February 4-5 2015
Save the Date: CCIC Annual Conference
May 12-14, 2015
Palais des Congres, Gatineau, Quebec
For more information, please contact Michelle Bested
Biannual APG Meeting April 15-16
Kama Reading Series 2014 – World Literacy Canada
January 29-May 28, 2015
International Development Week
February 1-7, 2015
Les rapports de pouvoir dans les relations inter-organisationnelles en coopération internationale : histoire des acquis, risques et défis dans le contexte canadien actuel
March 19, 2015
3rd International Open Data Conference
May 27-29, 2015
CASID Annual Conference 2015 - Call for Papers /Panel Proposals
June 3-5, 2015
Inside the takedowns of AusAID and CIDA
January 15, 2015
2015 is an important year in the international development arena because the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are set to expire and the process to determine what new development framework will replace them will culminate at the UN General Assembly in the fall. As negotiations around the new framework begin at the UN this month, expectations are high and a significantly more complex and ambitious agenda is the starting point. This agenda has been crafted by a long series of consultations, conferences, discussions, high level panels, working groups and more. Civil society has participated in multiple ways, as have other stakeholders. And the outcome so far is a set of goals, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), that make a serious attempt at addressing some of the most pressing challenges of our times, and their root causes too.
One of the most notable achievements of the process leading up to the SDGs has already marked an important change in the way we discuss development and sustainability - by bringing together two streams that over the past 20 years have been working on parallel tracks, that of social and economic development with that of environmental protection and climate change. The SDGs bring together both sets of objectives - resulting in a much more comprehensive and extensive list of goals for the next 15 years. This is also significant since in December of 2015 global leaders will meet once again to try and conclude a fair, ambitious, and legally binding agreement to avert catastrophic climate change.
But that is not all. 2015 is also the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action on women's rights, and therefore an important moment to pause and refocus on gaining commitments for the full implementation of women's rights. The timing could not be better - as we are seeing a backsliding in key aspects of women's rights around the world.
Other momentous events in 2015 include the renewal of the Hyogo Framework for Action on resilience of nations and communities to natural disasters, and more.
In Canada, we are gearing up for a federal election in the fall of 2015. What a great opportunity to elect parliamentarians committed to raising Canada's profile on the world stage at such a critical time! And this is where we come in - to connect all these dots and create a buzz through our collective force and make Canada's leadership role on the global scene, and especially around the SDGs, an electoral issue.
Canada has not been playing the leadership role that the world has come to expect of us on several key fronts of late. We have let our partners down and our reputation has taken a hit. But we know we can and should do better than that. So we have constructed a campaign to mobilize our supporters and generate a buzz at the local and national levels that politicians will not be able to ignore. Imagine the force that our sector represents - with the millions of supporters that we have across the country. These are people who care about global issues and who will want to make it known that they care and that they want to see our country do better.
So what is the campaign called? We Can Do Better 2015! Canadians can do better, civil society groups can do better, and our government can do better. Let’s join forces to send out a clear and loud message to decision makers that our supporters know that we can do better and expect us too.
After a little over a year of workshops, conferences and consultations with our members, we have come up with three main issues on which we can do better: inequality and human rights; climate change and environmental sustainability; and women's rights and gender equality. Our campaign will focus on these three issues while inviting our members and their supporters to customize the campaign asks to their particular areas of interest and expertise. Given the universal nature of the new global goals, we will also join forces with domestic groups working on these issues in Canada, to connect the dots between global and local challenges.
The official launch of our campaign will take place on Feb 5th during International Development Week. 100 sectoral leaders will gather in Ottawa to share their expectations for Canada's leadership on the post-2015 agenda, and many more will join their voices to this collective ask from across the country. We will use social media, events on the hill, traditional media and local events to let it be known that Canadians do care about global issues and that we want to see Canada do better in 2015!
