CCIC monthly e-bulletin: February 2015                    About CCIC     |     Contact Us
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How far have we come, baby?

Julia Sanchez

As we prepare to celebrate international women’s day 2015 in early March, it is befitting to reflect back on the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality – when 189 governments and 30,000 women activists met in 1995 at the Fourth World Conference on Women to agree on a blueprint for advancing women’s rights. How far have we come over the 20 years since this historic moment? What has been achieved? What gaps and challenges still remain? Have we backtracked on any fronts? How do we mobilize support to move this global agenda forward?

In short, though we have come a long way on many fronts, there still remains a lot to be done. Thanks in large part to the tireless struggle of women’s organizations and their allies, huge strides towards equality have been taken, especially in terms of girls’ education and maternal mortality. However, many hard-won gains for women are being threatened and eroded by fundamentalisms, austerity measures, climate change, and growing economic inequality.

Women still represent 70% of the world’s poor. Spending on gender in international development remains low, and has been declining since 2009. In 2013, only 3% of all aid dollars globally went to projects primarily aimed at advancing gender equality. Women’s organizations, and institutions such as UN Women, receive less than 0.3% of all official development assistance.

Historically, Canada has been a global leader in the field of gender equality, but our commitment appears to have waned. Only 1-2% of Canada’s aid budget has been allocated to programs that are specifically designed at advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment over the past 5 years, which is below the OECD donor average. Canada also has the greatest percentage of “gender blind” spending among the world’s top 10 humanitarian donors. In 2013, less than 1% of Canadian humanitarian funds specifically addressed gender issues, such as projects that respond to sexual violence in conflict.

In Canada, the lives of many women have improved, but inequality remains. While more women than ever graduate from university, enter new professions and run for public office, access to political leadership, economic opportunities and job security have seen less progress. Women earn 19% less than their male peers for the same work, are more likely to be poor, and do twice as much unpaid work at home. And violence against women remains unchecked.  Since 1980, more than 1,000 Aboriginal women and girls have been murdered or gone missing, and each day more than 8,000 women and children seek protection in shelters.

That is why we have two ongoing campaigns in the international development sector that place emphasis on these important questions and issues: the We Can Do Better 2015 and the Up for Debate campaigns. The Up for Debate Campaign, which was launched in the fall, is backed by an alliance of close to a hundred and forty groups working on women’s rights issue in Canada and internationally.  The campaign is focused on raising awareness about women’s rights in the lead up to the 2015 federal election. Up for Debate calls on all political parties to commit to a federal leaders’ debate on issues identified by women – the first in 30 years - and to make meaningful commitments to change women’s lives for the better, at home and abroad by ending violence against women, ending women’s economic inequality and supporting women’s leadership and organizations. Supporters are asked to send party leaders a clear message for International Women’s day by signing a petition calling on them to participate in a national debate on women’s issues before the next election. Thomas Mulcair and Elizabeth May have already agreed to participate in such a debate!

We Can Do Better 2015 is a multi-faceted campaign of the international development sector in Canada focused on greater Canadian leadership on the global scene, and more specifically around combating inequality, promoting women’s rights and gender equality, and stopping climate change. Our social media tools were launched in February, and our full website will be launched in March. For International women’s day we invite you to “express yourselfie” by posting a message with your picture on our Facebook or Twitter pages, telling us how you think we can do better in 2015 on women’s rights in Canada and abroad.

When global leaders meet in the fall of 2015 at the UN General Assembly to approve the new Sustainable Development Goals, Canada can build on its leadership around Maternal Newborn and Child Health and the pioneering work it has done on gender equality over the years. We can advocate for a more holistic approach to protecting and promoting all women’s rights and freedoms, and call on the international community to fill critical funding gaps. And we must, of course, lead by example to make this happen. We can do better in 2015!

In solidarity,


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



We Can Do Better 2015 : Join our campaign!

We Can Do Better 20152015 is going to be a big year for the international community and here in Canada: the UN General Assembly will adopt a new agenda for development, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Canadians will be called to participate in a federal election. The timing is good to reflect on what kind of leadership we want from Canada -and Canadians- in the world and at home, so that we can address some of the most pressing issues of our times. CCIC and its members have launched on February 5 the "We Can Do Better 2015" campaign, asking Canada to play a positive role in tackling inequality and human rights, climate change and environmental sustainability, and in promoting women's rights and gender equality. Hundreds of people are already active on social media to share their wish and suggestions on how we can do better! Join the movement by following the campaign on Facebook and Twitter, and by letting your MP know that you care about these issues! The website of the campaign will go live the second week of March and will provide tools and resources on how to get involved.

