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Does size matter? Of course it does! And here are my top 4 reasons why 

Julia SanchezOne of the tangible consequences of having a new government in Ottawa, true with any new government, is that words that once felt like they were almost outlawed are now acceptable and every day talk. In our world of international cooperation, words such as "sexual and reproductive rights", "feminism", "stakeholder consultation","advocacy" and others abound. The first couple of times one hears them (or says them out loud!), and no one seems to react, you feel a bit strange. But then it becomes the new old normal again.  

One subject which was banned from conversations in our field was “aid budget increase”. It was a non-starter, deal breaker and guaranteed spoiler. Someone who had been away during recent years was shocked by the lack of questioning, let alone criticism, of who the Peter was that was being robbed to pay Paul with every new funding announcement. As I explained to him at the time, the options had become either the money gets spent in a new priority, or it lapses. So spending was generally seen as a better outcome, even though the budget was continually declining. Asking for or expecting the budget to increase had become pointless.   

I remember feeling like a radical ideologue when at the MNCH summit in May 2014 I dared question the assumption that the investments in private sector innovations for MNCH could continue, let alone grow, without greater official development assistance or ODA. What I was saying sounded almost like heresy, especially when the parliamentary secretary that introduced the session started off by assuring us that ODA was in decline, and would continue to do so, and that therefore we needed more of the private sector innovations. And yet every single one of the stories was a success thanks to an initial break provided through ODA funding. At the time I recall writing that our Prime Minister needed to understand that size did matter, even for his own top priorities.  

We now seem to have a government that understands that size does matter, and that if Canada wants to 1) be a global leader, 2)  exert influence and earn its seat at the international table, 3) continue calling for greater engagement of other stakeholders (private sector, developing country governments, civil society, etc.), and 4) make an equal or better contribution than its peers, then it needs to lead by example and stop being the laggard that we have become over the last 20 years on the ODA front.  

Prime Minister Trudeau unveiled his new government by announcing that "Canada is back". He and his fellow Ministers clearly believe that Canada has a constructive role to play on the global stage, and that this role is critical to our own national interests, as well as to making an important contribution to the world in tackling global challenges. However we cannot "be back" in any substantive or sustained manner if we do not increase our ODA to be at least at par with our peers - currently we are towards the bottom of the pile of OECD and G7 countries.  

So how can and should this be done? We are calling on the Government of Canada to commit to annual increases in the International Assistance Envelope (IAE) so as to reassert our place on the global stage as a generous and strategic donor country. Canada's IAE has been flat-lined for the last number of years, as our recent ODA budget brief shows. A multi-year calendar, with incremental growth to the IAE will position us at the head of the pack of donor countries, instead of at the back.  This calendar should have the longer term aim of getting Canada to the 0.7% international target within at most a ten year period. If the UK can do it, as well as Norway and Sweden, we surely can too.   

At Davos, our new Prime Minister did us proud. He inspired with his words and his actions. He spoke of Canada and the opportunities that it holds in more holistic and comprehensive ways than we have heard in a while. And he broached issues like feminism and inequality in ways that showed a high level of personal commitment.  He also was one of the few leaders at Davos that actually met with civil society. And in a couple of those meetings he acknowledged the importance of increasing the aid budget.  

We are ready to propose different ways, different rationales if you will, of how the aid budget can be increased in a predictable and consistent manner. And we will continue to talk about this, write about it, ask for it and contribute to making this the new normal in Canada. And size matters, it is not all that matters - we need to ensure that we have sound policies, cutting edge strategies and reliable monitoring and evaluation mechanisms in place to ensure that the growing aid budget is contributing to enhanced development outcomes on the ground.



In solidarity,

Twitter: @JSanchezCCIC

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


Out now: “Transforming our world: Canadian perspectives on the Sustainable Development Goals”

Transforming our WorldWith 2016 comes the implementation of the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted last September at the United Nations. At the time, the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) in collaboration with the Canadian International Development Platform (CIDP), put together a blog series through Huffington Post’s Development Unplugged to collect perspectives of Canadian experts from domestic and international organizations on the new agenda and its 17 goals. Given the popularity of the blog series, CCIC has compiled these articles into an English and French publication, updating all the short essays, and including a new longer overview that ties them all together. There are four new articles exclusive to the booklet – providing children, disability, indigenous and youth perspectives on the new Agenda, as well as a short guide to help University and College professors use the publication to facilitate class discussions. Download your copy now!

