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Universal development goals are a unique opportunity, not a threat, for Canada

Julia SanchezCanada’s lack of political will to adhere to the universal nature of the new sustainable development goals (SDGs)- set to succeed the Millennium Development Goals when the SDGs are approved by governments at the United Nations in September 2015 - was brought to light last week by the media.

Although there are understandable concerns about this transformative characteristic of the new global development agenda, there is also near unanimous support for the universal nature of the new agenda – with the exception of a few Northern governments.

Why do we think this is a fundamental piece for the SDGs?  In short, because in order to have a truly transformative agenda that tackles the root causes of poverty and its globalized nature, we need to enlist the support of all countries to battle extreme poverty in all corners of the world. To “leave no one behind,” this means tackling poverty at home here in Canada, and supporting countries around the world who are struggling to achieve this objective to do the same. But universality also means addressing challenges that transcend national borders. Given the global nature and impact of the issues that require concerted international action, such as inequality and climate change, there is no other way. These challenges know no boundaries – we need to tackle them to ensure truly sustainable development in the coming decades, and we can only address them with “all hands on deck”.

The “us and them” or “North South” framework of the past no longer holds – we cannot go on pretending that poverty only exists and must be solved elsewhere, and that we do not have our own poverty issues in our backyard that exacerbate global poverty everywhere. 

During CCIC’s recent annual conference, entitled “Universal Goals, Canadian Challenges”, co-organized with the Canadian Association of International Development Professionals, we underscored the importance of linking Canadian groups working domestically on issues of inequality, human rights, women’s rights, climate change and environmental sustainability with groups working on these same issues internationally. 

Perry Bellegarde & Edwin VasquezThomas Gass, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), reminded us of why the universal nature of the new framework is so transformative, being a social contract between all countries. And to close the conference, we were honoured to have Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, and Edwin Vasquez, General Coordinator of the Amazon Basin Indigenous Organizations, bring all these issues together in a compelling illustration of how indigenous peoples, in the North and South, are bearing the brunt of all the consequences of the unsustainable development model that we have been following and that we need to transform in the coming decade.

The domestic imperative of leaving no one behind has become increasingly evident in recent weeks. In early June, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada presented its summary report with a series of events in Ottawa and across Canada. Canadians were reminded of the wrongs that have been done over decades to First Nations peoples in this country, and the urgent need we all have to participate in transforming that reality for the good of all Canadians. The adoption of the SDG framework in September will require all countries to commit to addressing poverty. For Canada, this will be a call to leadership on two fronts: in addressing poverty issues in Canada, which are so dramatically manifested in First Nations communities; and as Bono recently reminded us, to helping tackle poverty and inequality in the least developed countries that still need external support to address their development challenges.

The Beyond 2015 campaign has made a call for “leaving no one behind” and world leaders, such as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, have made a call to action for leadership in the post-2015 era. In Canada, we must see this as a historic opportunity – and not as a threat. An opportunity for government, civil society, the private sector, academics and all citizens to put our best foot forward and lead the charge of eradicating poverty for all, wherever it exists. As a universal agenda, it is the only way forward.

In solidarity,


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



CCIC's 47th AGM held on May 14, 2015 in Ottawa

In the context of this year’s annual conference, the CCIC held its 47th Annual General Meeting. A highlight of the meeting was the appointment of new board members as well as bidding farewell to outgoing Chair of the Board Jim Cornelius. Jim is a “repeat offender”, having served on the board several times in the past, and was now completing the maximum 6 consecutive years allowed by the by-laws. In this recent run, Jim was Treasurer of the Board from 2009 to 2011, and then Chair from 2011 to 2015. The CCIC membership congratulated and thanked Jim for his leadership of the Council through trying times. Jim was treasurer during the period when CCIC lost all its government funding and had to restructure in a significant way, and steered the council through the establishment of a new financial and operational model. His leadership as Chair was fundamental in allowing the council to re-imagine itself into a position beneficial and appreciated by all its members. CCIC is delighted to welcome the following members to the Board of Directors: Michèle Asselin (AQOCI), April Ingham (Pacific People’s Partnership), Doug Olthuis (Unites Steelworkers), Donald Peters (Mennonite Central Committee Canada), Shelagh Savage (Coady International Institute), Michael Simpson (BCCIC) and Michael Wodzicki (Canadian Co-operative Association). In addition we are delighted to announce the new Executive Committee of the Board as follows: Gillian Barth (CARE Canada) as Chair, Denis Brynes (Oxfam-Quebec) as Vice-Chair, Heather McPherson (ACGC) as Treasurer and Norman MacIsaac (Leger Foundation) as member at large.


