Americas Policy Group Member Meeting
November 23-24, 2015
For more information: Stacey Gomez
KAIROS Forum on Fracking
Vancouver & Moncton, Canada
October 30-31, 2015
The Iceman Goeth: Results of the 42nd Canadian Federal Elections
October 20, 2015
Well, we did it Canada! We came out in record numbers to vote (especially the youth and first nations - wonderful!). We elected more women, first nations and visible minorities than ever before, and we sent a loud and clear collective signal that we were ready for change - including in areas that are important to the international development community such as climate change, human rights, and more generally Canada's role in the world.
The new parliament will be led by a Liberal caucus that is committed to a more activist role for government - poised to stimulate the economy, expand the budget to provide much needed services in priority areas, and re-engage on a host of international issues. The opportunities for action are enormous, and we now have the task of prioritizing our asks and accompanying these with concrete proposals for action in order to move our agenda forward.
During the last years, despite a generally constrained and constraining environment at the federal level, we have made steady progress towards re-establishing constructive dialogue with our main government counterpart, DFATD, including on issues around strengthening the enabling environment for Canadian and global civil society organizations. This includes consolidating constructive and institutionalized dialogue and consultation, establishing more responsive and predictable funding mechanisms for civil society, and ensuring that the regulatory and legislative frameworks that exist facilitate, rather than hinder, the important work of civil society. Now we need to build on this progress, as synthesized in the CSO Partnership Strategy adopted by DFATD last February, and take things to the next level.
We have several key resources and an ideal domestic and international context to do this in. First of all, as we welcome our 42nd parliament the world is gearing up to implement a new, bold and ambitious global development agenda. The timing could not be better - we have a newly elected government that has committed to putting Canada back in a leadership position on the global stage, and we have a new global agenda that will require such leadership from all countries, including Canada.
In the lead-up to the formulation and adoption of Agenda 2030, CCIC and many of its members were actively engaged in promoting dialogue on and influencing the new framework, especially via our WeCanDoBetter2015 campaign which was linked to the global civil society campaign Beyond 2015. The main ask of that campaign was for enhanced leadership from Canada on the global stage and in particular with respect to the implementation of the new development agenda. The campaign also focused on three key areas of interest for our sector: women's rights and gender equality, climate change and environmental sustainability, and inequality and human rights.
The We Can Do Better 2015 campaign was not oblivious to the fact that we were about to elect a new parliament in 2015, at the same time as this ambitious agenda was to be adopted in the United Nations. So we called upon our members and allies to mobilize in order to elect Members of Parliament that care about sustainable development and were willing to commit to addressing the outstanding challenges at home as well as abroad.
As one of the final initiatives of our campaign before the elections, we to send out the campaign questionnaire to the Leaders of all main political parties, asking them to explain how their party would respond to the key challenges of the new agenda were they to lead the next government. We got a very robust response from the Liberal Party of Canada (if you did not see it yet, read it here), which provides us with a solid basis for engagement moving forward.
At CCIC we are prepared to engage the new government and collaborate fully on putting Canada back on the world stage as a leader in international cooperation - including showing early and determined leadership on adopting and implementing Agenda 2030. We have identified first key steps that need to be taken in order for collaboration between our sector and the new government to get off to the right start, and we will be communicating these in coming weeks.
For now, I want to emphasize the importance of seeing our sector as a key stakeholder and establishing clear and sustained lines of communication, dialogue and consultation with CCIC and its members. A first step in this direction should include the naming of the Advisory Council to the Minister of International Development shortly after the new cabinet is formed, and second, the quick reaffirmation of the commitment to reverse the cuts to the Official Development Assistance budget that we have seen over recent years. Third, the new government should move swiftly to put an end to any and all restrictive measures towards civil society groups in Canada so that they can contribute fully to this new global and national moment.
We have our work cut out for us - and we at CCIC look very much forward to some exciting and productive month and years ahead!
And by the way… I am now on Twitter! Follow me @JsanchezCCIC
Do you have any reactions to this column? I’d like to hear from you! Please send any comments to Julia Sanchez.
