CCIC monthly e-bulletin: December 2012                                                            About CCIC     |     Contact Us
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Year in Review

One of the most interesting things of the End of Year Holidays is that it prompts us to look back at the year we are about to close, and reflect on where we were when we started the year, and where we are now. 

The relationship between CIDA and CSOs
We started off the New Year on a low in the sector, because a significant number of our members received depressing news on Dec 23rd when the results of a couple of key calls for proposals at CIDA were finally made public. After what seemed like eternal delays in the decision-making process, our fears were confirmed – the approved projects cut out a large number of organizations that had been doing excellent work, recognized by their partners and by CIDA itself. For those organizations that were successful, a new phase of negotiations, often lengthy and painful, would begin before they could start implementing the new projects on the ground with their partners.

In early January, CCIC, in collaboration with the provincial and regional councils, sent out a survey to inform an analysis on the results and impacts of these calls for proposals. We got excellent response, including from numerous organizations that are not members of our councils, and we prepared a report which made 12 concrete recommendations on how some of the downfalls of the new mechanism could be addressed. Our key recommendations were then shared with CIDA staff in the hopes that they might make their way into the recommendations that would eventually go to the Minister for approval.  And here we are, one year down the road, with still no recommendations having been approved by the past or the present Ministers.  And no new round of “regular” calls for proposals in over 2 years pretty soon (March/April 2013), and no indication on when that might happen.

In the meantime, dozens of organizations have seen their previous contribution agreements expire and have had to close down their programs in developing countries or pare them down significantly. The great work which these organizations were doing with CIDA support has been hindered by the lack of predictability and long-term commitment that are essential for good development results. And there is no clear end in sight to the current state of limbo that key components of the Partnerships with Canadians Program seems to be trapped in.  The changes in the way this CIDA Branch works with civil society groups were meant, we have been told, to enhance effectiveness – unfortunately to date, there are no signs of how and when that is going to be achieved.  Let’s hope the New Year will bring positive movement on this front.

The role of the private sector in development
January also saw an explosion of media attention, and the corresponding internal and external discussions, around three pilot projects that feature private-public partnerships between NGOs, CIDA and mining companies. The public debate around the effectiveness of this strategy and the pertinence of CIDA using tax payers’ money to support these initiatives, perceived by many as CSR initiatives, has been lively and continued in different intensities throughout the year.

As we close off the year, the recent report from the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development (FAAE) on the role of the private sector in achieving Canada’s international development mandate has added to the debate. And the Minister of International Cooperation’s policy pronouncements around the emphasis he wants CIDA to give the private sector, and particularly Canadian multinational corporations, have livened that debate to superlative levels. The questions that are being raised - both by the government and by the academic, political and civil society commentators on this issue - are hugely important for Canada’s future international development program as well as its role in the world more broadly. It is encouraging to see so many people engaging in the debate. It has been a long time since there was substantive public debate on international development policy – this can only be a good thing if the debate is respectful, healthy and well-informed.

The Istanbul Principles for CSO Development Effectiveness
In November 2011, several of us participated in the global civil society forum before the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan (HLF4) and at the HLF4 itself. One of the positive results of that process was the recognition in the outcome document of the unique role civil society organizations play in international development as well as an acknowledgement of the Istanbul Principles, as the self-created principles that guide civil society involvement in development processes. After the culmination of this massive global effort of consultation and convergence, it was now time to start disseminating the principles at the national level and breathing life into them for all our members and the broader community.

Throughout the year CCIC has organized and participated in a series of workshops, conferences, and seminars on the Istanbul Principles. We have told the story of why and how the principles came to be and tried to illustrate what they mean for our day to day work as CSOs. The collaboration both globally and in Canada around the principles has been energizing and inspiring. In Canada we supported the Ontario Council for International Co-operation (OCIC) in the design and dissemination of logos for the eight principles that are now being adopted globally. More than 30 of our member organizations then volunteered to put together case studies that illustrate how the different principles are being applied in the work of Canadian organizations in partnership with their Southern partners. These case studies can be found on our website – if you have not done so yet, go take a look, and I promise you will be inspired. And finally, to end the year, and in collaboration with our friends at the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation (ACGC) we have created a calendar for 2013 that profiles the principles and that also points to the case studies that illustrate them. If you have not received your calendar, please let us know and we will send it to you right away. They are a great resource and a beautiful testament to the effectiveness and accountability of Canadian international development organizations.

