CCIC monthly e-bulletin: April 2015                    About CCIC     |     Contact Us
banner image

MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT-CEO

Everybody's talking about it … Inequality!

Julia SanchezFrom Robert Reich’s documentary “Inequality for All”, through Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”, to Oxfam’s ground breaking report “Even it Up: Time to End Extreme Inequality “, and, closer to home, the work of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Broadbent Institute on income gaps in Canada, everybody is talking about inequality. The UN and the new Sustainable Development Goals are all over it, civil society campaigns everywhere are denouncing it, Ban Ki-Moon, the World Bank, the IMF and everyone at Davos is also talking about it. Our friends from the occupy movement of course were talking about it way before the rest of us caught on to the fact that there were such stark disparities emerging between the 1% and the rest. And it took us a while to realize we are part of the 99%.

Inequality is a form of imbalance and, I would offer, results from an unbalanced approach to growth that has been dominant over recent decades. At least in discourse, and too often in practice, we have witnessed an untempered promotion of market forces, free trade and globalization, and trickle down theories. This has been accompanied by a denial or downplaying of the importance of strong and effective governments and robust civil societies, the latter to keep both governments and the private sector in check. We need to seriously commit to redress this imbalance if we are to tackle inequality in a significant way.

If you are following the international discussions around the new development framework, and in particular the means of implementation and financing for development, you might be surprised to hear the almost deafening call for private sector leadership in the form of even more foreign direct investment and enhanced mechanisms to support global capital to invest in high risk developing country markets. Our government is following that trend and has announced in budget 2015 the creation of a Development Finance Initiative. This clamor definitely drowns out the voices calling for more direct support to developing country governments for the provision of basic services and public goods, and the need for more regulation of global capital - precisely to avoid the degrees of inequality that we have experienced to date.

Some key questions that I think we need to ask are: Is the rampant inequality we see today, and that is threatening progress on all fronts of human development, not resulting (at least in part) from this unchecked faith in the markets, the belief in small government, the promotion of more private sector leadership and less regulation? Putting domestic politics aside, on the international cooperation front we cannot be blind to the fact that untold levels of foreign direct investment and increasing economic growth rates have been accompanied by growing inequality and stagnation or decline in key human development indicators in too many developing countries. How can we, given everything we know, continue to promote a model for economic growth that will not lead to sustainable development, unless it is accompanied by strong measures that check market forces, that compensate for market failures, and that redistribute wealth so that all will benefit from the progress currently enjoyed only by a very few? Can we not agree that, in order to contribute to sustainable development, economic growth must not come at the expense of environmental sustainability, nor of respect and promotion of human rights?

If we are serious about addressing inequality, as we head into the last rounds of negotiations of the global development framework for the next 15 years, we need our governments to stand up for the important role of governments in ensuring public goods and representing the interests of their entire populations. Governments, especially from donor countries, seem too eager to get out of the way and leave the field wide open for private sector corporations, especially those from their home countries, to take over the development agenda. 

But what is it that companies do best when left to their own devices? Do they cater to the needs of all populations, including the most vulnerable? Do they ensure distribution of incomes and wealth in such a way as to reduce inequality? Do they curtail their desire for more and more wealth when faced with violations of human rights? Or when the environment is paying the price for their successful business venture? No, of course not. That is not their job. That is the job of citizens and the governments they elect. It is too high a burden to place on the backs of companies whose role it is to do business, produce goods and make healthy profits.

So how then do we tackle inequality? By recognizing that our current global model is flawed – that it has given us what we have today, and that we need to improve on it. That profits have become more important than people and planet, and that we need to rebalance that. That markets need to be regulated and that market failures need to be compensated for and managed. That we must not “unleash” the power of the private sector (what a scary image that conjures!) but rather that we must reign it in and work with it so it maximizes its contributions to development outcomes. That our governments must govern for the 99% and not for the 1%. That we must support public service delivery, strong governance, and human rights. That we must promote full employment over economic growth, domestic and regional markets over global trade, and sustainable low-carbon industries and technologies over anything else.