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New DFATD Partnership Policy for civil society received with enthusiasm

On February 5, at a breakfast event that formed part of CCIC’s Leaders’ Forum, the Honorable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and for La Francophonie, announced the launch of the “International Development and Humanitarian Assistance Civil Society Partnership Policy.” The announcement was met with resounding applause from the 100 leaders from Canada’s top international development and humanitarian organizations gathered at the Forum.  Highlights of the policy include the following: the recognition that civil society organizations (CSOs) are development actors in their own right with diverse roles and needs; the acknowledgment of the Istanbul Principles for CSO Development Effectiveness and humanitarian principles as the core principles that guide CSO work in development and humanitarian response; the commitment to establish diverse and predictable funding for CSOs, and to support public engagement; and the reaffirmation of the fundamental role that governments play in guaranteeing an enabling environment – in particular freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly - for CSOs in developing countries. The government has also agreed to review the policy with CSOs on an annual basis - essential to ensure its successful implementation. In the coming months, CCIC will be releasing a set of indicative milestones that will interpret how it envisages the policy being implemented.

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New multi-stakeholder Advisory Council to Development Minister announced

At the same event, Minister Christian Paradis also announced the establishment of an Advisory Council, a multi-stakeholder platform that will bring together representatives from civil society, the private sector and academia to advise the Minister on key development issues, including strategic directions and priorities, on the implications of the latest development research and practice for Canada’s development policy and programming, and on how to best engage Canadians on international development issues. “Dialogue is one of the three key pillars of an enabling environment for civil society groups to realize their full contribution to society”, said Julia Sanchez, President-CEO of CCIC. “We are very encouraged to see the commitment to institutionalize regular, predictable, and transparent policy dialogue with the sector – in particular today’s announcement of a new Advisory Council. Civil society groups have a lot to contribute given the depth and breadth of our experience on the ground. We look forward to seeing the Council take shape in the coming months.” CCIC is planning to submit to the government some ideas, drawn from best practice, that could guide the establishment and functioning of the Advisory Council.

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It's time to "Show your Love for CCIC"!

Show your LoveFebruary is typically known as the month of love...and for the second year, CCIC is reaching out to its supporters, fans, friends and followers, asking them to support the work of the organization by a financial contribution. As you may know, CCIC has been functioning for the past four years with a smaller but dynamic team, and relying mostly on generous member contributions -as well as a research grant from the International Development Research Centre- to carry on its works and diverse activities. In order to be sustainable, the organization needs to diversify and increase its donor base. If you like and appreciate the work that we do, show your love by making a donation! CCIC's team is thanking you in advance for your support.

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Less than 3 months until the CCIC/ CAIDP Conference !

Preparations for the International Cooperation Days 2015: Universal Goals, Canadian Challenges conference are underway! Taking place at the Palais des Congres in Gatineau, Quebec May 12-14th, this conference will provide a unique opportunity to bring together voices from across our sector to engage in critical discussions and share important insights, ideas and experiences. High level keynote speakers, workshops and networking opportunities await! More details to come shortly! We look forward to seeing you there!

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Upcoming workshop: Harnessing Development Data

This workshop is organized by the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs and CCIC.The goal of this interactive workshop is to determine where and how Canadian stakeholders, in particular representatives from Canadian civil society organizations (CSOs), are currently working with international development data, and where they would like to go next. It will be kicked-off by a panel discussing and illustrating what their respective organizations have been doing in terms of engaging with open aid data and development data more broadly. NPSIA will showcase how the (re-developed) is leveraging open aid data, and CCIC will showcase what their sister organization, InterAction, is doing through its NGO Aid Map as a potential model for updating CCIC’s own “Who’s who Directory”. The event will take place on March 31st (venue to be confirmed). For more information, you may contact Aniket Bhushan, Shannon Kindornay, or Fraser Reilly-King.

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A second life for the North-South Institute

North South InstituteGood news for the international development sector, both at home and abroad: six months after having to close its doors because of funding cuts, the new board of the North-South Institute has announced on February 20 the revival of the institute, thanks to a special agreement with the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA), at Carleton University. The NSI will be located at NPSIA with provisions for maintaining its independence while building on the complementarities, so that both organizations will become more effective in advancing their missions. The NSI’s mission will remain the same. Since its founding in 1976, the NSI has operated under the banner of “Research for a Fairer World”. As its plans for revival consolidate, the NSI will return to its research work as the basis for analyzing economic, social and political implications of global change in order to provide Canadians and others with advice on policy alternatives to promote global development and justice.

