CCIC monthly e-bulletin: March 2015                    About CCIC     |     Contact Us
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MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT-CEO

Getting it right on the environment and climate is key to ensuring a sustainable future

Julia Sanchez

As we take note of the confluence of key moments in 2015 which make this such a pivotal year for international cooperation and for getting on the right path for a sustainable world, it is important to underscore the importance of the coming together of two streams of work at the global level, which were for the last 20 years dealt with separately – the socio-economic development stream, which gave us the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) amongst other, and the environmental /climate change stream, which came out of the 1995 Rio summit and materialized through the climate, bio-diversity and other processes.

One of the promising features of the current process around the post-2015 development framework is that it makes a serious attempt to bring these two streams together, recognizing that in order to ensure a sustainable future we need to get the environment and climate pieces right. So appropriately, the goals that are being prepared to replace the MDGs are called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and tackle environmental and climate issues head-on, as opposed to treating them as a side feature.

The convergence of these two agendas, until now kept pretty much on separate parallel tracks, also makes sense given the other ambitions of the post-2015 framework, such as tackling root or structural causes of poverty and underdevelopment, and also highlighting the universality of the whole development effort. Climate change is both: a root cause of poverty and structural barrier to sustainable development, and an issue that can only be tackled with a global or universal view of development.

And why are we finally at a place where we can make a real difference in ensuring a truly sustainable future for the planet and its people? Because the science is clear – both the damage that we humans are exerting on the planet’s ecological systems is undeniable and its consequences on global society are clear. The current degradation of over 60% of our ecosystems, and the impacts this is having on people around the globe, but especially on the most marginal and vulnerable, including poor women and children, is well documented and alarming. And they are of course the ones with less capacity and resources to respond.

The fact that 20% of the wealthiest people in the world are consuming 80% of natural resources is testament also to the growing and unjust inequality that poses the largest challenge to a sustainable future. We cannot afford to continue on the path we are currently on. But, thankfully, we know what has to be done to get us off this unsustainable pattern of consumption and production. We have the technology and we have the resources to strengthen economic performance and tackle poverty, while reducing carbon emissions and the risks associated with climate change.

2015 will call upon the political will and visionary leadership of all nations to act decisively on this front at a couple of key moments. First, during the negotiations that are currently underway in the UN on the next set of development goals, where we need Canada and other countries to insist that a) all goals take into account the environment as essential for sustainable outcomes, and b) that we maintain a stand-alone goal on climate change given its centrality to ensuring a sustainable and inclusive future. Second, in December, world leaders will come together in Paris to agree on what needs to be a fair, ambitious and legally binding agreement to reduce carbon emissions and address adaptation issues in the developing world.

Canada needs to step up to the plate in these two global processes. And to do that we need to address the related environmental challenges we have created at home. We have our work cut out for us, because our record over recent years has become increasingly dismal, both abroad and at home. CCIC’s campaign “WeCanDoBetter2015” invites all of us (individuals, organizations, and decision-makers) to take up the challenges that this year presents and show the leadership that the world expects from us. We need to speak louder and clearer to our representatives in government so that they hear, without any doubt, that we expect them to turn Canada’s position around and contribute decisively to a more sustainable world for all.

In solidarity,

Julia

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

Séparateur

NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN THE SECTOR

Update on the UN process around post-2015

The official intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development framework have begun - and are actually well under way. Indeed, three formal negotiating sessions have already taken place: a stocktaking session in January, a session on the declaration in February, and a session on the goals and targets in March. And one thing that most people seem to agree about at this point is that the 17 goals and 169 targets included in the Outcome Document of the Open Working Group will essentially not be reopened for discussion and will constitute the backbone of the new framework. This has shifted the discussions and negotiations to one about indicators. The UN Statistical Commission has laid out a roadmap for developing these indicators by March 2016, in consultation with national statistical commissions. But some governments want this done sooner, with indicators included in the final framework. Next up negotiations on the Financing for Development outcome document and a session on means of implementation and monitoring and review. For more information and updates on the process, on the state of play, and on Canadian positions and priorities, you can download the third iteration of the CCIC backgrounder on post-2015, which was revised this month.