The We Can Do Better 2015 campaign has identified inequality as one of its key themes for the new development framework – visit our website and read more on the inequality challenge we face today and what we can do about it here.

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

Budget 2015: Federal budget does little to tackle global poverty and inequality

Budget 2015 was as telling about what was in the Budget, as what wasn’t. It announced the creation of a Development Finance Initiative (DFI) and a new website to track fees paid by Canadians sending remittances overseas. DFIs in theory provide funds to credit constrained companies in high risk markets, where funding for developing country firms is scarce or interest rates too high. But from experience with DFIs in Europe, and as research by Eurodad has shown, money follows markets, not where it is needed; it is geared towards safer high return investments, not long-term risky patient capital; and there is a disproportionate investment in the financial sector and companies in OECD countries. Furthermore the ability of these initiatives to level additional finance isn’t clear, nor is the positive impact on development. The establishment of the remittance comparison website is a positive development; but remittances are not an international development assistance program nor strategy. And on this note, there was a noticeable absence of any mention of the aid budget and any increases or decreases. In the absence of any further clarification for 2015/16, we can only expect that aid budget will be frozen at the 2014/15 levels announced in Budget 2012. Since then, Canadian aid spending dropped between 2011/12 and 2013/14 by $670 million – in just two years. Read more in CCIC’s news release.

Séparateur

We Can Do Better 2015 website now live!

We Can Do Better 2015As mentioned in previous versions of FLASH!, on February 5, CCIC and its members launched the "We Can Do Better 2015" campaign, asking Canada to provide decisive and positive leadership in tackling inequality and human rights, climate change and environmental sustainability, and in promoting women's rights and gender equality. In subsequent weeks CCIC members were given the opportunity to provide targeted feedback on the backgrounders and key asks for the campaign. The campaign is now running at full speed with the launch of the website, which provides tools and resources on how to get involved. Join the movement by following the campaign on Facebook and Twitter, and by letting your MP know that you care about these issues!

dividing line

Less than two weeks until CCIC's Annual Conference. Register Now!

Conference 2015Make sure that you don’t miss CCIC/CAIDP second joint conference, the International Cooperation Days 2015: Universal Goals, Canadian Challenges! Register Now! This year the ICD will be an exciting three day conference featuring a formal policy dialogue session with DFATD, discussions with representatives of the main political parties who will present their international development priorities for the 2015 elections, keynote plenaries on women's rights, inequality and climate change, and over 30 specialized and tailored workshops. 350-400 participants are expected, so the event will provide participants with opportunities to engage with, debate and discuss today's critical development opportunities and challenges. Please visit the conference website and agenda for more information and contact Anjali Nundy with any questions.

dividing line

DFATD Consultation on Canada's priorities for the post-2015

In early April, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) launched a month-long on-line “Request for Feedback” on its priorities around the new sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the post-2015 framework. The priorities laid out by the government come as no surprise – Maternal Newborn and Child Health, Sustainable Economic Growth and the Private Sector, and Accountability - and in some cases, for example on “eliminating the structural drivers of gender inequality” and child protection, the priorities are new and welcome. But at the same time, there is only scant reference to environmental issues, and little that reflects the more holistic and comprehensive approach that the SDGs will require of states. In fact, the priorities are noticeably lacking in their reference to 1) the focus of the new goals on genuine sustainability – social, economic and environmental; 2) developing a truly transformative agenda for people, the planet and their participation in their lives; and, 3) a framework which leaves no one behind. Although the request for feedback comes very late in the game, CCIC still considers this an important opportunity to provide feedback, since the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will apply to all countries, including Canada, and our collective input could help shape the interpretation and implementation of those Canadian priorities for the current or any new government post-election.

dividing line

New OECD number plus Cnd statistical report

In early April, the OECD released provisional aid figures for 2014. Development aid flows remain stable in 2014, with net flows from Development Assistance Committee members totalling USD$135.2 billion, on par with 2013’s record high of USD$135.1 billion, albeit with a 0.5% decline in real terms. Conversely, Canadian aid dropped from USD$4.95 billion in 2013 to USD$4.2 billion in 2014, a decline of 10.7%, following a decline in 2013 of 11.4% relative to 2012. This puts Canada’s aid to GNI ratio at 0.24, down from 0.27 in 2013 and 0.32 in 2012. Our aid ratio hasn’t been that low since 2003, the year after the Millennium Development Goals were adopted. Now we find ourselves in the same spot just as their successor framework comes into play. At the end of March, Canada also published its own International Assistance Statistical Report for 2013/14.

dividing line

"Development Unplugged" now live!