Join WeCanDoBetter2015 Facebook page, follow us on Twitter and help us generate a buzz! The campaign’s website www.wecandobetter2015.ca will be available on February 4th! Stay tuned for more in this space over the coming months!
Do you have any reactions to this column? I’d like to hear from you! Please send any comments to Julia Sanchez.
A growing number of events and reports point to the fact that civil society organizations in Canada are facing a stricter, more complex environment lately, with increased scrutiny and legal constraints from the federal government. Some of these limitations have been documented in the 2014 report of UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, where Canada is mentioned a few times. Montreal-based NGO Alternatives is facing a possible revokation of its charitable status after a controversial audit conducted by the CRA, which concluded that the organization should have never been granted with charitable status. Finally, in its latest case study, Voices-Voix profiled Oxfam Canada: like all federal non-profits and charities, Oxfam was required to file articles of continuance to comply with the federal Not for Profit Act. While reviewing Oxfam's submission, the charities directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) told Oxfam that in order to keep its charitable status, Oxfam could work to “alleviate” poverty but not “prevent” it. Robert Fox, who was Executive Director of Oxfam in 2014 at the time of these exchanges, described the discussions with CRA over Oxfam's mission statement as “absurd.”
Ever wondered what value working in coalition can bring to your work? Or what coalitions actually exist in Canada? Or what international issues they are focsing on? In mid-January, CCIC launched a new report, “The Coalition Landscape” (and Executive Summary) that profiles the landscape of 28 coaltions operating in Canada, providing an assessment of their changing memberships, mandates, governance structures, who they are collaborating with, how they are funded, and what issues they are looking to address in the future. Using a similar study done in 2011 as baseline, the report also identifies potential areas of overlap between the diferent coalitions, thematic gaps that needs addressing, and emerging areas of concern – ending by pondering some of the implications of the findings for CCIC.. The provisional findings were presented at a November 2014 conference, which convened 25 coalition leaders to discuss the report’s implications for their work. A Keynote speech by coalition expert, Jared Raynor, and presentation of the report’s findings by the Report’s author, Jared Klassen, are also available.
The Steering Committee of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation met this month in The Hague, Netherlands. Among other things, the Steering Committee discussed the results of a survey of members conducted in October. The survey suggested the GPEDC sharpen its focus and broaden its outreach. In terms of mandate, it should 1) prioritize implementing the aid and development effectiveness principles of Busan; 2) clarify how the Building Blocks and Voluntary Initiatives, which emerged from Busan and Mexico, would feed into the work of the GPEDC; and, 3) bring its inclusive multi-stakeholder model, its ability to connect country approaches to national discussions, and its focus on accountability and knowledge-sharing, to the post-2015 discussions. While civil society welcomes all three of these directions, in particular in terms of focusing the mandate of the GPEDC and bringing the core principles of Busan to the post-2015 debates, it underscored the still shrinking space for civil society, the need to address growing global inequalities, and the primacy of fulfilling the still unmet commitments of Paris, Accra and Busan – for example, in terms of untying aid, persistent aid fragmentation, and mixed levels of country ownership. The Steering Committee also discussed proposed areas of thematic focus and how to strengthen its global monitoring framework.
After eight years at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), Acting Assistant Deputy Minister of Partnerships for Development Innovation Brach, Paul Samson, will be leaving DFATD for a new position at Finance Canada. He will be replaced by Elissa Goldberg, currently Canadian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva and the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, on February 2. She has worked on a range of peace and security issues since 1996, including in Afghanistan.
Become a member of CCIC’s Regional Working Groups and be part of a national network of civil society organizations committed to development, social justice and human rights in Africa, the Americas, or Asia-Pacific! CCIC’s three regional working groups (the Africa-Canada Forum, the Americas Policy Group and the Asia-Pacific Working Group), have prepared a document outlining the benefits of becoming a working group member, with details on how organizations can become members and participate in the working groups. Click here to learn more.