Latest updates on We Can Do Better 2015

We Can Do Better 2015With the Canadian election fast approaching quickly, momentum is growing for the “We Can Do Better 2015” campaign! In the past few weeks webinars on the campaign were organized by the Inter Council Network of Provincial and Regional Councils for International Cooperation, and the Northern, Manitoba, Atlantic and Ontario Councils all featured the campaign during their AGM. The three main themes of the campaign (Inequality and Human Rights, Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability) were a major feature at the International Cooperation Days Forum, with more than 80 new selfies published on Facebook and Twitter! Make sure that your organization officially endorses the campaign (new this month!), and don’t miss the latest updates and actions on the campaign by subscribing to the bi-monthly e-bulletin (also new in June)! Next up: an election toolkit to help profile international development issues in the fall debates. For any questions, comments or ideas on the campaign please contact Fraser Reilly-King or Chantal Havard.


Latest news on UN post-2015 process

May saw the last of the open discussions on the broad themes that will structure the outcome document for the September UN Summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda. Having previously discussed the focus of the Declaration, the Goals and Targets (which are de facto the Open Working Group's goals and targets), and the Means of Implementation and Global Partnership, the May session garnered stakeholders' views on "Follow-up and Review." There was some clear divergences of opinion. Some want the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) to monitor progress on both the implementation of the goals and the outcomes of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3). While others see FfD3 as a separate process, requiring its own follow-up and review. There were a range of views on how the HLPF would review the 17 goals - possibly grouped around themes like people, prosperity, the planet and partnership, or focused on sectoral issues that could feed into parallel UN processes, like the 2016 Habitat III Summit. Many governments called for a mapping of existing similar review mechanisms, to ensure no duplication, but to also identify where existing UN or global institutions could lead on thematic issues. Finally, member states largely see the review process as an opportunity to learn from other countries through a positive, not punitive process - alluding to the fact that many governments want no discussion of accountability. In early June, the co-facilitators released a zero draft outcome document which will form the basis of debate at the first round of inter-governmental negotiations at the end of June.

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Brittany Lambert leaving the Americas' Policy Group

APGBrittany Lambert, who has been coordinating CCIC America’s Policy Group for the past four years, has left the organization mid-June to take on a new role at Oxfam Canada. Brittany has done an excellent job at bringing APG members together around key issues for the Americas, such as the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, the situation of human rights in Central America and the impacts of Canadian mining activities in Latin America. She will put her many skills and excellent knowledge of the sector at good use as she takes on the position of Senior Gender Specialist at Oxfam. CCIC is extremely grateful to Brittany for her contribution to CCIC’s work and wishes her well. CCIC is also very happy to welcome back Stacey Gomez, who will be leading APG during the three months transition period before a new coordinator is hired.

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Echoes from APWG member meeting

APWGThe Asia-Pacific Working Group (APWG) held a one-day meeting on 4 June 2015. During this meeting, members learned about DFATD’s plans and priorities in Afghanistan and had the opportunity to engage with DFATD’S Senior Director for Afghanistan and three other development officers. Members also heard from Vernie Yocogan-Diano, Executive Director of the Cordillera Women’s Education Action and Research Center, who spoke about the impacts of resource extraction on indigenous women in the Philippines. The APWG country groups on Afghanistan and Indonesia held parallel meetings, and a plenary discussion was held on the topic of investment treaties and their impact on human rights. APWG members are now preparing for a thematic meeting with DFATD officials in the fall. 

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DFATD Internal Review of 2008 Overhead Policy for Contribution Agreements

As some of you may know DFATD is currently undertaking an internal review of its 2008 Overhead Policy for Contribution Agreements. Early this spring DFATD approached CCIC to provide input into the exercise. As part of this review, over the past months CCIC has convened a group of civil society representatives, as well as hosted various meetings with DFATD, to collect information and provide recommendations. As the final step, CCIC will be producing a short position paper to reflect and consolidate the input of its members as well as the community at large. This report will be made available at the end of June. Thank you to all who provided valuable input to this important exercise.

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Africa-Canada Forum Learning Events

ACFIn April, the Africa-Canada Forum, in collaboration with the Institute of African Studies from Carleton University, organized a one day learning event on religious fundamentalisms and their impact on women’s rights in Africa. Highlights include an overview presentation by Shareen Gokal (AWID) and the presentation of case studies examining Islam and Christianity. Video documentation can be found on the ACF website. People who’ve missed the event but want to catch on the next one should save the date for the next ACF annual conference and DFATD meeting, which will take place on October 21 and 22. Stay tuned for details!

