CCIC monthly e-bulletin: March 2014                                                About CCIC     |     Contact Us
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About partnerships….

Julia Sanchez
I just spent 4 days last week at a “partnership brokering” workshop organized by the UK’s Partnership Brokering Association in collaboration with SiG. I attended in the workshop because I received a very generous subsidy which enabled my participation, but also of course because partnerships are such a central part of development discourse these days, that I was looking to this as a unique opportunity to immerse myself fully in the subject matter and try to sort through my thoughts on this hugely important and often controversial issue within our landscape.

I learned many things from the very experienced main trainer, Ros Tennyson, and also from the many participants at the course. Ros was quick to confirm what many of us believe: that the term “partnership” is abused often and by many, and that for example relations which are basically about funding are not partnerships, and should not be called partnerships… Partnerships, she reminded us, is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “An on-going working relationship where risks and benefits are shared”. And therefore it is of utmost importance that we nurture the relationship at the same time that we devote energy to accomplishing results together.


But my most immediate takeaway is however what hit me on the fourth day, as we were being invited to reflect on how what we had learned during the course would affect our work when we were back at the office the following week.It suddenly dawned on me that my team and I are currently immersed in getting a potential real partnership off the ground – the partnership with the Canadian Association of International Development Professionals (CAIDP), with whom we have joined forces to organize the largest annual conference that either of us has seen in recent years (or ever?). We are both racing at 200 kilometers an hour to get everything in place for the exciting 2.5 day event which starts on the evening of May 13th in Ottawa (see information on the conference and how to register here). But, have we taken the time to be explicit about our common goal and mutual interests? Have we shared what our individual interests are in the partnership (what we each hope to get out of it too)? Have we defined what success will look like of our joint endeavor? Are we spending enough (or any) time on nurturing the relationship?

Maybe not. I think it is fair to call our budding partnership a “non-traditional partnerships or cross-sector collaboration” as can also be said of our on-going collaboration with the Canadian Association of Studies in International Development (CASID), with whom we co-organized our fall policy conference in 2012 on the post-2015 agenda. And also fair to say that, true to our respective natures, we have all been too focused on the results of our collaboration and not enough on the nature of our growing relationship. So guess what, I have now made a resolution to play a role in reminding us that partnership is more than the sum of its parts, and that to take ours forward we need to invest in the process, as much as on the concrete outcomes, of our of our collaborative efforts.

And what a happy coincidence (not) that the joint conference that we are organizing is all about partnerships too -  "Redefining Development Partnerships: A new Role for Canadians in Global Equality and Cooperation”!

If you have not already done so, please visit our conference website where you will find a concept note, information on how to register (and hurry to benefit from the early bird rates which are only valid until April 13th) and much more. You will not want to miss the debate, plenary sessions and keynote addresses, parallel workshops, special activities for the CCIC Emerging Leaders, the Second Awards dinner and dance, and much more! Everything revolving around the important subject of partnerships for development effectiveness. We only have capacity for 300 participants all told, so make sure you register early!

I am looking forward to a conference filled with thought provoking, informed and profound dialogue and debate around this defining feature of global cooperation, and look forward to all the networking opportunities with you all in that space.

In solidarity,


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



Constructive Engagement with the Minister’s Office

Meeting with Minister ParadisOver the past several months we have noticed a different openness from Minister Paradis’ office towards general issues relating to the role of civil society groups in Canada’s development program. Though we have yet to see some significant and tangible shifts in the often uncertain practice that had become the norm on the part of the Ministry in its dealings with Canadian civil society, we have observed a marked difference in the tone and openness to discuss issues of interest to the sector at large (including the value of our diverse roles, the importance of open dialogue with and funding for the sector).

The changing disposition towards the sector was highlighted at a recent meeting between Minister Paradis and a delegation of the CCIC Board, on February 27th. At the meeting, the Minister reiterated that he is convinced of the value-added that CSOs bring to Canada’s international development program, and that he is determined to work in partnership with civil society to achieve better results.

The key role that CSOs play in mobilizing Canadians and channeling their interest in global issues in multiple ways was emphasized at the meeting – as well as our role in enhancing the visibility of Canada’s contributions to ending global poverty as well as the innovative nature of the work we do. The Minister was keen to convey the message that the government’s priority of engaging the private sector in development is not meant to be at the expense of the CSOs – the intent is to add and not subtract, we were told.