New publication by CCIC working groups

New publication by CCIC working groupsIn December, CCIC’s three working groups – the Africa-Canada Forum, the Americas Policy Group and the Asia-Pacific Working Group – launched a brief exploring the relationship between investor lawsuits and human rights. Written by Denis Côté, this brief draws upon existing literature in the field, as well as consultations with member organizations and original case studies from Africa, Asia and Latin America. The brief sheds light on the impact of more than 3,000 International Investment Agreements (IIAs) signed globally, which have given way to over 608 Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) claims. It seeks to answer the question: how can we ensure that investor rights don't take precedence over human rights in the international legal regime? The report draws attention to unequal enforcement powers between human rights treaties and IIAs, highlights the limited review and accountability mechanisms attached to the adoption and implementation of IIAs, and proposes concrete measures to address these problems.

The end of political activities audit program

The Canadian government announced in January the winding down of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) political activities audit program for charitable organizations. The audit program had imposed significant administrative and financial burdens, as well as stigma and fear, on civil society without adding any clarity to Canada’s vague regulations restricting political activities by charitable organizations. The ministerial announcement noted that the program revealed substantial compliance with rules governing charities’ political activities. The announcement also committed to a public stakeholder engagement process to refine and clarify these rules. CCIC looks forward to following and participating in this process as part of our efforts to build and maintain an enabling environment for Canadian civil society.

Update on the SDGs process

Update on SDGs ProcessJanuary marks the shift from global dialogue, to action and implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Work on the indicators – conducted by the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDGs has almost been completed. The International Aid Transparency Initiative, the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, the UN Global Compact, and a range of UN and regional bodies, are beginning to explore how they integrate the new 2030 agenda into their work. Beyond 2015 has archived its website – usefully documenting their story, their impact and what they learned - and launched Together 2030 – a new informal campaign focused entirely on country implementation. The Secretary General just appointed SDG advocates to help popularize the agenda and released the Report of the Secretary-General on critical milestones towards coherent, efficient and inclusive follow-up and review at the global level. In Canada, the government recently released its summary report of the consultation hosted in partnership with CCIC and the Canadian Association of International Development Professionals on Canada’s post-2015 development priorities, and a summary report of comments received in response to its online request for feedback on Canada’s post-2015 agenda, to which CCIC and many of its member organizations contributed. Next up: Canada’s plan for implementing the SDGs at home and overseas!

Workshop on Public Engagement organized by GAC

On January 12, Global Affairs Canada (GAC, through Global Citizens Program) organized a workshop on Public Engagement, aimed at dialogue and knowledge exchange on engaging Canadians. The workshop brought together 20 participants from a range of organizations, and featured two panels: the first on lessons learned and results, with presentations from the Inter-Council Network, Plan Canada and Uniterra; the second on Working in Synergy and Innovation, with presentation from the Aga Khan Foundation Canada, the Canadian Red Cross and the Canadian Network for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. Participants reiterated the importance of public engagement and discussed the need to work from a common framework and use common indicators to measure our impact. The meeting was presented by GAC as the first one of a series of discussions and consultations on public engagement. Some notes from the meeting have been put together by Chantal Havard and will be circulated to CCIC members.

Shadow Ministerial Brief

CCIC issued an open brief to the Minister of International Development in January, focusing on some of the priority international development challenges and policy areas that Canadian civil society organizations (CSOs) have been addressing over the past few years. It provides a short background on each issue, and identifies where we have made progress and where there are still gaps. Finally, it puts forward concrete proposals of what Global Affairs Canada (GAC), in collaboration with CSOs, can do to move this agenda forward – five proposals for the first hundred days and five for the first year. It also calls for a new strategic partnership between GAC and CCIC to help implement this ambitious but pragmatic agenda. CCIC believes these proposals will further enhance the capacity of Canadian CSOs to realize their full potential as independent development actors in their own right. The brief is available here.

