuts are asked to sign a petition, send a letter to the Prime Minister and contact their MP.

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Report to Parliament on the Government of Canada’s Official Development Assistance 2011-12

At the end of September, International Co-operation Minister Fantino tabled the Fourth Report to Parliament on the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act.  As in past years, CCIC will be doing a short analysis of the Report.

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State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012

As in the past, this year’s State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012 assesses the state of malnourishment in the world and indicates that progress in reducing hunger over the past 20 years has been better than previously believed. The report also sheds a spotlight on the role of economic growth in reducing hunger, and outlines some of the measures that need to be addressed to ensure better outcomes for the poor in terms of addressing food security, hunger and agricultural development.

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Busan in a nutshell: What next for the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation

Oxfam International’s new brief provides an overview of some of the outcomes from the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, South Korea, in November 2011, in particular the new principles for development cooperation.  The brief makes an assessment of what will need to happen going forward for Busan to be a success. 

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World Bank Report shows resource wealth does not necessarily bring poverty reduction

Africa's Pulse, a twice-yearly World Bank analysis of Africa's economic prospects, noted that the decline in poverty rates in resource-rich countries has generally lagged behind that of countries without riches in the ground.  Some countries, such as Angola, Congo-Brazzaville and Gabon, have witnessed an increase in the percentage of the population living in extreme poverty. At the Francophonie Summit in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Canada announced it will  provide support to developing countries through the World Bank for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) -  to contribute to the full publication and verification of company payments and government revenues from oil, gas and mining – and to the World Bank's Extractive Industries Technical Advisory Facility – to teach the negotiation skills and policy expertise necessary to manage the mining, oil and natural gas industries in a responsible and transparent manner.

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If you have an item for Flash, send it by e-mail to Jack Litster. Please note that Flash items should be no longer than one paragraph.