|CCIC monthly e-bulletin: January 2016|
Does size matter? Of course it does! And here are my top 4 reasons why
One 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.Onward!
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”
With 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
In 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
Did 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 email@example.com. 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
MEMBERS IN ACTION
RESULTS 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.
The 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
CARE 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 www.showyoucare.ca.
Aga 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.
Each 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.
WORTH A LOOK
The 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.
The 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.
Elected 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.
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.
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.
In 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.
This 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.
Drawing 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?
The Transnational Institute has produced a “Beginner’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 11-12, 2016 CCIC Annual Conference - Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health
May 13, 2016 Global Affairs Canada Consultation
First CCIC Women’s Leaders’ Forum
2016 Ottawa Forum: Building a Foreign Policy for Canada’s Future – CIPS / Canada 2020
Ending HIV through Innovation
2016 International Development Week
Canada on the Global Stage: Exploring Canada's Image and Role in the World
BoomBox: A live webcast about change in the world of radio
RESULTS Canada 2016 Conference: Voices that Change the World
Save the date! Smart Global Development conference
CIVICUS International Civil Society Week: Active Citizens, Accountable Actions
2016 CALACS Conference: Hybrid Communities, Societies, Spaces, and Subjectivities
2016 World Social Forum
2016 Canadian Humanitarian Conference: Canada’s role as a humanitarian actor on the global stage
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.