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Early bird registration for CCIC/ CAIDP Conference opening soon!

What do an indigenous leader from the Amazon, an Assistant Secretary-General at the UN and an economist from UNIFOR have in common? Find out by logging onto the International Cooperation Days website (www.icd-jci.com) on April 1st, to see highlights of the upcoming conference and to register.

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Launch of the Alternative Federal Budget report

Alternative Federal BudgetA few weeks ahead of an anticipated April Federal Budget, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released the 2015 Alternative Federal Budget, under the title, “Delivering the Good”. The AFB report demonstrates that the federal government’s continued obsession with austerity and balancing the budget comes at the cost of higher household debt, fewer services, and weakened job growth. The AFB proposes an economic action plan, with the means to deliver it, which would lift 893,000 Canadians out of poverty, reduce income inequality, boost economic growth, and create or sustain 300,000 jobs a year, bringing Canada’s employment rate back to its pre-recession level. As in previous years, CCIC produced the chapter on International Development alongside 20 other thematic chapters. The chapter calls on Canada to do four things: 1) increase and accelerate Canadian aid commitments to address the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals and fast track progress towards the SDGs; 2) to use this aid where it is most needed – targeting the poorest and most marginalized, women’s equality and empowerment, and climate change adaptation and mitigation; 3) to generate a forward looking action plan on aid and development effectiveness and a framework to ensure broader Canadian policies are coherent with Canadian development objectives, including international human rights standards; and 4) to echo efforts abroad, with robust action around domestic poverty.

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APG participates in DFATD consultation on Summit of the Americas

APGThe 2015 Summit of the Americas will take place in Panama on April 10-11, 2015 and gather all 35 countries of the hemisphere. Instead of a traditional declaration, the Panamanian government has proposed that leaders adopt a “Mandates for Action” document, describing specific joint actions that OAS countries will take on pre-determined themes such as Education, Health and Energy. On March 2nd, APG members participated in a consultation and information sharing session with DFATD in preparation for the Summit. Although it was challenging to provide relevant input given the advanced state of the negotiations and the focus on specific mandates of action, APG members appreciated the opportunity to engage with DFATD.

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CCIC Regional working groups to host consultation on investment treaties and human rights

On April 13th, CCIC's 3 regional working groups are organizing a full-day consultation on international investment agreements, the arbitration process and human rights. The event will be an opportunity to provide feedback on the recommendations outlined in a collaborative report by the 3 working groups on the imbalance between investor rights and human rights in international investment agreements (IIAs) and the investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) process.

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Government appoints New Extractive Counsellor

Just ahead of the start of the Prospectors and Developers Association Annual Convention, Trade Minister Ed Fast announced the appointment of Canada’s new Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Counsellor for the Extractive Sector, Jeffrey Davidson. Mr. Davidson has worked in the Mining Unit of the World Bank, for Rio Tinto, and most recently teaching in the Mining Department at Queens University. The position was created in 2009 as part of the government’s first Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy. The position has been vacant, however, since October 2013, when Market Evans quietly resigned after four years on the job, having been unable to resolve any disputes. In November 2014, the government launched an enhanced strategy, Doing Business the Canadian Way: A Strategy to Advance Corporate Social Responsibility in Canada’s Extractive Sector Abroad. Under the new strategy, the CSR Counselor is expected to prevent, identify and resolve disputes with extractive companies in their early stages and to work with Canadian companies to ensure CSR guidelines are incorporated into their operations. Both the government's strategy and the Counsellor's mandate have been criticized by some stakeholders, for lacking teeth and concrete measures to address the complaints of communities who believe they have been negatively affected by Canadian mining activities.