Foreign policy and Canada’s role in the world were discussed a lot in the recent federal elections. The first ever Munk Debate on Foreign Affairs, other leaders’ debates, as well as local debates, all provided opportunities to discuss issues such as the Syrian refugee crisis, security and terrorism, Canada and the UN, and, to a lesser extent, our engagement in international development. A number of reports and articles were also published, focussing on the importance for Canada to re-engage -or to engage differently- in the world. CCIC, as part of the “We Can Do Better 2015” campaign, sent a questionnaire to the five main parties to assess how they would address poverty and inequality in the context of the new Global Goals. We received answers from four of the parties. The results are captured in a report published on October 16. Other organizations ran a similar exercise, such as the Association québécoise des organismes de coopération internationale, the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability, and CoDev. Now that we know that the Liberal Government will be leading the country for the next four years, these reports will be very useful to hold this new government accountable.
Join us May 11-12 in Ottawa for two days of stimulating and engaging discussions, presentations and debates! The 2016 CCIC Annual Conference will bring together key stakeholders from the international development and humanitarian relief community to discuss the critical and cutting-edge issues that influence and inspire the sector. The 2016 Conference will provide an excellent opportunity to raise the profile of our sector and its important work, engage with various stakeholders, hear and learn from our Southern partners and further strengthen collaboration, information sharing and capacity across the sector. Back by popular demand is the DFATD consultation, the University of Ottawa sponsored Public Event and the CCIC Awards Dinner. In addition, many exciting key note speakers, workshops and networking opportunities await. Mark your calendars. You do not want to miss this event!
US platform InterAction has long been a pioneer in promoting transparency in the work of their member organizations. This year they published to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). And their NGO Aid Map – which features almost 4000 programs from 95 member organizations around the world – sets the gold standard for accessible and user-friendly data on the activities of American civil society organizations working overseas. Now InterAction is looking to upgrade the software, making the content publishable to (IATI), and to expand who uses it to other national platforms. In September, CCIC, working with three students from Carleton University’s Capstone Seminar program, began a pilot process to consolidate the organizational info we have on each of our members and to begin to collect basic project info. Initially we will map the results using CartoDB, and in early 2016, we hope to transition these results to our own iteration of the InterAction platform.
Normally the 2014-15 Official Development Assistance Accountability Act Report (ODAAA) would be out. However, due to the election, it will only be tabled (and published) when Parliament resumes after the election. As per section 5 (1) of the ODAAA, the report must be tabled in Parliament within six months of the end of each fiscal year (September 30); or, if the House is not sitting at the time, within the first five days of the House’s return. The ODAAA provides provisional figures in terms of Canada’s official development assistance for 2014-15, ahead of the official figures released in March 2016 through the Statistical Report on International Assistance.
The federal election is over, but the campaign is not! With a new government in place, it will be important to maintain the pressure for change and to engage in constructive exchanges with the new Minister for International Development and other MPs. Among other things, this means we must make sure any new government implements the new Global Goals - and the central themes of the campaign - through sound policies, adequate funding and open dialogue. The next big moment of mobilization will be COP-21 in Paris, where we expect a strong commitment and positive contribution from Canada. We will continue to publish the campaign e-newsletter until the end of the year, and provide supporters with ideas and tools so that they can keep the campaign on all politicians’ radars! To see the direction the new Liberal government is planning on heading, check out its response to the CCIC elections questionnaire.
The CWG welcomes the historic announcement made by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC head Timochenko, which outlines their commitment to signing a final peace agreement within six months. This is an important step forward in ending an armed conflict that has lasted approximately 50 years and offers hope for a better future for ordinary Colombians. For those interested in the relationship between human rights and Canadian trade in Colombia, check out the CWG’s new report and accompanying factsheets here. The CWG includes members of the Americas Policy Group, Common Frontiers and the Canadian Labour Congress.