CCIC’s Americas Policy Group recently wrote a letter to Minister John Baird about the human rights crisis in Mexico, where there are still no clear answers about the 43 students who disappeared in September. APG expressed its concern around the Canadian government’s silence and inaction to date and recommended measures that could contribute to a more constructive Canadian response to the situation. The Three Amigos Summit, which was to be held in Ottawa in February, would have been a good opportunity for Canada to raise human rights concerns with Mexican President Peña Nieto and press for solutions. However, Canada recently postponed the Summit, amid tensions over the Keystone XL pipeline and other issues. Civil society is urging Canada to speak up now about the human rights situation in Mexico and not let delay of the Summit be an excuse for continued silence on these issues.
The Africa-Canada Forum has released a report outlining for its annual colloquium on “Building Partnerships to tackle Inequality: opportunities and challenges for African and Canadian CSOs”, on October 14-15, 2014.
APWG members met in Ottawa on January 22 to discuss the priorities of the working group and plan the activities for year ahead. Members also discussed the CCIC post-2015 campaign and the joint working group research on investment treaties and human rights. The notes from the meeting will be circulated to members shortly. For more information, please contact Denis Côté.
The APWG and World Vision Canada collaborated to hold an event where three panelists presented their views on child marriage and other children’s issues in Nepal; and child sponsorship as a child protection tool, using India as a case study. A total of 65 people attended the event, which was held at World Vision’s office in Mississauga and made available online via Webex. The event was recorded and you can watch it here. You can also see pictures of the event on CCIC’s Flickr page. To receive the summary notes of the event, please contact Denis Côté.
15 Proposals for Canadian Foreign Aid is an interesting and thought provoking article by Ottawa U. professor Stephen Brown. It was re-posted on CCIC’s blog, both in French and English. Increasing the ODA budget and getting rid of priority themes for Canadian aid are part of the suggested changes. Organizations and individuals interested in publishing an article in CCIC’s blog can contact Chantal Havard.
(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.)
WASH Canada was launched in 2012 to strengthen the Canadian voice and impact on the global water and sanitation crisis. At present, it brings together 40 Canadian partners working on international water, sanitation and hygiene, including innovators, researchers, implementers, funders and experts. To achieve this, it works on five key fronts: 1) raising awareness around water, sanitation and hygiene in Canada; 2) growing a network for action; 3) undertaking unique research on the Canadian WASH landscape and our collective spend on WASH activities, including how much the Federal government allocates to WASH; 4) providing a platform to collaborate and share knowledge and new ideas; and, 5) advocating together and taking action! CCIC periodically participates in WASH Canada activities.
This month, CCIC met with Melissa Matlow, Legislative and Public Affairs Manager. Melissa discussed the organization’s mandate and work, the importance of its programing “Animals in disasters” within humanitarian assistance and international development programming more generally, the “rebranding” process and plans for the upcoming year ... among other things!
CCIC: World Animal Protection has existed globally for more than 50 years, as a leader in the field of animal welfare. For those who are unfamiliar with the organization, could you introduce us to its work and mandate.?
World Animal Protection (formerly World Society for the Protection of Animals - WSPA) is an international animal welfare organization with 15 offices around the world.
For more than 50 years and in more than 50 countries we have been preventing animal cruelty and inspiring people to change animals’ lives for the better. Today we’re working on projects with local partners, governments and businesses to find practical ways to prevent animal suffering worldwide. We also collaborate with the UN and other international bodies to make sure animals are on the global agenda because animal protection is a fundamental part of a sustainable future.
While our mandate is to reduce animal suffering, it is very much linked to the mandates of humanitarian and development NGOs because helping animals, helps people.
On November 11th, Inter Pares launched a special Peace campaign. The campaign highlighted and built essential support for the work of their counterparts around the world working to create a more peaceful world. Inter Pares' Peace campaign raised $44,467 in just a few weeks - very close to their $50,000 goal! Since November, Inter Pares has also shared a video series related to the peacebuilding work of their counterparts.