CCIC is continuing to engage with the Minister’s office and to support lines of communications with a diversity of our members as well. In order to better inform members of the process and to solicit inputs into the overall strategy, the President-CEO of CCIC conducted a series of meetings with members in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and via webinar during the month of March.

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How are CSOs in Canada engaging the private sector?

Over the past two decades, Canadian civil society organizations (CSOs) have engaged the private sector in a range of ways – through external advocacy and internal dialogue to influence corporate behaviour, and through programs on the ground aimed at promoting local economic development. But in recent years, how donors and CSOs can partner with the private sector – most notably the Canadian private sector – to address global development challenges has become an increasing area of focus and interest. This month CCIC launched a report that maps the different ways in which Canadian CSOs are engaging the private sector – drawing on 62 responses from an extensive survey that the council launched with the CSO community across Canada. The responses to the survey illuminate the great depth, variety, and complexity of different approaches, as well as the current and changing priorities of CSOs involved in Canadian international cooperation with respect to engaging the private sector. The report concludes with a set of forward-looking implications for CSOs in Canada.

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CCIC selected as national hub for Beyond 2015 campaign

Ahead of the start of the intergovernmental process of negotiations around what will replace the Millennium Development Goals, the Beyond 2015 campaign, alongside Climate Action Network International, the International Forum of National NGO Platforms and Participate, issued a call for lead agencies to act as national hubs to coordinate advocacy on a post-2015 global development framework – and CCIC was selected as one of 38 national hubs. In the first phase of this work (April and May), CCIC will be laying the groundwork for2015: mapping organizations already working on post-2015 and those keen to engage, and building the foundations of a network within Canada; identifying the key players in the Canadian government on this file and their emerging positions and priorities; and developing a public engagement and outreach, communications, and advocacy strategy and action plan looking ahead to 2015.The work will build on our November annual policy conference.


In conversation with Ros Tennyson

Ros TennysonOn March 19, seventeen representatives from CCIC member organizations met for two hours with Ros Tennyson, from UK’s Partnership Brokering Association, at WUSC office. Ros was in town to deliver a 4 day “partnership brokering” workshop (see message from President-CEO), and the discussion with CCIC members was particularly focused on partnering with the mining sector and the specific challenges that these present. Highlights of the discussion included the importance of defining and agreeing on terms (for example “engaging with” and “partnering with” are quite different); the establishment of a level playing field and common goals when entering into a partnership (power relations make partnering very challenging); assessing the preconceptions and assumptions that we might have when engaging in a partnership; and making sure that we keep our own identity when partnering (“Don’t blur the boundaries”). Ros walked us through the “partnering cycle” and insisted on the fact that very often, unexpected outcomes happen and these can be even more valuable than the expected ones. Final comments from participants included the need to frame any partnership in terms of structural change and theories of change, which all agreed, should be a topic of discussion for a follow up workshop!

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High Level Meeting in Mexico set to go

It has been a frantic month finalizing agendas, confirming speakers, preparing discussion papers and deliverables, pitching side events and poster sessions, and responding to the official draft Communiqué. But plans have almost been finalized for the High Level Meeting (HLM) in Mexico on April 14-15, the first Ministerial meeting since the conclusion of the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan and the launch of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation. A day ahead of the HLM, civil society from around the world will be meeting to discuss priority themes of enabling environment, inclusive development and multi-stakeholder engagement, as well as issues that are top of the list at the HLM, including country systems and democratic ownership, and the role of the private sector.  Civil society will be presenting a synthesis of evidence from a twelve country study on enabling environment, and a compendium of case studies on how the Istanbul Principles have been implemented at the country level. Representatives from CCIC, AidWatch Canada, Oxfam Canada and the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation will attend the HLM and Forum.

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SAVE THE DATE! Workshop on CRA charity regulations, April 24th

We are pleased to announce that, following a strong demand from many CCIC members, we will be hosting a workshop regarding the recent changes to the CRA charity regulations with W. Laird Hunter, Q.C. an accomplished lawyer with extensive experience in non-profit and charity law. The workshop will cover the new reporting requirements for partners overseas, political activity issues, as well as other pressing concerns. The workshop will take place on Thursday April 24th in Ottawa. Mark your calendars! More information to follow soon!