Development Unplugged, CCIC's new blog in the Huffington Post Canada, was officially launched on April 14! Read about 3 things that Canada must do to achieve sustainable development goals by CCIC’s Senior Policy Analyst Fraser Reilly-King, and on how The Opposite Of Volontourism Is Volunteer Cooperation by Claudia Black, ED of CECI and Chris Eaton, WUSC ED, and finally why Canada Should Seek a Greater Role Beyond Trade in the Americas, by the Americas Policy Group. CCIC is hoping that this blog will become a rendez-vous for all people passionate about international development and other global issues. Contact Chantal Havard if you wish to submit an article. We look forward to reading your articles!

dividing line

Summit of the Americas

The Seventh Summit of the Americas, held in Panama earlier this month, brought together all 35 countries in the hemisphere for the first time ever. The agenda, however, was once again overshadowed by economic and political issues that divide Canada and the United States from the others: different approaches to economic development and diplomatic tensions with Venezuela. These divisions and the disenchantment with dominant approaches to global. Read CCIC's Americas' Policy Group's analysis of the political conjuncture in the Americas, and Canada's role in it.

dividing line

Renewal of International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala

APGThe Americas Policy Group wrote a letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson to express its concern that the mandate of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG, in Spanish) may not be renewed by the government of Guatemala. It urged Canada to use its strong relationship with Guatemala to urgently push for the Guatemalan government to renew the mandate of the CICIG without any modification, echoing calls by the US Government, the Guatemalan Human Rights Convergence and multiple civil society organizations. The APG welcomed the April 23 announcement by Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina that CICIG would be renewed to 2 years.

dividing line

The impact of Religious Fondamentalism on African women

ACFThis month, the Africa-Canada Forum and the Institute of African Studies from Carleton University collaborated in organizing a stimulating one day learning event on­­­ religious fundamentalisms impact on women’s rights in Africa. Highlights include Shareen Gokal’s (AWID) presentation providing global view of religious fundamentalisms and how an international human rights perspective could inform how civil society organizations can inform their programming. Fahima Hashim (Salmmah Women’s Resource Centre) and Erin J Augis (Ramapo College) presented on Islamic case studies in Sudan and Senegal, respectively. Benoit Awazi Mbambi Kungua (CERCLECAD) and Pius Adesanmi (Carleton University) presented on Christian case studies in the DRC and Nigeria. Presentations will be available online in the coming weeks. Stay tuned to the ACF website for updates.

dividing line

Latest news on UN post-2015 process

There are two main updates to report on in relation to the post-2015 process. First, on April 13-17, there was the second drafting session on the outcome document of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD 3). This session focused on reviewing the zero draft of the outcome document, the Addis Ababa Accord. Members’ comments during the meeting (and after) will be used by the co-facilitators to prepare a new draft by early May. Two intersessional consultations are planned for May and the third drafting session will be held in June 2015. Second, a joint meeting was held on April 21-24 between participants from both the post-2015 agenda process and  the Third International Conference on Financing for Development process. At that meeting, the co-chairs emphasized “universality” and “ambition” as key words going forward and stressed that the 17 SDGs are achievable if there is enough political will. The Beyond 2015 campaign published a position paper ahead of this meeting.