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Coalitions Come Together to Express Concern over Human Rights in Colombia

For years, civil society organizations have been concerned about the impacts of Canadian trade and investment on human rights in Colombia. Despite assurances by the Canadian government that the Canada-Colombia FTA would help improve the situation in Colombia, credible human rights groups, labour unions, NGOs and the UN have compiled compelling documentation demonstrating that human rights violations have not abated since the FTA’s implementation in 2011. Members of the Americas Policy Group, Common Frontiers and the Canadian Labour Congress have collaborated on series of new publications to draw attention to the continued risks faced by trade unionists, human rights defenders, Indigenous and Afro-descendent communities in Colombia.  Documents will be available soon, please contact Stacey Gomez.

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CCIC Code of Ethics and Operational Standards - Compliance Webinar and Video

Compliance to the CCIC Code of Ethics and Operational Standards is an important core requirement of CCIC membership. At the 2014 AGM, CCIC members passed a resolution which established that all CCIC members demonstrate compliance at least once to the revised (2009) CCIC Code of Ethics and Operational Standards. Once this has been done, organizations can simply sign the annual  adherence declaration.  New CCIC members have up to 3 years to demonstrate compliance. In order to support its members, CCIC will be hosting a webinar on June 25th from 12:00-1:30 (EST) to present a detailed overview of the compliance process as well as provide members the opportunity to ask questions or raise concerns. RSVP to Michelle Bested by Tuesday June 23rd.  In preparation for this webinar CCIC is creating a short video to provide further information and guidance regarding the Code of Ethics. Organizations who plan to join on the 25th are encouraged to watch this video prior to the webinar. This video will be circulated shortly.

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Look out for the 2015 CCIC Member Survey!

CCIC will circulate its 2015 Member Survey shortly. This survey will gauge CCIC effectiveness and influence, the usefulness of CCIC events and publications, as well as overall member satisfaction. We look forward to receiving your important input and feedback.

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MEMBER PROFILE: SOS Children's Village


A mother from the rural community of Kouloun, Mali attends literacy classes with her young daughter as part of the SOS Family Strengthening Program Kouloun. With the help of this program 146 parents have received basic literacy classes for the first time.


This month CCIC met with Boyd McBride, President and CEO at SOS Children’s Villages – and one of CCIC new member organizations! – to discuss the organization’s focus and the recent response to the earthquake in Nepal….among other things!


CCIC: What would you say distinguishes SOS Children's Villages Canada from other Canadian organizations working in international development?

What distinguishes us is our focus. SOS Children’s Villages exists for a simple reason: to see that no child is ever alone.
This informs all of our work, from our family based care model, where we provide loving homes for children who have been abandoned or orphaned, to our family strengthening programs, which empower families at risk to prevent the crises that lead to child abandonment.

Read the full interview...

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Peoples' Social Forum in Toronto

The Peoples’ Social Forum is hosting a summit in Toronto on July 10th and 11th. Conceived as a way to counter the Pan American Toronto Global Forum taking place in Toronto that same week, the summit will bring together activists, students, unions, Indigenous peoples, youth and environmentalists to discuss ways to create a more just and equal world. To find out more about how to participate, host a workshop, set up a table or volunteer at the summit, see:

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Meeting on Financing for Development organized by Results

Financig for DevelopmentOn July 13-16, world leaders will come together in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3) to discuss how to finance the Post 2015 development agenda.  The Government of Canada has made blended finance (mixing grants and loans) one of its key priorities in engaging on the Post-2015 Development Agenda - through the Redesigning Development Finance Initiative (RDFI) and the recently announced Canadian Development Finance Initiative. Globally, Canada is one of the major donors to the Global Financing Facility in Support of Every Women and Every Child. Ahead of FfD3, Results Canada organized a CSO Roundtable on FfD3, hearing from Gavin Buchan, Director General for Development Policy Planning at DFATD, on the latest round of FfD negotiations. There was also a discussion of the principles for private sector financing of development goals.

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Lewis Perinbam Award for International Development 2015 - Call for Nominations

WUSCThe Award Trustees and World University Service of Canada (WUSC) are announcing that nominations are now open for the 2015 Lewis Perinbam Award for International Development. The Lewis Perinbam Award recognizes significant volunteer efforts that:

The award commends individuals who make a noteworthy volunteer contribution to international development rather than paid professionals in the sector. However, paid professionals who make a substantial voluntary effort are also eligible for the Lewis Perinbam Award. Nominations will be accepted until October 31, 2015 and the Award Trustees will meet after this date to determine the successful candidate. Winners will receive a monetary award of $5,000 towards their volunteer work. Click here to access the nomination form

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New report by VOICES-VOIX​

Voices-VoixOn June 16, the coalition VOICES-VOIX published an important report documenting the abuse of parliamentary rules, the intimidation of public servants, and the defunding and intimidation of organizations that hold views at odds with the federal government. The report illustrates where the government has gutted the capacity of its own departments and independent agencies to offer information and analysis needed to make sound policy choices. The full report and an executive summary can be found here. Voices-Voix is a non-partisan coalition of Canadians and Canadian organizations committed to defending our collective and individual rights to dissent, advocacy and democratic space. CCIC is a founding member of VOICES-VOIX.