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Canada/Colombia Free Trade Deal: Meaningless Consultation Process Sells Human Rights Short

APGAPG member organizations have serious misgivings about the Canadian government’s commitment to carry out a meaningful assessment of the human rights impact of its controversial free trade agreement (FTA) with Colombia, as is legally stipulated by annual reporting requirements in the agreement. For months, APG member organizations have been asking government officials to share information about the plans for consultation. Just last week, APG member organizations learned that a call for submissions regarding the impacts of the FTA had been quietly posted on a government webpage, with an impossibly short deadline set for six working days later. As a result of this deeply flawed consultation process, APG member organizations have agreed that they are unable to meet the impossibly short deadline and will therefore not make submissions.

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Canada Must Call for Dialogue Amid Unrest in Venezuela

The Americas' Policy Group (APG) expresses deep concern regarding the disruption of democratic order in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, over the past two months, and the lack of clarity of Canada's position on this crisis.  The group calls upon the Canadian government to condemn foreign intervention in Venezuela's internal affairs via the funding and training of groups, as well as individuals seeking regime change through violence or other unconstitutional means, and to support dialogue as the only appropriate means of achieving peace and reconciliation in Venezuela. An Op Ed on the subject has been published in Embassy.

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The APWG at the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade

APWGDenis Côté, on behalf of the Asia-Pacific Working Group (APWG), appeared as witness before the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade on March 06. The Committee was conducting a "Study on security conditions and economic developments in the Asia-Pacific region, the implications for Canadian policy and interests in the region, and other related matters". The main points raised in APWG’s presentation were a reminder that Asia was not just a good place to do business but also a region facing serious development and human rights challenges; labour rights in Cambodia and Bangladesh; land grabbing (notably for agrofuels production) in Southeast Asia; and the need more generally to ensure that Canadian trade and investment agreements reinforce - rather than undermine - the capacities of states to meet their human rights obligations.

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2014-15 Pledge Drive for CCIC Working Groups!

The Asia Pacific Working Group, Africa Canada Forum and Americas Policy Group are largely self-financed. Their existence relies heavily on voluntary annual contributions of its members to sustain its activities. In the coming weeks, members will be receiving a request to make a pledge towards the 2014-2015 annual budgets of the working groups. If your organization is not currently a member of a CCIC working group and would like to join one of the working groups, please contact Denis Côté, Kimberly MacMillan or Stacey Gomez.

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New on CCIC blog

CCIC BlogFollowing up on the launch of a practical Guide for Canadian civil society organizations (CSOs) on how to integrate human rights into development programs, and the recent –quiet- publication by DFATD of guidance notes to help inform the Department’s assessment of external funding proposals in relation with two of three criteria of the ODA Accountability Act, CCIC policy analyst Fraser Reilly-King reflects on the importance of HRBA approaches in analyzing inequalities that lie at the heart of development problems. After attending a colloquium organized by AQOCI in Montreal: « Coopérer pour l’égalité entre les femmes et les hommes dans le monde : 30 ans de défis et de réalisations », Chris Chang-Yen Phillips from the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation shares some of his take aways from the two day discussions, one of them being how “combating discrimination, building equal educational opportunities, and addressing gender violence will take broad coalitions of people”. John Julian, Director of International Communications and Policyat the Canadian Cooperative Association and vice-chair of the CCIC Board, responds to recent critics around “voluntourism” and explains how giving young Canadians the opportunity to work in a developing country makes them better persons, better professionals and engaged individuals, willing to change to world for the better. And finally, the article “Unprotected – How Canadian aid got dropped despite Budget 2014” by Fraser Reilly-King is now available in French!

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Emerging Leaders Network

(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.)

The Emerging Leaders Network is a collaborative community, being led by young professionals within the aid and development sector, with the support of CCIC. The Network is focused on two distinct pieces of work. The first, creating and providing spaces for community building and professional development tailored specifically to young professionals within the sector. The second, developing ways to further integrate emerging voices into the sector and CCIC’s work.. As the network is peer-led, becoming a member also means contributing ideas, comments and directions to the projects being undertaken. To learn more about the network or get involved in planning the Emerging Leaders events at the upcoming CCIC Forum (May 13-15) please contact Guillaume Charbonneau or Kimberly MacMillan.

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MEMBER PROFILE: Micronutrient Initiative


A health worker doses a child with vitamin A during a Child Health event in Bangladesh
Credit to the Micronutrient Initiative

This month, CCIC met with the new Executive Director at the Micronutrient Initiative, Joel Spicer, who joined the organization in February. We talked about the Canadian roots and global outreach of MI, the importance of nutrition in development and the successful partnerships with local private actors...among other things!

CCIC - The Micronutrient Initiative (MI) occupies a unique and specialized niche in the Canadian international development sector; how would you describe it for our readers?