It is with some sadness that we inform you that Kimberly resigned from her position as Coordinator of the Africa-Canada Forum earlier this month. In her two years at the ACF, Kimberly has contributed to important pieces of research, including mapping aid flows to sub-Saharan Africa; she established a popular bi-monthly newsletter which curated stories on Africa; she piloted an annual exchange between Canadian CSOs and officials from the Africa branch of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development; she organized numerous events profiling the voices and perspectives of African organizations and individuals on a range of issues; and she helped strengthen the network of Canadian civil society organizations engaging in the African continent. Kimberly has now decided to invest more time in her other professional passion - developing her existing massage clinic into a full-fledged enterprise. CCIC wishes to thank Kimberly for her dedication and the energy she devoted as the ACF coordinator. We wish her the very best in her new endeavours.
This month CCIC met with James Hicks, the National Coordinator of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities to discuss the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the SDGs and the need for an ODA disability policy, among other things!
CCIC: For our readers who are unfamiliar with the Council of Canadians with Disabilities could you briefly describe the work you do, particularly at the international level.
CCD has been involved internationally for many years. One of its first international endeavors occurred at the 1980 Rehabilitation International (RI) Congress, which took place in Winnipeg. When RI rejected the proposal of delegates with disabilities to have people with disabilities make up 50% of the board of directors, activists within CCD, along with people with disabilities from other countries, resolved to form their own international organization. In 1981, the UN International Year of Disabled Persons, Disabled Peoples' International (DPI) was founded in Singapore and Canadians have held positions on the board and in development roles.CCD formed an International Committee that fostered partnerships between CCD member groups and DPI member groups. In addition, CCD has undertaken development education with Canadians and development NGOS, sharing information about how war and conflict contribute to disablement and how people with disabilities can be overlooked in development programming, if development organizations do not take care to ensure their programming is inclusive of people with disabilities. To address this issue the CCD International Committee encouraged the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to develop a disability policy to guide Canada's official development assistance endeavours.
The Centre for international cooperation in health and development (CCISD), a Canadian not-for-profit corporation based in Quebec City, has been developing and managing international health projects since 1987. CCISD’s mission is to help sustainably improve the health of populations by strengthening health sector resources and supporting the community groups that work with these resources. With a unique range of experience, knowledge, and competencies in the health sector, CCISD has developed significant expertise in areas such as primary health care with a strong emphasis on maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH), the prevention of STIs/HIV/AIDS, and epidemiological surveillance.
The Journées québécoises de la solidarité internationale (JQSI) will take place on November 5-14 across Quebec. This year’s theme is about women standing together (Toutes ensemble) and is in addition to the Marche mondiale des femmes. Organized by AQOCI, in partnership with CSOs across Quebec, the activities of the 12 regional JQSI programs will offer many opportunities to share knowledge on issues affecting women here and abroad.
Spring into Song is an initiative of Canadian Foodgrains Bank and Musiklu. It is a highly accessible work comprised of music, narration, and projected images all linked by a common thematic thread of justice and the goal of ending hunger. The music requires minimal rehearsal commitments with maximum satisfaction for singers and musicians!
The Centre for International Studies and Cooperation (CECI) has recently created CECI’s Club des ambassadrices, made up of Quebec businesswomen. The Club’s mandate is to strengthen women’s entrepreneurship in countries targeted by CECI. In a French article published in Le Devoir during the electoral campaign, the Club des ambassadrices asked the parties to meet their commitments in terms of providing 0.7 % of GDP in international aid, and reposition Canada as a leader to fight poverty and exclusion.
CoDev is concerned over the recent detention of Feliciano Valencia, an indigenous leader with the Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca (ACIN). CoDev’s partner NOMADESC has worked closely with ACIN on various indigenous and human rights issues for many years. Feliciano Valencia was arrested on September 15th after participating in an indigenous education event in the city of Popayán. CoDev is inviting you to join them in sending a letter to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to request Feliciano Valencia’s immediate release.
Oxfam-Québec and its Youth Center (OJOQ) submitted a brief to the Quebec Government as part of the consultation for renewing Quebec’s Youth Policy. In order to feed the discussions and writing of the brief, Oxfam-Québec and OJOQ facilitated a round table and consultations on youth concerns and potential solutions to tackle inequalities.