As we look forward to the New Year, I am hopeful that we can continue to debate and dialogue amongst ourselves, with academics, with all political parties, and with our CIDA colleagues about these and other key emerging issues in international development. The context in which we all work is changing at an accelerating speed – and the more spaces we have for informed and constructive exchange of ideas and debate, the quicker we will find innovative ways to continue playing a positive role in the world. I trust that CCIC, with the engagement of all its members, can and will play a significant role in this process.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all from myself and the whole CCIC team!

In solidarity,




Save the date - Leaders’ Forum 2013

Before you turn off the lights in your office for the end of year holidays, please make sure you have marked your calendar for February 27th in Ottawa for the 2013 CCIC Leaders’ Forum. The year that ends has witnessed important changes in the context for international development organizations, both globally and in Canada, and these changes require collective responses.  of these challenges, identified by our leaders in May 2012, is how to communicate better with the Canadian public and generate more support for our work.

There was agreement at last year’s Leaders Forum that as a sector we needed to work together on changing the narrative that is out there about who we are and what we do. Since then, we have established a Communications Task Force that has started to work on shared messaging, communications tools and more. We are also exploring possible joint campaigns for the near future – what could that look like? At this year’s Leaders’ Forum we want to take stock of where we are with the narrative work, get your high level input into the strategy and work plan, and discuss the degree to which your organizations can get involved in coordinated efforts around the narrative in the future.

We will send out a personal invitation to all our heads of agencies in January confirming resource persons, agenda and venue. And we will invite you to extend an invitation to the Chair of your Board, or other Board Member, to join this critical discussion too. We promise a day filled with exchange and interesting discussions that will define the direction of our collective efforts in reaching out to the Canadian public and increasing their awareness about and support for our sector. Hope to see many of you there!


Start 2013 with an Istanbul Principles Calendar!

IP Calendar

In partnership with the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation, and with the support of the Provincial and Regional Councils and the Open Forum for CSO Development Effectiveness, CCIC has developed a 2013 calendar featuring the Istanbul Principles for CSO Development Effectiveness.  The calendar tells the story of the Principles, and why they matter. Each month profiles a different Principle and directs you to case studies that showcase some of the best and most innovative practice of Canadian development and humanitarian organizations in the field. It is a story worth telling. If you have not received a copy of this calendar but would like to, please contact Alice Ouedraogo.

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Highlights from CSO Platform for Development Effectiveness Kenya meetings

After two days of intense discussion, fifty civil society leaders and representatives of all the different regions and sub-regions of the world, from the faith-based, feminist, labour, rural sectors, and international civil society organizations, met in Nairobi, Kenya, and launched the CSO Platform for Development Effectiveness (CPDE). CCIC sits on the Global Council of the CPDE on behalf of North America, as well as in the Coordination Committee. On December 9, to mark the occasion, the Global Council released a communiqué identifying the shared vision, mission, principles and goals going forward for the CPDE. The CPDE now replaces BetterAid and the Open Forum for Development Effectiveness, and is the civil society representative to the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation – the new global governing body on development cooperation.

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New on CCIC’s blog

CCIC’s Policy Analyst Fraser Reilly-King was in Kenya early December, along with 50 representatives from around the world and from the rural, faith based, feminist sectors and international civil society organizations (CSOs). The group came together to plan the future engagement around the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) and the work at the regional and national level, and to launch a new collective CSO Platform for Development Effectiveness (CPDE). He wrote a two-part blog on this challenging exercise.

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MEMBER PROFILE: Victoria International Development Education Association (VIDEA)

Friendship and solidarity between BC communities and Zambian communities through VIDEA’s Twinning Programme

This month, CCIC spoke with Lesley Palmer, Programme Manager at the Victoria International Development Education Association (VIDEA), a dynamic NGO based in British Columbia. VIDEA was established as a non-profit organization in 1977 to “inspire thought and action on global issues”. The organization will be celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2013 and we take this opportunity to present some of the work done by VIDEA on global education and on partnering with Southern organizations through the years, as well as some initiatives being developed more recently.

Read the full interview...

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CoDevelopment Canada Recognized for Outstanding Contribution to Human Rights

On December 5, CoDev received the 2012 Renate Shearer Award from the United Nations Association in Canada and the B.C. Human Rights Coalition. CoDevelopment Canada is a B.C.-based NGO that works for social change and global education in the Americas. CoDev was selected for the award for the impressive work done with Latin American partners. CoDev’s Latin American partners work to protect the rights of workers, women and communities across the region.