MI is a made-in-Canada organization with a multilateral approach. We are fortunate to have a strong Canadian identity, as well as a global reputation for high-impact results. Our purpose is to ensure that the world’s most vulnerable – especially women and children – in developing countries get the vitamins and minerals they need to survive and thrive. We work to encourage governments and donors to shine a brighter light on the importance of nutrition.  Nutrition provides a gateway into so many international development issues: health, food security, education and economic development to name just a few.

I think Canadians can take pride in the leadership that this country has shown in supporting global nutrition and MI has made a tangible contribution to this effort. We show real results at scale; while the organization is relatively small, only about 150 staff around the world with additional consultants in the field, our work touches the lives of almost 500 million people each year. We have a small footprint but are having a big impact.

We know that the fight against poverty cannot be won while entire generations are being born stunted, malnourished, and with their development potential impaired because they don’t have access to good nutrition.  Our focus is on nutrition, yet we work to ensure our efforts have impact in many areas: for example, child and maternal survival, health and economic development. The strongest part of any health system is a person’s immune system, as well as the resilience of the people across the health system. MI is working to strengthen both.

Read the full interview...

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Coady International Institute offers new courses in April 2014 focused on building resilient communities

CoadyCoady now has certificates in “Creating Just Food Systems” and “Leadership for Community Based Adaptation to Climate Change” under the theme of building resilient communities. Resilient communities are ones that are able draw on their own resources, assess future impacts and respond positively while simultaneously addressing issues of sustainability, inclusion and social justice. These two and a half week certificate courses give leaders the opportunity to share ideas and to exchange experiences with global peers, to benefit from the expertise and field experience of skilled facilitators and to gain insight and inspiration relevant action research. The course will also help develop practical tools and a critical understanding of the principles and methods discussed in the context of different world views, cultures and geographies. For full information about these and other courses please go to the online education page. Scholarships are available for candidates from the global South.

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The report on the Quebec Agency for International Solidarity is out!

Report on AQSIIn February 2013, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MRIFCE - Quebec) and Quebec Association of International Cooperation Organizations (AQOCI) created a committee mandated to consider what should constitute a Quebec International Solidarity Agency (Agence québécoise de solidarité internationaleAQSI). The report has recently been launched and includes recommendations about the structure, mandate and other issues related to such a project.

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New website on capacity development

New Website on Capacity DevelopmentThe Learning Agenda on Local Organization Capacity Development is a global research effort that informs the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) how to develop better partnerships with local organizations.

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New joint report by CIDSE and ACT Alliance on enabling environment

New report by CIDSE and ACT Alliance

In many parts of the world, the work of civil society is becoming increasingly dangerous. Civil society organizations (CSOs) speak out about social injustice and are often forced to put their own staff at risk to defend the human rights of others. Why? Because they believe that protecting the freedoms that constitute a democracy are worth fighting for. This report entitled Space for civil society - How to protect and expand an enabling environment looks at the situation in Colombia, Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Malawi.


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Migration as a strategy for household finance

Migration as a strategy for Household finance

This timely paper by the Centre for Global Development tries to fundamentally reframe the research agenda on remittances, payments, and development. Instead of viewing remittances as many researchers and governments do, as windfall income, this paper looks at remittances how families do, as returns on investment. Migration is, among other things, a strategy for financial management in poor households: location is an asset, migration an investment. Starting from this premise, the authors pose 12 new questions for researching the topic.

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Corporate Influence in the post-2015 process

Corporate influence in Post-2015 process

This working paper by Brot für die Welt, Global Policy Forum and Misereor provides an overview of the main corporate actors in the post-2015 process and how they shape the discourse on development. The paper advocates for more transparency around the participation of corporations in UN processes, including their financial support to UN initiatives, and for more reflection on the risks of a corporate, private interests-driven development agenda.


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The transformative potential of the right to food

In his final report to the UN Human Rights Council after a six-year term as Special Rapporteur, Olivier De Schutter calls for the world’s food systems to be radically and democratically redesigned – at the local, national and global level. The report also includes a summary of recommendations issued over the course of his mandate as Special Rapporteur (2008-2014), covering food price volatility, trade and investment in agriculture, regulating agribusiness, agrofuels, food aid and development cooperation, nutrition, social protection, women’s rights, Human Rights Impact Assessments, national strategies, agricultural workers, contract farming, small-holder farmers, agroecology, and the reinvestment in agriculture.

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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.