CCIC monthly e-bulletin: February 2013                                                            About CCIC     |     Contact Us
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As of this March, it will have been two years since CIDA launched the call for proposals for the Over $2M  (the Under $2M was launched shortly thereafter in April). This was a critical step in the implementation of the new funding mechanism for Canadian civil society organizations (CSOs) through the Partnerships with Canadians Branch (PWCB), for it in effect replaced, though in very limited ways, what until then had been institutional responsive funding for CSO partners doing development work overseas and public education work in Canada. Though in 2010 funding to Canadian CSOs (excluding Universities and Colleges) represented only 16% of CIDA’s program budget, it accounted for support to more than 250 CSOs for their on-going partnerships in 120 developing countries. This amounted to approximately $560 million invested by CIDA in these partnerships and development programs, an amount which leveraged more than a billion from Canadians in donations.  The results and long-term impact of these endeavours are well documented and impressive, and cover a wide gamut of themes such as water and sanitation, education, women’s rights, governance, humanitarian assistance and reconstruction, health, and economic development, among others.

CIDA’s investment in Canadian civil society has been critical to developing Canada’s capacity to punch above its weight in the international cooperation arena. For decades, the government has matched donations from the Canadian public to strengthen Canadian civil society’s capacity to deliver first class support to its partners in the global south, to do policy research and advocacy on cutting edge development issues, and to accompany partners in developing countries in their struggles to end poverty and injustice. Since the implementation of the new Calls for Proposals mechanism (CfP), the lack of predictable funding for programs and the countless “losers” it has created, has put decades of investment and long-term development outcomes at risk, and hundreds of programs and partners on hold. It is extremely hard to understand how this new mechanism is more effective from a development results perspective, especially in the face of the many implementation challenges and unacceptable delays from which it has suffered.

One of the key principles of effective aid, which the Canadian government committed to in Accra, is aid predictability – knowing what is coming down the funding pipeline so that you can plan your programs for the future alongside your partners and anticipate when programs may need to start winding down. The new funding mechanism was geared towards doing just that, but has fallen well short.   

But it is also about having a range of funding options for civil society. As the OECD itself noted in Partnering with Civil Society – 12 lessons from DAC Peer Reviews,  “Donors should have a mix of formal funding mechanisms which can be tailored to suit CSO partners, strengthen ownership and match policy objectives. Using an appropriate funding mechanism will contribute to more effective partnerships, maximise impact and value for money, and give greater flexibility to adapt to changing situations and needs”. Just last summer, the European Commission new policy on engaging with civil society underscored the importance of using “an appropriate mix of funding modalities so as to best respond to the widest possible range of actors, needs and country contexts in a flexible, transparent, cost-effective and result focused manner.” In short, predictability and flexible funding modalities make good development sense.

Last time I checked (late last year) there were still grant agreements that resulted from these two calls for proposals that remained unsigned – the product of the last difficult step of negotiating an agreement with CIDA to implement the projects which were announced, after significant delay, on Dec 23rd, 2011. According to information provided by PWCB, for the “Over $2 million” call-for-proposals, CIDA received 50 proposals of which 41 were deemed eligible and therefore assessed. 23 of those were approved for funding. For the “Under $2 million” call-for-proposals, CIDA received 167 proposals, of which 116 were deemed eligible and 30 approved for funding. Subsequently, and over the last two years, dozens of organizations have seen their grant agreements expire without any hope of further support from CIDA for their essential and excellent work, because there have been no more general calls for proposals since then. Even more organizations will see their grant agreements with CIDA expire by the end of this fiscal year. And another equally critical call, the one for the volunteer sending sector, has still to be launched, even though the grant agreements for all VSAs end in March 2014.

The millions of Canadians that support CSOs in their work to end poverty and injustice globally seem increasingly puzzled by the apparent lack of support from this government to one of its proven partners in achieving sustainable development results. We have seen manifestations of this in the hundreds of published letters to the editor that were written by Canadians around the Reverse the Cuts campaign. And similarly, in the thousands of post cards sent to the Prime Minister by supporters of Development and Peace asking for a revision of the current development framework. CIDA, as a development agency, has achieved an incredible amount over the past four decades. And a lot of that success can be attributed to its partnerships with Canadian civil society.  It is a relationship that we are proud of and value, and it is one that we want to maintain. Since June 2010, the government has provided limited support for the important contribution of our sector to Canada's role in the world, and many will argue that it is irrevocably hindering the sector's capacity to deliver results as it stumbles in the rolling out of its new mechanism for funding CSOs. It is time for this to change in order for Canada to continue punching above its weight and be a leader on the global stage.