First CCIC Women Leaders' Forum

On March 10 and 11 in Ottawa, CCIC will hold its first ever Women Leaders’ Forum! The event is directed to women leaders in the sector who want to improve their communications and writing skills and hear from other inspiring women. Although women bring a unique and important perspective to public discourse and the development of public policies, their voice is often under-represented and there are constraints which limit their active participation. In order to equip women leaders with the skills and confidence to participate more effectively in the public discourse surrounding international development, CCIC is partnering with a consulting firm to organize an exciting day and a half. The agenda includes a discussion on lobbying government and a meeting with women MPs, an evening event -open to all- with a panel of women who have influenced public policies, as well as a full day workshop on communications skills. Number of participants is limited! More information on CCIC Women Leaders Forum will soon be available here.

International Cooperation Days 2016

Join us in Ottawa for stimulating and engaging discussions, presentations and debates! The 2016 CCIC Annual Conference will bring together key stakeholders from the international development and humanitarian relief communities to discuss the critical and cutting-edge issues that influence and inspire the sector. Back by popular demand is the Emerging Leaders Network pre-conference workshop, the University of Ottawa co-sponsored Public Event and the CCIC Awards Dinner. We are also pleased to announce that, as we did last year, CCIC will be working with CAIDP to co-host a thematic civil society consultation with Global Affairs Canada (GAC). For the past two years CCIC and CAIDP have hosted joint conferences with great success. This year, while the 2016 Public Event and the Global Affairs Canada consultation will be hosted jointly, both organizations have decided to host separate conferences, although in the same week and under the common banner of "International Cooperation Days 2016". As the Conference approaches, please stay tuned for exciting updates and further information!

Emerging Leaders Network Update

ELN LogoThe ELN, a peer-led and collaborative group supported by the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) is thrilled to launch its first logo and will soon launch its new CCIC website page! We invite you to take a moment to learn about the Network’s objectives and current activities. The ELN is also pleased to announce that it has created a pilot Mentoring Program running from January - June 2016. This initial six-month program will help Emerging Leaders develop new skills, build their professional networks, learn from the experiences of established leaders and identify next steps for their careers. Please contact Michelle Bested for further information about the ELN!

Meeting with Erik Solheim, Chair, OECD-DAC

meeting with ErikOn January 13, CCIC (in collaboration with Aga Khan Foundation Canada) convened a meeting between Canadian international civil society organizations and Erik Solheim, Chair of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (OECD-DAC). During the wide-ranging conversation, CSOs shared perspectives on the state of Canadian aid, development and humanitarian policy since the last OECD peer review in Canada in 2012, as well as on pressing topics currently before the OECD-DAC. All participants expressed hope that Canada’s new government would demonstrate its commitment to leadership on global development cooperation through concrete steps including annual and predictable increases to our aid budget, policy coherence to ensure sustainable development,  and a constructive Canadian role around key global challenges like the 2030 sustainable development goals and the Paris Climate Agreement. CSOs also emphasized the value and expertise that civil society can bring to policy development and implementation.

Ministerial roundtable on humanitarian assistance

Ministerial roundtableOn December 3, CCIC joined a dozen other organizations for an initial meeting with Minister of International Development Marie-Claude Bibeau on humanitarian assistance. Participants emphasized their appreciation of the minister’s and her government’s commitment to dialogue and consultation with stakeholders. They also noted both the opportunities and challenges facing the new government as it seeks to put Canada back on the global map while engaging with Agenda 2030, the Paris Climate Agreement, a growing humanitarian crisis in Syria, and record numbers of people affected and displaced by war, poverty and climate change. Participants emphasized the importance of Canada’s adherence to humanitarian principles; opportunities for Canadian leadership on good humanitarian donorship, gender, climate change and education; and the value of strengthening collaboration between government and civil society through increased transparency and predictability of humanitarian funding, in line with Canada’s CSO partnership strategy. The Minister expressed interest in humanitarian assistance and reinforced her commitment to continued engagement and consultation. CCIC is pleased to be resuming its engagement in humanitarian affairs.