dividing line

New Work on International Investment Treaties and Human Right

3 Regional WGCCIC's three regional working groups (ACF, APG, and APWG) held a consultation with their members on April 13th to discuss international investment treaties, the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism and human rights. The goal of the consultation was to develop a set of common recommendations to ensure that investors’ rights do not restrict the states' to regulate in favour of human rights and the environment, and to ensure that investors’ rights do not trump human rights in the international investment regime. The Working Groups will be putting together a panel on this topic at CCIC's upcoming conference, featuring Yanira Cortez, Human Rights Ombudsperson for the Environment in El Salvador. She will discuss the situation in El Salvador, where the government is being sued for $301 million (5% of the country’s GDP) by a gold mining company for denying it an extraction permit on environmental grounds. Cortez is here as part of a tour entitled Stop the Suits, which will explore how the current global investment regime poses threats to national sovereignty.

dividing line

Fair Trade Month in Québec City

Commerce equitable

 

NAVTI Fondation Canada and l'AMIE are co-organizing the 11th Fair Trade Month in Québec City. This is a big change because for ten years the event was a Fair Trade Forthnight, which is now becoming a full month of activities. The event will take place from May 1-31, 2015. The program aims at changing the patterns of consumption and make it more ethical. A press conference is organized on April 28 at the store EquiMonde and will present the whole program. For more information, please visit: www.commerceequitableqc.org.

 

dividing line

Coalition Profile: The Canadian Association for the Study of International Development (CASID)

(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.)

CASIDThe Canadian Association for the Study of International Development (CASID) is a national, bilingual, interdisciplinary and pluralistic association devoted to the promotion of new knowledge in the broad field of international development. CASID is a membership-based organization which brings together the international development programs of Canadian universities. CASID and CCIC have been collaborating on a number of issues and events that are of interest for members of both coalitions, such as a conference on taking stock of the Millenium Development Goals and another one the role of religion in international development.

dividing line

MEMBER PROFILE: Canadian Cooperatives Association

Micronutrient

CCA's FOSTERING project is establishing farmer-owned and managed credit unions and agricultural co-operative enterprises.

This month CCIC met with the new ED of the Canadian Cooperative Association, Michael Casey, to discuss the benefits of the cooperative model and some of CCA’s projects, among other things!

 

CCIC: This month you joined CCA as Executive Director. Welcome! How have your first few weeks been and what are you most looking forward to in your new role?

As always at the start of a new job, the first couple of weeks have clearly been spent on a very steep learning curve, with significant doses of ‘information overload’ as one rushes to understand and process all the facets of a dynamic vibrant organization. I do have the benefit of having worked with CCA in Asia during the 1990s, so have some basic familiarity with the organization. Although, I must admit that the international development sector has changed significantly in the intervening years, and CCA has undergone major institutional and program changes and adaptations. What I am most looking forward to is being part of this hugely talented and energetic team of development professionals and working on the fascinating challenges and opportunities ahead.

Read the full interview...

dividing line

CCIC MEMBERS IN ACTION

Free, Prior and Informed Consent: A symposium on human rights, Indigenous protocols and good practice (May 19-20)

Supreme Court decisions and international human rights standards including the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples recognize the right of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples to make their own decisions about development on their lands and other important issues. This symposium will include panels such as: the status of FPIC in Canadian and international law; FPIC in Indigenous peoples' protocols and customary law; and Engaging with investors and corporations. The symposium is presented by Indigenous Peoples’ organizations and human rights and environmental NGOs and will feature a reception and keynote with Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come, Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) 7-9 pm, on Tuesday May 19th, Wabano Centre, 299 Montreal Rd, followed by the Public symposium -online and in person- from 8:30am-5:00pm, on Wednesday, May 20th, at University of Ottawa,Fauteux Hall.

dividing line

New book by Susan Walsh from USC: Trojan Horse Aid

Book by Susan WalshThe Executive Director of USC Canada, Susan Walsh, launched her new book at Café Nostalgica (Ottawa U) on April 17, in a room full of international development practioners, researchers, students as well as southern partners organizations. Trojan Horse Aid: Seeds of Resistance and Resilience in the Bolivian Highlands and Beyond is a compelling first-hand account of development assistance gone awry. Author Susan Walsh illustrates how national, international, and multilateral organizations failed the Jalq'a people in the Bolivian Andes during the early millennium. Intent on assisting potato farmers, development organizations pushed for changes that ultimately served their own interests, paradoxically undermining local resilience and pushing farmers off their lands.