In solidarity,




Post-2015 discussions on a roll

January was a busy month for the post-2015 process. The Beyond 2015 campaign consolidated its thinking around the Vision, Purpose, Values and Criteria of a post-2015 framework. There have been national deliberations in 30 countries facilitated by the campaign. And there was a major civil society consultation with the High-Level Panel (HLP) on the post-2015 development framework in Monrovia, at which CSOs submitted Vision Statements on the five roundtable groups to the HLP Co-chair President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and an Outcome Document from Civil Society Consultations with the HLP. Ireland and South Africa have also been confirmed as the co-facilitators for the “Special Event in 2013 to follow up efforts to achieving the MDGs” tentatively scheduled for September 25, 2013, in New York. Last month, the North-South Institute also launched an initiative to track developments around the post-2015 agenda.


Denmark sets the gold standard for transparency

While CIDA continues to make strides in its own transparency through the International Aid Transparency Initiative, and are ahead of DANIDA (the Danish Aid Agency) in terms of both their reporting to the IATI registry and the quality of that reporting, DANIDA just raised the bar for all donors. As part of their “transparency package”, DANIDA has four new sections on their website: 1)  Send feedback to Danida: Organisations or individuals can directly praise, criticise or raise a complaint; 2) Report corruption: Report any suspected irregularity or if you have experienced corruption related to its activities; 3) Participate in public consultations: A line-up for the next few months is already posted, with each consultation running for two weeks;  4) View documents: See minutes, summaries from meetings of the Council for Development Policy, which provides strategic advice to the development cooperation minister, or proposals for deliberation; 5) Access data on projects and programs: Already there, and will update its database, which is currently in Danish, annually.

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Third biennial Finance consultation on the ODA Accountability Act

In collaboration with the Halifax Initiative, CCIC made a submission to Finance Canada as part of its consultation on the ODA Accountability Act, our third since the consultations began in 2008. While CCIC continues to appreciate the fact that Finance Canada is the only Department to have ever held official consultations on the Act, regrettably, these consultations have become increasingly perfunctory. None of the recommendations that CCIC, nor other organizations, have made since 2008 have been taken up (other than a longer consultation period), nor is any feedback provided to those groups who make submissions. This year, none of the individuals or organizations who made submissions in 2011 were contacted – CCIC stumbled upon the consultations by chance. And based on Access to Information requests, the consultations themselves are not analysed nor assessed to shape the views of the Minister in their interactions at the World Bank or International Monetary Fund. The McLeod Group and the Council of Canadians with Disabilities also made submissions.

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New on CCIC’s blog

We have three new posts since last FLASH: a blog from Rebecca Winthrop entitled How do you support teachers? Pay them, originally published in the Education for All Blog of the Global Partnership for Education; one on the new Food Assistance Convention (FAC), written by Barbara Macdonald from the Canadian Foodgrains Bank and finally, a joint blog on Guatemalan human rights defenders visiting Canada.

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Malawi: Re-usable, locally sourced and crafted sanitary pads enable the full participation of girls in school, while providing local women with business opportunities.

This month CCIC interviewed MATCH International Executive Director Jess Tomlin. This interview sheds light on a successful organizational comeback, the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Violence in Conflict, the Women’s Fund for Social Innovation, and more...

Read the full interview...

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New Oxfam Briefing on Mali

In late January, Oxfam released a new briefing paper on Mali’s conflict refugees and how the humanitarian community is responding to the plight of the 375,000 Malians that have fled the conflict in the North.

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Overcoming Chronic Food Insecurity

The reports of a conference co-organized by the Humanitarian Coalition and the Food Security Policy Group on Overcoming Chronic Food Insecurity: What Lessons After 2 Years of Major Droughts in Africa? are now available.

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CNCA members leave Centre for Excellence in CSR following Government of Canada termination of funding

For the past three years several member organizations of the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA) have participated in the Executive Committee of the Centre for Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). These organizations were the United Steelworkers, MiningWatch Canada, Mennonite Central Committee Canada, KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives and Amnesty International Canada. In the last few weeks each of those organizations has ended their participation in the Centre. The Government of Canada’s termination of funding for the Centre at the end of March 2012 was a major factor in the decision of each organization to leave.

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Hearing the voices of social movements

The Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation has just released The Future We the People Need, a report that highlights the perspectives of new social, trade union, and protest movements in regions that have experienced great social upheaval due to recent crises—North Africa and the Middle East, Europe, and North America.

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New report gives voice to aid recipients

CDA Collaborative Learning, a non-profit in Massachusetts, has released a 150-page book entitled Time to Listen: Hearing People on the Receiving End of International Aid, which is available for free download.  The book captures the experiences and voices of over 6,000 people who have received international assistance, observed the effects of aid efforts, or been involved in providing aid.

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Corporate power around the world

Just ahead of the Davos World Economic Forum, the Transnational Institute released an infographic that visualizes the biggest companies in the world, the corporations that control them, and how their power compares with that of states.

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Right to Food Report on Canada now available

The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food has released the Report of his mission to Canada that took place in May 2012.  The report will be formally presented to the UN Council on Human Rights on March 4 in Geneva.

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