International Development Week 2016 - February 7-13

International Development WeekInternational Development Week (IDW) 2016 is just around the corner! IDW was created by the former Canadian International Development Agency more than 25 years ago, to celebrate Canada's development community and the work of Canada in international development. IDW brings together organizations and individuals who are making a difference in the world. The Provincial and Regional Councils for International Development are actively involved in IDW, organizing events and promoting youth engagement, along with their members. Organizations who want to promote an event taking place during IDW can contact Chantal Havard.

Report to Parliament on the Government of Canada's Official Development Assistance — 2014-2015

The 2014-15 Official Development Assistance Report to Parliament was released in December by the Government of Canada, in accordance with the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act. On a positive note, the report has moved away from reporting by Department to a format organized around programming, operational and thematic priorities – giving a better sense of the whole-of-government approach the Act has tried to foster. According to the report’s provisional numbers the total level of (Federal) ODA is forecast to increase in 2014-15 to $5.37 billion, or roughly 5.7 billion if you include estimates for provincial and municipal contributions to Canadian ODA (up from $4.9 billion in 2013-14). However, as observed in a recent CCIC policy brief, this increase reflects one-off expenditures on concessional loans and organizational payments rather than sustainable increases to the international assistance envelope – a better proxy for programmatic spending on poverty reduction on the ground. Furthermore, the ODA Report shows that Department of Finance spending counted as ODA increased by nearly $800m while DFATD/GAC spending was flat.

Welcome to Gavin Charles who joins CCIC team as Policy Officer!

Gavin CharlesWe are thrilled to welcome Gavin Charles to our team as Policy Officer. Gavin started this month, and brings great policy and research experience, including time working with Members of Parliament on both sides of the House of Commons. Prior to that, Gavin worked briefly as a Research Assistant at the Centre for Foreign Policy Studies, before completing his Masters in International Relations at the London School fo Economics. He will be primarily working with Fraser Reilly-King on a range of policy files, including humanitarian assistance. This is particularly exciting as the 2015 CCIC Member Survey highlighted policy analysis and leadership as a key area of interest to members and an important role for CCIC. With Gavin’s support, we will be able to continue to produce high-quality, useful and current analysis on a range of issues relevant to our members.


Job posting services offered by CCIC

Job Posting ServiceDid you know that CCIC Employment Section is the most popular one on our website? Hundreds of people visit it each day. CCIC offers advertising options to non-profit organizations, as well as to companies and government departments. If you wish to post a job opening in international development and humanitarian assistance on CCIC site, you can do so by sending the information at The cost for posting an ad is $90 for CCIC members (who also benefit from 2 free postings per year), and $180 for non-member NGOs. CCIC members can also buy bulk job posting packages. You will find more details here.

MEMBER PROFILE: Farm Radio International

Development and Peace's David Leduc
Kevin Perkins and colleagues meet with members of a farmer's group in Segou, Mali to discuss the impact of a community radio program about composting.

This month CCIC met with Kevin Perkins, the Executive Director of Farm Radio International to discuss World Radio Day and their upcoming Boom Box event, priorities for the new government, why radio is here to stay and much more!

Radio is at the heart of Farm Radio International's mandate and work. Please explain how Radio is a catalyst for change.

The demise of radio has been predicted for a long time and some assume it is already as good as dead. The thing is, it’s not true! Radio is more popular in sub-Saharan Africa than ever. In fact, even the cheapest mobile phones house a built-in radio that can be listened to for free for as long as the phone has power.  Radio’s inherent benefits make it relevant: it reaches people wherever they live; it does not require literacy; it is often broadcast in local languages; it permits multi-tasking.

If rural folk listened to radio, but only to music, sports, sermons, or daily presidential announcements . . . well, that wouldn’t make it a bad thing, but it would make it a questionable target for development investments.