dividing line

Aga Khan Foundation Canada: Together: An exhibition on global development

TogetherTogether: An exhibition on global development is an innovative, interactive and multi-sensory experience designed to spark conversations about the role that Canadians can play in reducing global poverty.This unique, mobile exhibition is housed in a 53-foot, custom vehicle. With 1,000 square feet of exhibit space, Together transports visitors around the globe. A bilingual exhibition, Together is joining communities across Canada in a conversation about global change. In 2015 the exhibition travels across Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. In 2016 it will travel to northern Ontario and then on to central and western Canada. Please visit website for more information.

dividing line

Tour to Draw Attention to Human Rights Crisis in Mexico

On September 26, 2014, Mexican state security forces attacked a group of students from the teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, killing 6 people and forcibly disappearing 43 others who were never seen again. The crime has pulled the veil off an acute human rights crisis in Mexico. This month, Canadian solidarity and human-rights organizations organized a Caravan from Ayotzinapa to Ottawa that brought a student leader from Ayotzinapa, a parent of one of the disappeared students, and a human-rights lawyer representing the students’ families to Canada in order to tell their stories to the public and to Canadian policy makers. In the context of this tour, the Americas Policy Group and its members organized several public events, workshops for teachers and other groups, meetings with MPs, and community fundraisers to raise awareness of human rights situation in Mexico and push Canada to hold the Mexican government to international human rights norms.

dividing line

WORTH A LOOK

New case study by VOICES on Canada's ODA​

Voices-VoixThe coalition VOICES-VOIX, which was created to defend advocacy and dissent in Canada and is supported by a large network of organizations and individuals, recently released a new case study on Canada’s ODA under the Conservative government. The case study looks at changes in priorities, funding mechanisms, relationships with partners such as NGOs, among other things.

dividing line

New EWB poll and campaign in support of global development

EWB poll & CampaignEngineers Without Borders and the Inter-Council network made public on April 23 the latest results from a poll conducted to measure Canadians’ support towards international assistance and the fight against poverty. Results from the poll demonstrate that a large majority of Canadians believe that there is a moral obligation to put an end to poverty and that Canada should be a leader. EWB has also launched a campaign, #PoliticsAside, calling on the Canadian government to increase its ODA budget.

 

dividing line

Establishing a workable follow-up and review process for the Sustainable Development Goals

This paper by Shannon Kindornay and Sarah Twigg, produced for the Overseas Development Institute considers the factors that will be essential to ensuring the Sustainable Development Goals are successful in their implementation, follow-up and review. These include the importance of inclusion, the differentiated application of the SDGs, and a clear universal vision in terms of the framework’s application.

dividing line

Beyond 2015 papers on accountability and indicators

Beyond 2015At the end of March, Beyond 2015 produced a position paper entitled “Goals, Targets and Indicators – Critical elements of the post-2015 agenda”, bringing key messages from the Campaign regarding the proposed set of SDGs as well as recommendations for the development of the post-2015 indicators. It followed this release with another paper in April on “Implementing the Ambition: Beyond 2015 Recommendations for the post-2015 Means of Implementation and Financing for (Sustainable) Development”.

dividing line

Capacity building for data collection and the SDGs.

Third, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) published a report on “Data for Development: A Needs Assessment for SDG Monitoring and Statistical Capacity Development”. The report finds that US$1 billion per year will need to be invested in 77 of the world's lowest-income developing countries to upgrade their statistical systems and data collection.

dividing line

Rethinking Partnerships in a Post-2015 World: Towards Equitable, Inclusive and Sustainable Development

The abridged version of the 2014 Reality of Aid Report is now available on-line in English, French and Spanish.

dividing line

States of Fragility 2015

States of Fragility 2015

 

 

This 2015 OECD report on fragility contributes to the broader debate to define post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and argues that addressing fragility in the new framework will be crucial if strides in reducing poverty are to be made.

 

 

dividing line

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.