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MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT-CEO

 

August 29: Looking ahead to a fast-paced fall agenda

Julia SanchezWhile we may not see many MPs returning to the Hill until next month with the forthcoming prorogation of Parliament (my son asked if he could also prorogue school until October), September is a time when we emerge from the pleasures of summer and return to the reality (and pleasures!) of work.

For CCIC, as for many of you, this fall will be an extremely busy time.

We got ahead of the September crunch with a joint event on Religion and Development with the Canadian Association for the Study of International Development (CASID) at the end of August. It was a good turnout and rich discussion, with lots of our members attending. It is clearly an issue that has captured the interest and attention of many of our members, with people already curious about what sort of follow-up is planned. We also conducted interviews for a new full time Coordinator for the (combined) Asia-Pacific Working Group and the Africa Canada Forum, adding to our staff complement. We were of course sad to see Sylvie Perras leave after eight years with CCIC, but wish her well at USC Canada.

In September, we will be launching a major survey of our members and Provincial Council members on how they are engaging with the private sector - adding more depth to how Canadian organizations are addressing this important issue and the lessons that have been learnt, in particular around partnerships. September will also see the fifth report to Parliament on the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act, and the first in the context of the new Department for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development. Hopefully more light will be shed on the merger process, and we will be continuing oura comparative matrix for the membership of how different countries have approached the issue of similar mergers, including a focus on best practices. We will also be releasing to members the results of the metrics work we have done over the past six months, putting together a range of key numbers for the sector. September will also see meetings with the new leadership at the new Department of International Development.

In October, we are collaborating on an event at MCGill University with Voices-Voix on the enabling environment, with Maina Kiai - the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Association - confirmed as the key note. He will also be coming to Ottawa for a public event on October 24. And prior to that, on October 15-18, we will be running some pilot workshops on implementing Human Rights Based Approaches and better integrating equitable partnerships into your project/programme cycle. Successful applicants will be notified in the coming days.

November 21-22 (mark your calendars!) will see us hosting our fall conference, bringing together our membership around developing a policy framework on development and humanitarian issues to shape the post-2015 environment. We also hope to release the findings of our private sector survey that month, and to initiate a follow-up survey that looks at the impacts of the calls for proposals system on our membership - following up on a similar survey conducted two years ago.

And in early December, we will be collaborating with some member organizations on a learning event around "Tax Justice 101" with a view to bringing our sector up to speed on this important issue.

And you of course, all have equally full agendas and plans, many of which we hope to engage in.

It is a busy, exciting and challenging time for CCIC and our membership. Enjoy the last days of summer!

In solidarity,

Julia

Do you have any reactions to this column? I’d like to hear about it! Please send any comments to Julia Sanchez.

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NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN THE SECTOR

The end of International Youth Internship Programs at DFATD?

Late June, after hearing from an unofficial, but credible, source that the government had decided to close the International Youth Internships Program (IYIP) (around since 1997), and the International Aboriginal Youth Internship Initiative (IAYI) (a pilot project for one year), a working group of CCIC and Provincial Council members and others came together, hoping to reverse the decision. The group reacted quickly by preparing key messages, testimonies from past participants and a sample letter to Minister Baird, to be used by individuals and organizations. A few articles were also published on the subject (see CCIC in the News). Although it is hard to understand why the government would put an end to such a successful program, especially given the government’s emphasis on jobs, we know that the internships are coming to the end of a five-year funding cycle with HRSDC (2014). The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) needs to prepare another submission for Treasury Board if they wish to continue the program. DFATD hasn’t made any announcement about the future of IYIP and IAYI; there is hope that the government will decide to continue the program, which represents a great opportunity for young Canadians to gain invaluable work experience overseas and develop a broad range of personal and professional skills, while contributing to building local partners’ capacities.

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Paradis replaces Fantino as Development Minister

Christian ParadisWith July’s cabinet shuffle, former CIDA Minister of International Co-operation Julian Fantino has been replaced by Industry Minister Christian Paradis as the new Minister for International Development in the merged Department for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development. Like his predecessor, Paradis comes with limited experience in aid and development, while his colleagues at the new Department, Ministers Baird and Fast, have kept their respective portfolios. Paradis also brought with him his own political staff, replacing many staffers who had been there since Minister Oda. Last month, former CIDA President and top bureaucrat Margaret Biggs was also replaced by Paul Rochon.