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CCIC welcomes Elissa Golberg, ADM for Partnerships for Development Innovation

On February 2nd Elissa Golberg began her role as Assistant Deputy Minister for Partnership for Development Innovation, previously held by Paul Samson. Most recently Elissa served as the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations and Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. CCIC was thrilled to formally welcome Elissa at its recent Leaders' Forum Breakfast with Minister Paradis and looks forward to working closely together.

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APG addresses MPs and Senators headed to Colombia

APGCCIC’s Americas Policy Group wrote a letter to four MPs and Senators traveling to Colombia in February as members of the Canadian Section of ParlAmericas. APG shared concerns from its partners on the ground, and urged Canadian officials to bring them up with their Colombian counterparts. Concerns included death threats against human rights defenders, the emergency situation for indigenous peoples, the land restitution process, the deepening of the peace process, and the connections between trade, investment and human rights abuses.

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APG laments missed opportunity to talk about human rights in Mexico

The APG penned an op-ed in Embassy upon hearing of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s decision to delay the North American Leaders’ Summit, originally set to occur in Ottawa this month. Postponement of the Summit allows Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto to avoid a forum in which he could be questioned about the human rights crisis that is rocking his administration. On Sept. 26, 2014, six students from Ayotzinapa were killed, and 43 were forcibly disappeared. This event and the bungled investigation that has followed illustrate disturbing levels of collusion between elected officials, public security forces and organized crime in Mexico.

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The Asia-Pacific Working Group (APWG) creates country-specific discussion groups

APWGFollowing a members meeting held in January, the APWG decided to increase its support towards country-specific discussion groups. Thus it recently created sub-groups on Afghanistan, Indonesia and the Philippines. These sub-groups are led by members and supported by the coordinator. They are spaces meant to allow members to share information, organize learning activities, and engage in policy discussions on specific countries. Additional country groups may be created in the future based on the interest of members. For more information, contact Denis Côté (coordinator of th APWG).

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New blog on international development in Huffington Post Canada

The Huffington Post Canada will soon host a new blog on international development and other global issues, in partnership with CCIC. This new blog called "Development Unplugged" is meant to replace, and build on the success of, the previous blog on Aid and Development that ran in the Ottawa Citizen from March 2013 to June 2014. The blog will provide a virtual space where practitioners, researchers, and academics can share commentary, reflections and lessons learned. It aims to be a platform for cutting edge thinking and debate on the global issues and challenges of our time. The blog will be launched late February/early March. For more information and if you would like to submit an article, please contact Chantal Havard.

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Financing for development

Financing for DevelopmentThe implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, which are expected to be adopted at a UN Summit in September 2015, will require substantial financing. And so the discussions regarding the means of implementation of the post-2015 development agenda have started in anticipation of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3), which will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in July 2015. The first drafting session of the Conference outcome document was held on 27-29 January and led to discussions between UN member states of an "Elements Paper" circulated by the co-facilitators. The feedback received will inform the zero draft that is expected to be released by the end of February. Two more drafting sessions will be held in April and June, leading up to the Conference in July.

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Coalition Profile: Common Frontiers

(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.)

Common Frontiers

Common Frontiers is a Working Group of 13 organizational members (labour, human rights, environmental, church, development and economic and social justice organizations) from across Canada. As a coalition, Common Frontiers confronts, and proposes an alternative to, the social, environmental and economic effects of economic integration in the Americas. It does this in three ways : by challenging, through education and popular mobilization, the interests dominant powers to take advantage of the current economic crisis; by working with popular movements in the Americas to stop bi-lateral and multi-lateral ‘free trade’ agreements, all the while developing peoples’ alternatives with respect to trade, decent jobs, climate change, and resource extraction; and by collaborating with like-minded coalitions/ networks in Canada to counter the Canadian Government's neo-liberal agenda for the Americas; and finally, by supporting the Hemispheric Social Alliance and its initiatives for social, economic, cultural and environmental change in the Americas. In North America, it works actively with the Mexican Action Network on Free Trade (RMALC), Mexico and the US Alliance for Responsible Trade (ART). It is also the Canadian representative in the Hemispheric Social Alliance. CCIC participates in Common Frontiers through its Americas Policy Group. The two networks have recently worked together on issues related to trade, investment and human rights in Colombia and Honduras.

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MEMBER PROFILE: Amnesty International Canada


Alex Neve, at La Puya resistance camp in Guatemala in September 2014. Amnesty International has been working to expose and address human rights violations associated with mining in Guatemala.