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UN Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

Mid-March brought together member states in Sendai, Japan, for the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), where they assessed progress on, and lessons from, the 2005-2015 Hyogo Framework for Action and adopted the new Sendai Framework for DRR. After 30 hours of negotiations, 187 governments agreed to this “people-centred preventive” framework, which will pave the way for DRR responses from the local to international for the next 15 years The framework includes a concrete goal and seven global targets – a shortfall of Hyogo – including reductions in global disaster mortality and direct disaster economic loss, and an increase in the number of countries with national and local DRR strategies. The framework also lays out a range of guiding principles and four priorities for action to inform national and local action plans – understanding disaster risk, strengthening DRR governance to manage risk, investing in DRR for resilience, and enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response (“Build back better”). The biggest disappointment was perhaps the lack of financial commitments made to help implement the framework. For Hyogo, many countries fall well short of the 10% of humanitarian aid and 30% of climate change adaptation funding targets for DRR. Sendai may repeat that trend. Ahead of the meeting, CCIC joined other national platforms in a statement asking Sendai to 1) engage more local authorities in risk management, 2) adopt a better monitoring framework with national targets, local indicators and clear roles and responsibilities, and, 3) integrate DRR more comprehensively across the humanitarian, development and climate sectors.

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Coalition Profile: Trade and Investment Research Project (TIRP)

(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 Trade and Investment Research Project (TIRP) is an independently funded project formed in 1999 and administered by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). TIRP pools the trade policy research resources and expertise of Canadian non-governmental organizations from a variety of sectors and produces expert research on a wide range of important trade and investment policy issues. TIRP’s research assists member organizations, like the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC), in participating in public debate and decision-making about the impacts of Canada’s international trade and investment obligations, ongoing international negotiations and alternatives. TIRP has gained a national and international reputation for rigorous, accessible studies critical of corporate-driven globalization and for its commitment to exploring practical alternatives. For example, last January, TIRP published an analysis of investor-state disputes under NAFTA Chapter 11 entitled  Democracy Under Challenge: Canada and Two Decades of NAFTA's Investor-State Dispute Settlement Mechanism, which explores why Canada has been sued more times than either Mexico or the U.S. under NAFTA and why this problem is getting worse.

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MEMBER PROFILE: Inter Pares

Micronutrient

Inter Pares Executive Director Rita Morbia (right) with Khushi Kabir, founder of Nijera Kori, an Inter Pares long-term counterpart in Bangladesh. Credit: Natalie McMullen.

This month CCIC met with Rita Morbia, Executive Director at Inter Pares. Rita talked about the 40th anniversary of Inter Pares and the changing context for international solidarity organizations, as well as some programs that are at the heart of the organization's work....among other things!

 

CCIC: What would you say distinguishes Inter Pares from other Canadian organizations working in international development?

What distinguishes us is captured in our name Inter Pares, which means among equals. We believe that social change is best achieved when we work collaboratively and as equals with groups or activists here in Canada and around the world.

We also distinguish ourselves by being a feminist organisation. Our work is predicated on the understanding that there are power imbalances between men and women and recognizes other disparities in the world based on, for example, North and South, socioeconomic class, and race. Having a feminist lens that guides our work helps us more thoughtfully address these inequalities, and influences the way we interact with counterpart organizations and colleagues.

We do not have overseas offices but collaborate with counterpart organizations that share our feminist analysis and that are deeply engaged in their own contexts, working for peaceful and just societies, often over the long term.

Read the full interview...

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CCIC MEMBERS IN ACTION

Good soil: Strengthening support for smallholder agriculture

In March, the Canadian Foodgrains Bank launched a campaign to encourage DFATD to make smallholder agriculture a bigger priority in the aid portfolio. The campaign has launched a website, which includes a research paper, entitled Money in the Pocket, Food on the Table: the Economic Case for Investing in Agricultural Development. The website includes other materials about the overall campaign. 

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The Future of International Solidarity: An open dialogue – Inter Pares 40th anniversary event

The Future of International Solidarity On April 30th, Inter Pares invites CCIC members, social justice sector people, government officials, academics, students, and anyone interested in international solidarity to its 40th anniversary public event “The future of international solidarity: an open dialogue,” which will take place at the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health in Ottawa. The event will feature guest speakers Pilar Trujillo, Director of Project Counselling Service who is joining us from Colombia, Aline Zongo, COPAGEN Country Representative in Burkina Faso, Paul Sein Twa, Director and founding member of Karen Environmental and Social Action Network in Burma, and Diana Bronson, Executive Director of Food Secure Canada. Bringing together activists from all over the world, Inter Pares will facilitate a lively dialogue to re-think, together, international cooperation and solidarity. The participatory discussion will be followed by entertainment and a reception with live music. To see the full program of the afternoon or to register, visit Inter Pares’ website.