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From transition to implementation – the DFATD merger

With the June royal assent of the legislation to formally merge the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) with the new Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), DFATD has moved from a transition to implementation phase. The work of Michael Small, who led the transition team for DFAIT and focused largely on business continuity through the merger, has now largely been completed. Gilles Rivard is now responsible for the implementation phase, setting up a structure that would work for better coherence between the different parts of the new department. Rivard is a former Canadian ambassador who has held postings at both the United Nations and Haiti. He also used to be a former CIDA Vice President. CCIC met with Mr. Rivard over the summer.

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Post-2015 discussions continue

On the heels of the High Level Panel report on post-2015 and civil society’s response to the UN Secretary General (UNSG) on that report, the Global Compact has outlined its perspectives, Beyond 2015 has synthesized the findings of its consultations and corresponding demands, and UNSG Ban Ki Moon released his report on the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals until 2015 and the recommendations on the post-2015 agenda. All of this will come to a head on September 25 at the UN Special Event on the MDGs and the post-2015 agenda, led by Ireland and South Africa. It will produce its own Outcome Document that will hopefully provide some direction of the way forward both in terms of process (a roadmap to the September 2015 Heads of State Summit) and substance. The event is expected to include some interaction with civil society during the plenary and roundtables, as well as a number of side events. Registration for the event is now closed, but it will be webcast.

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Training on the Istanbul Principles

Duncan Holmes, a member of the Ontario Council for International Cooperation (OCIC), was selected by CCIC to participate in a global training on CSO Development Effectiveness in Johannesburg, South Africa, at the end of June. Bringing together nearly 40 civil society educators from around the world, the training sought to develop the capacities of trainers, educators and facilitators to further promote the Istanbul Principles and the Siem Reap International Framework on CSO Development Effectiveness, at the country, regional and sectoral levels. OCIC and CCIC are now exploring next steps in Canada to follow-up on the workshop in collaboration with Duncan. 

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New on CCIC’s blog

CCIC New BLogAt the end of July, CCIC launched a new and improved blog - more features, more interaction, a clean and simple design, and fully integrated into our website. We continue to look for guest contributors.

In July and August, we published two blogs by Fraser Reilly-King on how the CIDA-DFAIT merger needs to better reflect the voices of the poor (and what this might look like), and on disaster risk reduction and the need to merge development and humanitarian agendas in 2015. Both blogs were first published on the Ottawa Citizen blog on Aid and Development. If you want to post an article on CCIC’s blog on an issue that is of interest to your organization and our sector, please contact Chantal Havard.dividing line

Coalition Profile : Food Security Policy Group

(To advance its policy agenda, support existing networks and have a greater impact, CCIC is involved in many coalitions. Each month we will be featuring one of them in Flash! so that you can get involved with them too.)

Food Security Policy Group

CNCA

Since 1996 and the World Summit on Food Security, the FSPG has brought together Canadian international development and humanitarian agencies, farmers’ organizations and human rights groups who have worked for decades in sectors related to enhancing sustainable agriculture and food security in developing countries and Canada. It has 23 members (including CCIC). In the early days, the coalition focused largely on two streams of work: ensuring the WTO's Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) did not negatively affect food security in developing countries where agriculture is crucial for the livelihoods of poor people; and on untying food aid and encouraging Canada to use its aid dollars to support smallholder farms and promote sustainable agriculture and rural livelihoods. The FSPG also engaged with Agriculture Canada on overall Canadian food and agricultural policy as it related to our international development policies and commitments. More recently, the FSPG has looked at the nexus between climate change adaptation, agriculture and sustainable livelihoods, the issue of resilience in the context of smallholder agriculture, the growing pandemic of global land grabs, as well as CIDA’s thematic focus on food security. In July 2013, FSPG released “Fertile Ground? Assessing CIDA’s investments in food and farming”, an assessment of CIDA’s implementation of its 2009 food security strategy. The publication includes a synthesis, an overview of the Canadian government’s international approach to food security, a statistical analysis, and two case studies (Ethiopia and Honduras).

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MEMBER PROFILE: Islamic Relief Canada

Project Ploughshares

"This picture is from Islamic Relief Canada's "War On Hunger" campaign.
The little girl featured in the picture is one of
Islamic Relief's beneficiaries in war torn Afghanistan."


This month CCIC met with Sallah Hamdani, CEO at Islamic Relief Canada, part of the global family of Islamic Relief Worldwide that was founded in 1984. Operating in 35 countries around the world, Islamic Relief Canada's primary objective is to promote sustainable development, but they also respond to disasters and emergencies.  Read about Islamic Relief's work with refugees, and in Syria, and their recent "War on Hunger" campaign.

CCIC - How would you describe and characterize your organization, Islamic Relief Canada?