The new sustainable development goals, or Global Goals as they are coming to be known, were adopted on September 25 at the United Nations. To promote, explain and unpack the goals, CCIC is publishing a special series in Development Unplugged, from late September to early November. Contributors include RESULTS Canada, WaterAid Canada, Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, academics and many others. Each article makes concrete suggestions on how Canada can focus its efforts both internationally and domestically to address each of the 17 goals.
Gathering together the best available projections, the ODI provides a ‘scorecard’ against 17 targets – one per goal. This shows that, without increased effort, none of the goals and examined targets will be met. The scorecard reveals how much faster progress will need to be, classing targets as needing ‘reform’, ‘revolution’ and ‘reversal’.
The UN Sustainable Development Summit, which adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, took place from 25-27 September 2015 at UN Headquarters in New York. The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) published a document which includes a brief history of the post-2015 development agenda, a report and analysis of the Summit, as well as upcoming meetings to keep an eye on.
A process is in place to develop a list of global indicators to underpin the targets for the new SDGs. Ultimately, the progress governments make towards the SDGs will be judged through by the indicators selected. These indicators are crucial to holding governments to account for their commitments. In response, the Centre for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has released a new briefing that explores how human rights should inform the selection of SDG indicators. This month the World Bank pledged to help 78 countries gather poverty data that will ultimately help inform the implementation of these indicators.
An important campaign was launched during the federal election, urging political leaders for a quick transition to low carbon economy. The Leap Manifesto is a non-partisan initiative which calls “for a Canada based on caring for each other and the planet, moving swiftly to a post-carbon future, upholding Indigenous rights, and pursuing economic justice for all”. The signatories include supporters from all political parties, united by the belief that now is the moment for a transformative agenda to come from outside electoral politics, to build a wave of popular support that will put real pressure on the new federal government.
Five years ago this month civil society organizations (CSOs) from around the world adopted the eight Istanbul Principles for CSO Development Effectiveness. To mark the occasion, the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness is hosting an event in Nairobi, Kenya, to hear from CSOs from around the world on how they have implemented the goals, as well as the challenges they have faced in doing so.
The High Level Political Forum, part of the UN’s Economic and Social Council, is the body responsible for follow-up and review of the new sustainable development goals. To ensure it is fit for purpose, and to solicit stakeholder views and recommendations on the governance of this new body, the Sustainable Development 2015 conducted a consultation at the global, regional and national levels to collect views of civil society and other non-government actors on what measures, architecture and engagement mechanisms would enable an ambitious, effective and inclusive HLPF.
Ahead of the World Conference on Disaster Management, taking place in June 2016 in Toronto, organizers have put out a call for papers. More details are available on the conference website.
Building on the 2008 collection The Harper Record, and continuing a 25-year tradition at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives of periodically examining the records of Canadian federal governments during their tenure, CCPA this month released The Harper Record 2008-2015. This book gives a detailed account of the laws, policies, regulations, and initiatives of the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper from 2008-2015.
Just ahead of this month's election, ONE released a nationwide phone poll of 1,000 eligible voter, which found that 54 percent of Liberals and 59 percent of New Democrats would be more likely to support a party that commits to reversing recent foreign aid cuts.
Imagine Canada published a brief which compiles examples of charities’ advocacy efforts and civic engagement strategies to inspire more sector-wide involvement both during and between future election campaigns. The brief mentions both CCIC and the We Can Do Better campaign.
The release in 2013 and 2014 of books (collections of short expert essays) on “The United Nations and Canada: What Canada has done and should be doing at the United Nations,” and the associated media coverage, left Canadians with a deeper understanding of the need for their government to be more actively involved on a range of global issues at the UN. In an election year, this 2015 collection of short articles by the World Federalists provides Canadians concerned about global governance and their country’s place in the world with an agenda of important policy initiatives that a future Canadian government should consider.
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Canadian Council for International Co-operation