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CCIC’s Chair and Canadian Foodgrains Bank Executive Director Honoured

Warm congratulations to CCIC’s chair Jim Cornelius, who received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in November. Jim was awarded the medal for his contribution to helping end global hunger, through the work that he has been doing with Canadian Foodgrains Bank. The medal, which honours significant contributions and achievements by Canadians, marks the celebration of the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada.

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International cooperation in Quebec : AQOCI research on the current difficulties

The Association québécoise des organismes de coopération internationale (AQOCI) undertook a research project to analyze the current situation for civil society working in international cooperation in Quebec, in order to analyze the impact of changes at CIDA over the past two years, on AQOCI’s member organizations. On November 14, AQOCI presented the results of this research in a special general meeting attended by nearly 100 people.

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Development and Peace writes letter to Minister Fantino

On December 13, Development and Peace sent a letter to Minister Fantino expressing their concerns and the concerns of their Southern partners. The letter speaks to the often negative impacts of foreign direct investment in developing countries, in particular in relation with extractive industries.

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Labour sector facilitates collaboration and learning

CCIC’s labour-sector members played a convening role at several important events in November. On November 29th, the Canadian Labour Congress organized a working meeting to explore research that can help expose and challenge corporate influence over public policy. The meeting aimed to capture the experiences of participants involved in their own campaigns on this issue and explored how they could work together.   On November 30th, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) held a social justice fair and reception to give union leaders an opportunity to meet PSAC’s social justice partners and encourage further collaboration. CCIC and several of its member organizations had booths at the fair.

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Oxfam International series of blogs on agriculture and food security

In November, Oxfam International launched a series of blogs on Making the food system work for women and the future of agriculture.

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Plan Canada report finds violence in schools key barrier to education

Plan Canada’s new global report: A Girl’s Right to Learn Without Fear, a joint initiative with the University of Toronto’s International Human Rights Program (IHRP), finds that globally, between 500 million and 1.5 billion children experience school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV) every year. SRGBV refers to acts of sexual, physical or psychological violence inflicted on children in and around schools because of their sex or gender identity. Marginalized communities in Canada, including Aboriginal children, children with intellectual disabilities, and LGBTQ students, face disproportionately high rates of SRGBV compared to their peers. Based on promising policy practices from around the world, Plan Canada and the IHRP are calling on the government to launch a consultative process to develop a comprehensive whole-of-government action plan to end violence against all children, with a strong focus on gender and the school context.

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IDRC launches call for applications

IDRC invites applications for its 2012-2013 Small Grants for Innovative Research and Knowledge Sharing. Provided through the Canadian Partnerships program, these grants support research, knowledge-building, and knowledge-sharing projects. They also fund events and small dissemination activities and products. These grants are open to local, regional, national, and international organizations incorporated and headquartered in Canada that produce or share knowledge for development. Organizations new to IDRC are encouraged to apply. The deadline for applications is January 7, 2013.

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Reality of Aid report on Aid and the Private Sector launched

CCIC, as Vice-Chair of the Reality of Aid Network, was in Nairobi, Kenya to launch the network’s biennial flagship report, with the 2012 edition focusing on Aid and the Private Sector: Catalysing Poverty Reduction and Development? The Report reveals that the increasing role of the private sector in the global aid industry is doing little to benefit the poor – too often the focus of donors has been on large-scale investments or infrastructure development to increase economic growth. And too often these interventions target the formal economy and big businesses, instead of addressing the realities of significant informal economies and the needs of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. The report comprises 30 contributions revealing experiences and insights from both aid-giving and aid-recipient countries. Alongside CCIC, the Director of External Relations from the Kenyan Ministry of Finance and a representative from the German Development Ministry also spoke at the launch.

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Philippine Journal tackles food sovereignty issues in Southeast Asia

Kasarinlan, the Philippine Journal of Third World Studies, recently launched an issue on Food Sovereignty in Southeast Asia, with 35 articles and reviews (free to download) from academics and civil society organizations, including an article co-written by CCIC’s Denis Cote.

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New website highlights impact of financial regulation on human rights

A task force of human rights organizations and networks launched today a website devoted to highlighting the globally growing concern about the impact of financial regulation on human rights. The website - - was developed by the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR), CIVICUS Alliance, Center of Concern, ESCR-Net, Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN), IBASE, Social Watch and the Norwegian Center for Human Rights.

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One stop shop for details on climate change and food security

The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security has released a suite of 30 key facts, based on scientific papers, on the links between agriculture and climate change, entitled Big Facts.

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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.