But the evidence we have gathered through dozens of projects and thousands of interviews with farmers assures us that, indeed, development-oriented radio programs are very widely listened to (on average, about 35% of potential listeners will tune into such programs) and have a demonstrable impact on the knowledge of listeners. Typically, people who have listened to these radio programs will score 20% better on knowledge quizzes than those who did not listen.  The broadcasts also lead large numbers of people to try a new practice featured in a radio program.  Typically, we find that people living in communities exposed to these programs are five times more likely to apply a new practice than those who live in similar communities that are not exposed to the radio program.  And, they are very effective in capturing and amplifying the experiences, opinions and needs of small-scale farmers through recorded discussions, call-in shows, and polls.  Given that one radio program can reach anywhere from 10,000 to 10 million farmers, there is no better way to take promising new initiatives to scale. It is one of the most cost-effective investments you can make if your goal is to catalyze change.

      Read More


A New Year's Resolution: 0.7 percent by 2020 – RESULTS Canada

A New Year's ResolutionRESULTS Canada recently launched a campaign asking the federal government to achieve the target of 0.7 percent of national income dedicated to development assistance by 2020--50 years after former Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson first set the bar. RESULTS suggests different ways to take action, including submitting a petition to Parliament, asking your MP to write a letter to the Minister of Finance, or spreading the word online.

RESULTS Canada 2016 Conference: Voices that Change the World

Results Canada 2016 ConferenceThe RESULTS Canada National Conference is a biennial event that brings together Canadians, global experts, seasoned advocates and key decision-makers to learn, inspire and empower participants to create a more just world. The 2016 conference speakers include Julie Delahanty, Executive Director of Oxfam Canada, Amanda Sussman, author of The Art of the Possible: A Handbook for Political Activism, and Desmond Cole, Toronto Star columnist and co-host of CANADALAND: Commons. For more information, you may contact

Share your Welcome. Show Your Care – CARE Canada

Share your WelcomeCARE Canada is asking Canadians to create a short 15-second video welcoming Syrian refugees and telling them what you think they will love about Canada.  The video must then be uploaded to

Artist for Change: the Together Art Contest - Aga Khan Foundation Canada

Artist for ChangeAga Khan Foundation Canada is looking for talented Canadians to create a piece of artwork showing why you care about global development for their travelling exhibition Together: An exhibition on global development. Visitors are invited to climb aboard and explore a custom-built transport truck with 1,000 square feet of exhibition space, travelling coast-to-coast for two years. The winning artist will get to attend the launch of Together’s 2016 tour in British Columbia, have their art displayed in the exhibition for six months as it travels across Canada, and receive a $500 gift certificate for art supplies.

Ending tax havens – Oxfam-Québec

Oxfam QuébecEach year, developing countries lose 170 billion because of tax havens. Each dollar lost is a missed opportunity to fight poverty and inequality, here and abroad. In the context of a public consultation that will be launched in March and continue throughout the year, Oxfam-Québec will be submitting this petition to the Governments of Canada and Quebec.


New in Development Unplugged

Development UnpluggedThe latest articles published in CCIC's blog Development Unplugged include a reflection on  redefining how we measure success in international development; the last article from the SDG series on goal number 7; as well as two articles on the COP21 meeting in Paris: the first one on climate justice and how developing countries are disproportionally affected by climate change, and the second one on how we can make the most of Canada's contribution of $2.65 billion to help developing countries adapt to climate change and mitigate the impacts . Contributors to Development Unplugged are always welcome and can submit their articles to Chantal Havard.

New tools for working with the SDGs

New Tools for working with SDGsThe Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) has launched SDG.Guide, "Getting Started with the SDGs," an online resource and a booklet that aims to help stakeholders, including national and local governments, businesses, academia and civil society, understand the 2030 Agenda, start an inclusive dialogue on SDG implementation, and prepare SDG-based national development strategies. The Millennium Institute has launched an Integrated Sustainable Development Goals Planning Model (iSDG) to support the analysis of scenarios to better integrate and connect the different goals and targets in policy and programme design.

Government makes it easy to transmit e-petitions

Government makes it easy to Transmit e-petitionsWelcome to 2016! The Parliament of Canada has created a new section website that makes it easy for organizations and individuals to create and share online petitions. The section provides reference documents, such as practical procedural guides and technical guides, as well as the different Terms of Use for e-petitions.