Since 2009, Canada has taken a leadership role in global food security, launching a Food Security Strategy for developing countries that prioritizes sustainable agricultural development, nutrition and food assistance. Canada’s commitment to nutrition and food assistance has remained strong, but support for agriculture is falling. Canadian Foodgrains Bank invites you to send a personal letter to your Member of Parliament encouraging the Canadian government to invest in smallholder agriculture in developing countries.
Save the Children is delighted to announce that Street Kids International – a leading organization committed to empowering youth – will become part of Save the Children Canada. Together, the organizations are confident that they will have a stronger, positive impact on children and youth.
As negotiations gear up around the Third UN Conference on Financing for Development – a key contribution to the future Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – the Overseas Development Institute has produce a “Rough Roadmap” to financing the SDGs. It considers the three main sources of global development finance, the cost and resourcing of the SDGs, bottlenecks and challenges, and a set of recommendations. Key reading for anyone trying to follow the conversation.
The OECD continues its series of publications that draw on the lessons learned from past Peer Reviews of donors, this time on communication and public engagement. The booklet stresses the importance of strategic partnerships with civil society and other actors in order to raise awareness about development co-operation, and sketches out challenges donors continue to face as they move toward more strategic, effective and innovative engagement with citizens and taxpayers on development co-operation.
The report of the workshop “Civil Society: Dissent, Democracy, & the Law” was recently published and examines connections between the recent experiences of those working in Canadian CSOs and the broader societal contexts to help develop responses to the challenges facing civil society in Canada. The workshop was convened by the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) and the Voices-Voix coalition at McGill University on October 23, 2013. The workshop aimed to create a forum and an opportunity for civil society leaders, practitioners, and members of the academy to discuss, theorize and strategize new and emerging challenges to civil society in Canada and to understand these challenges in a global context.
UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association, Maina Kiai, released his mandate’s first ever year-end report, reviewing the events of 2014 from Ukraine to Egypt to the United States to Kenya. The report notes that 2014 proved to be a year of monumental developments in these two key freedoms, although rarely positive - .from popular protests and restrictive laws, to attacks and harassment of civil society. Canada gets three mentions, including on the audits being conducted by the Canada Revenue Agency, one on indigenous peoples and one on the coalition Voices!
To follow-up on the outcomes of Busan, and the commitment made by civil society to implement the Istanbul Principles, the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness has designed a survey to help organizations self-assess and evaluate their work vis-a-vis the Istanbul Principles. The information that will be gathered from the survey will be used by a Working Group of the CPDE to identify the progress of organizations in dealing with the Principles, and learn from their experiences to better plan future actions and initiatives on CSO DE.
The animated video narrated by Ed Broadbent, based on a landmark survey the Broadbent Institute commissioned on perceptions of wealth distribution in Canada, shows just how Canadians underestimate wealth equality -- and how much they want a shared prosperity.
A new GlobeScan poll shows increases in perceived seriousness of poverty and homelessness. The GlobeScan poll of 24,000 citizens across 24 countries, including Canada, shows the abiding strength of people’s concerns about poverty and their perceptions of economic unfairness. Poverty and homelessness continue as top-tier concerns with majorities in 15 of the 24 countries polled, including Canada, seeing these as a very serious problem (an average of over 80 percent see it at least as somewhat serious).
Over the next couple of months, the Global Development Professionals Network (GDPN) will be crowdsourcing a map of NGOs working in developing countries. If you’re part of a development organisation, you may be added to the map by filling in this form. The GDPN wants to reach out to more organisations to write for them and to join their live Q&As. Long term, the GDPN also wants this to be a non-comprehensive resource for NGOs - somewhere you can go to look for other groups working in your field when you want to collaborate.
A new book entitled Rethinking Canadian Aid edited by Stephen Brown, Molly den Heyer and David R. Black has been published by the University of Ottawa Press. The PDF of entire book can be downloaded for free by clicking here!
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.
Canadian Council for International Co-operation