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Petition to Minister Paradis: protecting animals, protects people

WAPWorld Animal Protection (WAP) has launched a petition to the Minister of International Development to increase protection for animals during disasters. More than one billion of the world’s poor – those most affected by disasters - depend on farm animals for their livelihoods and food security. As one of the most important productive assets for poor rural households, particularly for women, the loss of animals during a disaster can create a second crisis in the form of long-term hunger, malnutrition and unemployment. Despite their critical importance, animals are seldom included in disaster policies and plans and they are absent from Canada’s development cooperation policies too. Protecting animals during disasters saves lives and livelihoods, accelerates recovery and builds community resilience. That’s the message WAP is bringing to Canada’s Minister of International Development and they hope that many Canadians will join them. For more information, you can also read World Animal Protection's recent article in Embassy "Protecting animals protects people".

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WORTH A LOOK

Petition by ONE to protect and restore Canada's Aid Budget​

The next federal budget will likely be presented early April. With this in mind and knowing that the government is presently making critical budget decisions, ONE has launched a petition asking Finances Minister Joe Oliver to protect the Aid budget and to increase it to decent levels, so that Canada can play a leadership role it once had in the developing world. ONE is hoping to collect 10 000 signatures in the next few weeks; the petition can be found here.

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Video of Ottawa launch of “Rethinking Canadian Aid”

Edited by Stephen Brown, Molly den Heyer and David Black, “Rethinking Canadian Aid” is the first book on Canadian foreign aid since CIDA was folded into DFATD. There was an official launch of the book with a panel discussion at the Centre for International Policy Studies at Ottawa U on February 27, and for those of you who couldn’t make it to the event, is has been recorded and it is available on CIPS’ website.

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New website for the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG)

ICLMG

ICLMG, a national coalition of Canadian civil society organizations established in the aftermath of the September, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, just launched a revamped version of its website. The website features, among other things, briefs, statements and presentations to the parliamentary committee presently examining Bill C-51. In the context of the so-called ‘war on terror’, the mandate of the ICLMG is to defend the civil liberties and human rights set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, federal and provincial laws, and international human rights instruments.

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Health check on organizational capacity

BONDBOND, CCIC’s British equivalent, has launched a new on-line self-assessment tool designed to help international development organisations understand their strengths and weaknesses. The site includes resources related to partnership, beneficiary participation, monitoring and evaluation, and will soon include materials on advocacy and campaigning.

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Why do Canadian non-profits need to think about working together differently?

Although not geared towards international development and humanitarian organizations, Friendship, Courtship, Partnership, a new report by Charity Village, draws some interesting parallels to the challenges faced by service delivery organizations, and the need for many of these agencies to consider sharing services and working more collaboratively.

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How is the European Union engaging with Civil Society?

 

CONCORD,the European confederation of Relief and Development NGOs, has released “Mutual Engagement between EU Delegations and Civil Society Organizations,” a report that catalogues the state of dialogue between the EU and CSOs, including ongoing challenges. Drawing on responses from 230 CSOS working in 80 countries, it profiles good practice and lessons learned, and makes a series of recommendations to the EU (delegations and headquarters) on how to enhance dialogue with CSOs.

 

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New Series by The Philanthropist: Canadian Charities Working Internationally

Throughout the spring, The Philanthropist will focus on the challenges facing Canadian charities working around the world under Canadian "direction and control" rules, in a new series called Canadian Charities Working Internationally.  They will investigate the practical issues for Canadian charities working abroad, examine how other countries regulate charities operating internationally, and explore if they can make the job of doing good easier while still maintaining accountability.

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FAO-OECD Guidance for Responsible Agricultural Supply Chains

The FAO and OECD are drafting a guidance document for companies to improve their social and environmental footprint throughout the food system. The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), based in Geneva, submitted comments on how the document can be improved to increase investment in small-scale farmers, prioritize the role of women, effectively involve communities and manage climate risks.

 

 

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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.