Human Rights: What the new Government of Canada must do

Human Rights:What the new Government of Canada must doElected on October 19 with a majority, the new federal government has a critical opportunity to reengage with constitutional protections and see through numerous campaign commitments. Voices-Voix published a list of human rights issues that the Government of Canada should be addressing based on the 110 case studies that Voices-Voix has researched and published over the years.

Amnesty International’s Human Rights Agenda for a new Canadian Government

The change in government following the October 2015 federal election must now become the catalyst for a new approach and strengthened commitment to improving Canada’s domestic and international human rights record, Amnesty International said with the release of its 2016 Human Rights Agenda for Canada: Defending Rights for All today, International Human Rights Day.

Year in Review: 2015 in 12 charts

Now that we've reached the end of 2015, it's clear this was a year of major milestones, emerging trends, and new beginnings. Among other things, 2015 marked a historic drop in poverty, a major climate change agreement, and record low child and maternal mortality rates. Take a look at what the data collected by the World Bank show.

Everything you wanted to know about aid!

Everything you wanted to know about AidIn the context of the United Kingdom realizing 0.7, and faced with a backlash against this commitment to the world’s poor, UK National Platform BOND has released, Aid-Z: The No Nonsense Guide to UK Aid and Development. The guide aims to provide accessible information, objective arguments and analysis to counter this misinformation and explore how the UK can most effectively fulfil its historic commitment to the world’s poorest and most disadvantaged people and communities.

Africa the biggest loser in IFFs - new GFI study reveals

Africa the biggest loser in IFFsThis report from Global Financial Integrity, “Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2004-2013,” finds that developing and emerging economies lost US$7.8 trillion in illicit financial flows from 2004 through 2013, with illicit outflows increasing at an average rate of 6.5 percent per year—nearly twice as fast as global GDP.

New documentary: Poverty, INC.

New Documentary Poverty IncDrawing from over 200 interviews filmed in 20 countries, POVERTY, INC. has earned over 40 international film festival honors including a "Best of Fests" selection to IDFA Amsterdam - the biggest documentary festival in the world. From TOMs Shoes to international adoptions, from solar panels to U.S. agricultural subsidies, the film challenges each of us to ask the tough question: Could I be part of the problem?

Financialization – A Primer

Financialization- A primer




The Transnational Institute has produced aBeginner’s guide to financialisation: how it works, how it shapes our lives, the forces that lie behind it, and how we can resist.” Its intent is to provide a good intro to the nature, reasons, and impact of the overall growth of financialisation of our economy.


International Cooperation Days 2016
May 10, 2016 Evening Public Event co-hosted with University of Ottawa and CAIDP

May 11-12, 2016 CCIC Annual Conference - Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health

May 13, 2016 Global Affairs Canada Consultation
Save the date!

First CCIC Women’s Leaders’ Forum
March 10-11, 2016
Save the date!


2016 Ottawa Forum: Building a Foreign Policy for Canada’s Future – CIPS / Canada 2020
Ottawa, Ontario
Januray 28-29, 2016

Ending HIV through Innovation
Ottawa, Ontario
February 3, 2016

2016 International Development Week
February 7-13, 2016

Canada on the Global Stage: Exploring Canada's Image and Role in the World
Montreal, Quebec
February 11-12, 2016

BoomBox: A live webcast about change in the world of radio
Ottawa, Ontario
February 13, 2016

RESULTS Canada 2016 Conference: Voices that Change the World
Ottawa, Ontario
April 16-17, 2016

Save the date! Smart Global Development conference
Ottawa, Ontario
April 13-14, 2016

CIVICUS International Civil Society Week: Active Citizens, Accountable Actions
Bogotá, Colombia
April 25-28, 2016

2016 CALACS Conference: Hybrid Communities, Societies, Spaces, and Subjectivities
Calgary, Alberta
June 1-3, 2016

2016 World Social Forum
Montreal, Quebec
August 9-14, 2016

2016 Canadian Humanitarian Conference: Canada’s role as a humanitarian actor on the global stage
Ottawa, Ontario
October 6-7, 2016

If you have an item for Flash!, you may send it to Chantal Havard. Please note that items should be no longer than 150 words.

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