This month, CCIC met with Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. Alex talked about why advancing women’s rights is crucial to Amnesty International Canada’s work, described their current campaign Stop Torture, and shared Amnesty’s view of the role of universality in the pursuit of social justice and human rights... among other things!


CCIC: As you know 2015 is a landmark year for women's rights and gender equality with the twentieth anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. We will also be celebrating International Women's Day on March 8th. How important is prioritizing and advancing women's rights to Amnesty International Canada's work?

Work to promote the protection of women’s human rights is a central priority for Amnesty International in Canada and around the world, and has been for many years.  That is reflective of the disgraceful fact that across the globe the full range of women’s and girls’ rights are gravely and cavalierly violated with astonishing frequency, distressing breadth and total impunity, every single day.  Amnesty International has, in fact, prioritized this work over the past ten years through two major global campaigns, a previous campaign to Stop Violence against Women and the current My Body, My Rights campaign focused on upholding sexual and reproductive rights.  Among the many ways that we take up the struggle for women’s human rights, one very important area of work for us is to do everything we can to ensure the safety of women’s human rights defenders, who strive to expose, campaign against, and mobilize in the face of violations of the rights of women and girls locally, nationally and internationally.  Human rights defenders face challenges and perils in their work in countries around the world.  The challenges and perils for women and girls defending human rights are almost always that much greater...

Read the full interview...

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Campaign Heart your Parts – Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights

Campaign Heart your PartsAction Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, in partnership with the Canadian Public Health Association, took the lead on this year’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Week (SRH Week). This year’s campaign took place from February 9th to 13th and built on the 2013 and 2014 theme Heart Your Parts. A new online sexual health information hub was also launched. The hub includes information that ranges from preventing unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections to consent and caring for yourself and your relationships, among other sexual health related topics.

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Petition – Saudi Arabia: Free blogger sentenced to flogging – Amnesty International

Petition to free BloggerAmnesty launched a petition asking His Excellency Naif Bandir A. Alsudairy, Ambassador of Saudi Arabia, to drop all charges against Raif Badawi, and release him without delay or conditions on his freedom. Authorities arrested Raif Badawi on 17 June 2012. They charged him with insulting Islam and creating the “Saudi Arabian Liberals” website for social and political debate. The charges related to articles Raif wrote criticizing religious figures. Raif Badawi’s case bounced back and forth between courts until 7 May 2014. On that day, the Criminal Court pronounced a sentence of 10 years in prison, 1000 lashes and a fine of 1 million riyals (about $290,000 CDN).

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Write for a Better World – World Literacy Canada

Write a Better World

World Literay Canada launched its national writing contest Write for a Better World open to students in grades 5 to 8. The contest invites students to write an original story describing what happens next in 400 words or less: “Something strange was happening to the mirror on the back of my bedroom door. My image looked shimmery, not quite like me. I touched my fingers to the smooth surface and felt a strange tingling. I jerked my hand away. And I was no longer at home.” What happens next? That’s up to you! The submission deadline is April 3rd.

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Canada 2030: An Agenda for Sustainable Development​

The SDGs, to be announced in September this year, will replace the MDGs and serve as a universal framework for achieving sustainable development outcomes in all countries by 2030, including Canada. In this context, Canada 2030 takes an in-depth look what the SDGs could mean for Canada.

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The Impact of Bill C-51 on Charities and Not for Profits

The federal government unveiled its wide-sweeping new anti-terrorism legislation on January 30, 2015. In addition to introducing two new pieces of legislation, Bill C-51, short-titled the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015, enhances the powers given to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (“CSIS”) “to address threats to the security of Canada”. The Carter’s brief focuses on the Bill’s impact on charities and not for profits and the individuals who are on their boards of directors, officers, or serve as employees or volunteers of such organizations.

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World Report 2015 – Human Rights Watch

World Report 2015



World Report 2015 is Human Rights Watch’s 25th annual review of human rights practices around the globe. It summarizes key human rights issues in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide.



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Global Nutrition Report 2014

Global Nutrition Report 2014


The first-ever Global Nutrition Report provides a comprehensive narrative and analysis on the state of the world’s nutrition. You may also find more information about the report’s findings through a data and visualization platform, video, infographic and many global events!



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Adapting Development: Improving Services for the Poor

A new report was published by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), titled “Adapting development: improving services to the poor”, which identifies tools and practices that could transform our ability to deliver services to the world's poorest people in the post-2015 context.

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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.