Sallah Hamdani - Islamic Relief Canada is part of a global family called Islamic Relief Worldwide and represents the largest Muslim charity in the world today. We function as a partner office, with charitable status, which raises funds for key development projects in over 35 different countries that Islamic Relief works in. Islamic Relief Canada’s primary objective is sustainable development but we also respond to disasters and emergencies. In addition to this, Islamic Relief advocates on behalf of the non-profit sector and lobby’s governments to take strong decisions to mitigate the adverse effects of hunger, poverty and emergencies.

Read the full interview...

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CCIC MEMBERS IN ACTION

Canadian Delegation Explores Labour and Corporate Impunity issues in Colombia

From July 11-16, a delegation of 17 Canadian civil society and parliamentary representatives carried out a mission to Colombia. Its goals were to witness and support a popular hearing on Canadian oil company Pacific Rubiales Energy and to evaluate the consequences of the company’s oil production in the region. The company has been accused of union-busting, harsh working conditions, illegal hiring practices and low wages. There has also been a series of attacks against unionized workers, ranging from slander to murder. The delegation was organized by APG member PASC and included participants from several other APG organizations such as CDHAL and CEP. To learn more, see this news coverage and commentary.

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Two new APWG Reports: Annual Symposium 2013 and Annual Meeting with CIDA Asia Branch

CCIC’s Asia-Pacific Working Group (APWG) organized its one-day annual symposium on April 16th in Ottawa. The Symposium focused primarily on Canada’s trade and investment agenda in Asia and its impacts on populations in the region. Speakers included Sanya Reid Smith (Third World Network), Afsar Jafri (Focus on the Global South), Ah Nan (Burma Rivers Network), Stuart Trew (Council of Canadians), Daniel Poon (North-South Institute) and Denis Côté (APWG-CCIC). A summary report of the symposium is now available on the APWG webpage.

APWG members also met with CIDA Asia Branch staff on May 29th to discuss various issues, including the CIDA-DFAIT merger and its potential impacts on development programs and projects in the region, coordination with CIDA’s Partnership with Canadians Branch, as well as CIDA’s current priority countries and themes — with a focus on the role of the private sector. A summary report of the meeting is now available upon request for APWG members only.

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WORTH A LOOK

New online Development Magazine: Development Post

“Surfacing ideas in development through curated content and beautiful design” is part of the mission of Development Post, a new and free online magazine published in London, UK. Development Post's summer 2013 edition is out now: Security for Prosperity - plumbing the depths of country security: what is it, who are the actors, and why is it increasingly relevant to the aid and development community?  Sign up to receive regular copies in your inbox, or on your iPad.

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Attend the launch of “Investments to End Poverty” in New York

Development Initiatives (DI) is launching their inaugural “Investments to End Poverty” report on 23 September at the UN General Assembly. Appearing alongside DI Executive Director Judith Randel is Homi Kharas, Senior Fellow and Deputy Director for the Global Economy and Development programme at Brookings Institution. Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International, will reflect on the need for universal responsibility in financing post-2015 goals and on improved accountability mechanisms. Register to attend.

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DAC statistical report on donor spending on the environment

The OECD Development Assistance Committee recently released “Aid in support of environment,” a statistical report on OECD donor programming commitments.  It is based on a "marker system" used to identify activities as a principal or significant objective.  “Principal” represents the best proxy for donor spending as it is where addressing the environment is a principal objective and result, rather than just a portion of the overall objective (“Significant”).  Canada ranked middle of the OECD pack. The raw data for this report is also available.

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What is the state of Global Humanitarian Assistance?

The 10th edition of the Global Humanitarian Assistance Report is out, assessing humanitarian financing and emerging trends and issues. This year the Report looks at how international assistance has responded to the scale of recent global humanitarian crises, including action to strengthen response. It also features a number of ‘in focus’ reports, each providing an overview of current issues (new and emerging donors, the crisis in Syria and lessons learnt from the 2011 Horn of Africa food crisis).

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How is Canada doing on its pledges to education?

In July, the Global Partnership for Education released its first Pledge Monitoring Report to track donor commitments to education following the GPE’s first pledging conference in 2011 in Denmark. The Report contains an overview of trends in financing for education, as well as chapters containing summaries of each partner's pledge – Canada, among others, has reduced its support to basic education plus.

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IDRC invites applications for its Canadian Partnerships Small Grants

IDRC invites applications for its 2013-2014 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. Individuals may not apply. Organizations new to IDRC are encouraged to apply. The deadline is September 9, 2013. 

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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.