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The Post -2015 Development Agenda, Corporations and Power

A new brief by IBON International and the Campaign for Peoples' Goals, looks at how corporate power is expanding in the name of sustainable development within the post-2015 process. While a new discussion paper from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation considers how goals on inequality, consumption and means of implementation will be essential to ensure the SDGs address targets and goals for the rich, and that trigger fiscal and policy changes. 

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Humanitarian Assistance from Non-State Donors

Humanitarian AssistanceA new report from Development Initiatives looks at the role non-state donors play in the provision of humanitarian assistance – measuring funding from individuals, trusts and foundations, and companies and corporations – and assesses where the money comes from, who it goes to, and where it is spent. The research draws on a broad set of data sourced directly from humanitarian agencies and covers the period from 2009 to 2013.

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Re-launch of the Canadian International Development Platform

CIDPThe Canadian International Development Platform, created as a project of the North-South Institute, and transitioned to the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University, was re-launched on April 1st. The aim of the platform is to leverage open data and big data, to enhance policy relevant analysis of international development issues, and to engage Canadians on development issues by grounding discussions in the best available evidence. The newly redeveloped platform tracks Canada's engagement with developing countries through five portals: 1) Foreign Aid ; 2) Trade; 3) Investment; 4) Migration; 5) Development Analysis.

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Why Less Inequality Benefits All

In it Together



This new book by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development highlights the key areas where inequalities are created and where new policies are required, including structural labour market changes, persisting gender gaps, the challenge of high wealth concentration, and the role for redistribution policies.


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Universal Rights, Differentiated Responsibilities

Universal RightsThis briefing from the Center for Economic and Social Rights and Third World Network sets out how human rights provide a normative framework that can help delineate the duties states have to cooperate with each other in the achievement of sustainable development commitments. The obligations of states to respect, protect and fulfil human rights extraterritorially, as well as domestically, offer a clear set of common standards to assess whether governments are upholding their common but differentiated responsibilities relating to sustainable development, including those of wealthier countries regarding SDG financing and means of implementation.

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Freedom of Association, Assembly and Natural Resource Exploitation

In his latest report  “Our resources, our rights”, Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai examines the role that the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association play in opening space for genuine and effective participation across the spectrum of natural resource exploitation activities. He also examines how these rights help foster increased transparency and accountability, facilitate constructive dialogue, and ultimately form the basis for people’s ability to secure other substantive rights.



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Now Available: Global Humanitarian Assistance report 2015

The Global Humanitarian Assistance (GHA) report 2015 shows that poverty and vulnerability to crises are intrinsically linked and that international humanitarian assistance continues to go predominantly to long-term recipients. This emphasises the need to build resilience, address the underlying causes of crisis and meet the long-term needs of people affected by crisis. For this to happen, a shared responsibility between humanitarian, development, climate change and other actors is critical as is the mobilisation of other resources beyond humanitarian assistance.

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Development Unplugged successfully launched, looking for contributors!

The new blog in Huffington Post Canada on international development and other global issues, Development Unplugged, has generated a lot of interest -and great articles!- since it was launched 2 months ago. Posts on voluntourism, women's rights, food security and the use of humour to talk about serious topics are among the issues that have been covered so far! Make sure that you follow the blog for inspiring and cutting edge articles on global challenges, and contribute to it by submitting an article to Chantal Havard at CCIC.

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Aid Donors' Flagship Investment Deal Causing Hardship and Displacement for Tanzanian Farmers

The British company Agrica, funded by DFID and others, has set up an industrial rice plantation in Mngeta, Tanzania, which is, according to a new research, destroying the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, driving them into debt and impacting the local environment. The Oakland Institute has released the report, in collaboration with Greenpeace Africa and Global Justice Now. Agrica’s rice plantation in Tanzania has been used as a showcase project of the G8’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition and the Southern Agriculture Growth Corridor of Tanzania. But the new report, Irresponsible Investment – Agrica’s Broken Development Model in Tanzania, documents a catalogue of devastating impacts on local communities.

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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.