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How transformational is this new era for international development?  

Julia SanchezWe will continue undoubtedly to debate how transformational or not the Sustainable Development Goals really aspire to be, are and will be over the coming 15 years and more. An honest short answer is probably: quite transformational but not transformational enough. “Quite” in that it does present us with an agenda that is significantly different than the one it replaces, and does point fingers at key issues that have been ignored or denied for too long, and that are fundamental for sustainable development. Climate change, inequality, universality. So lots to be excited and motivated about for a community dedicated to promoting global peace and prosperity.

“Not enough” in that it is hard to discount what critics are saying about the need to totally transform our current economic and political structures and production patterns if we are to do away with the perverse effects of precisely climate change and inequality. It is like once we have acknowledged the elephants in the room, how can we aspire to do away with their negative impact without attacking them in the most radical way possible?

But let me park the philosophizing about what is and could be for now - what about the more practical question of how prepared we are as international development stakeholders to keep pace with and meet the challenges posed by Agenda 2030, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the upcoming conclusions of the first ever World Humanitarian Summit? And what about the opportunities to change the course of Canada’s engagement with the world as contained in the promise of the new government that “Canada is back” – are we ready to take that on? Are we equipped to turn these opportunities into the most transformational agenda possible?

These are the questions that inform CCIC’s annual conference for 2016 entitled “Fit for purpose? CSO transformation for Agenda 2030” to be held in Ottawa from May 10th to 13th (see details here). We are starting from the premise that the answer to that question, of whether we are ready or fit-for-purpose is “no, not really” if nothing else because of the significantly different nature of the new global and national context, agendas and commitments. In November last year, a group that I am involved in published a paper where we concluded that the Canadian global sustainable development eco-system had its work cut out for it before it could take on, let alone play a leadership role in addressing, the new global challenges. And this includes government at all levels, academia, the private sector, philanthropists, and yes, even civil society.

At this year’s conference, we will roll up our collective sleeves and get to work on identifying the new policy, program and partnership assets that we need as we look forward to remaining a key and relevant stakeholder for Canada’s engagement in the world. We will explore the domestic and international implications of the new agendas, and work together on defining the capacity-building and enabling environment elements that we need to prioritize over the coming months to maximize our impact and effectiveness in this new era.

If you are prepared to be challenged, to challenge others in the spirit of solidarity, to venture into your zones of discomfort, and emerge re-energized and excited about the future of your organization and our sector, this conference is for you! Make sure you register early, take advantage of the early-bird and group discount rates, and clear your agenda for a week of stimulating events and networking, including: a free public event on the World Humanitarian Summit and the Emerging Leaders Network pre-conference, both on May 10th; 4 high-level plenary panels and 12 parallel workshops and events with over 30 international and national speakers  during our conference on May 11th and 12th; CCIC’s Gala Awards Dinner on May 11th; and a post-conference consultation with Global Affairs Canada on May 13th.

I am excited about the new prospects for our planet, international cooperation and the evolving role for our sector in all of this – and I look forward to sharing and increasing that excitement with you during the many events at our annual conference this May!

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.


Job openings in the sector… and CCIC on LinkedIn!

Jobs in the sectorYou are passionate about international development and humanitarian assistance and looking for exciting openings in the sector? Make sure that you visit CCIC's employment page! The University of Waterloo, World Renew and the International Development Research Centre, among others, are recruiting. And if your organization wants to post an ad, please send it to: Our employment page is one of the busiest! Also, make sure that you follow CCIC on LinkedIn, where we promote jobs in the sector, reports and trainings.

When it comes to our aid budget, Canada is back – but still far back

Finance Minister Bill MorneauIs Canada really back? This was the reaction from many in the international development community –including CCIC in its news release- following the announcement in Budget 2016 of a disappointingly modest increase to our aid budget of $256 million over two years. After five years of significant decline in Canada’s investments for addressing global development challenges, expectations were high to see the government reverse that decline. While the amounts are a move in the right direction, they are not enough to position Canada as a leader on the global stage. Furthermore, new funding for peace and security falls within the existing aid envelope, potentially along with the recent announcements on climate change and humanitarian assistance for Syria and Iraq, leaving even less space for future investments in poverty. As in past years, CCIC contributed the chapter on international development to the Alternative Federal Budget. Beyond funding, Budget 2016 also included a re-affirmation that, over the next year, the government will conduct a review of the international assistance policy framework. This will include consultation with Canadians and international aid organizations, and represents a critical opportunity for rationalizing the need for more and better investments in the context of Canada's renewed engagement with the world and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Tremendous success of CCIC Women Leaders' Forum!

Women Leaders' ForumOn March 10 and 11, CCIC organized its first ever Women Leaders' Forum, which brought together more than 50 women leaders from our sector as well as members of the Emerging Leaders Network. Focussed on enhancing the communications and advocacy skills of influential women in our sector (EDs and CEOs, spokespeople, communications managers), the Forum offered a full day of practical training with Shari Graydon from Informed Opinions, as well as half day of presentations and exchanges with seasoned political strategists on how to best engage the new government. Other important and inspiring highlights of the Forum included a lunch discussion with six women MP from the three main political parties, and the "Women Making Change Soirée" in partnership with the Canadian Museum of Nature. At the  Soirée, the first Karen Takacs Award for Women Leadership in International Development was received on Karen's behalf by Pam Jolliffe, in the presence of members of Karen's family, the Minister of Status of Women Patty Hajdu, as well as other MPs, senior bureaucrats from Global Affairs Canada and other representatives from the sector. A survey conducted after the Forum conveyed a very high level of satisfaction from participants, and a recommendation that CCIC holds another similar event in the future. Photos from the Women Leaders' Forum are available on CCIC Flickr account.

Whose rights are we protecting when it comes to trade and investment?

Who's Rights are we protectingGlobally, countries have signed more than 3,000 International Investment Agreements (IIAs). Investor rights enshrined in these agreements have already given way to over 608 Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) claims. How can we ensure that investor rights don't take precedence over human rights? What are the limitations to protecting human rights in our international legal system? How are countries in the Global South impacted by investor lawsuits? And what are some solutions to address these challenges? With, “Whose rights are we protecting? Ensuring the primacy of human rights over investor protections in the international legal regime,” is an accessible and timely backgrounder that answers these questions. Produced by the Canadian Council for International Co-operation’s three Regional Working Groups – the Africa-Canada Forum, the Americas Policy Group and the Asia-Pacific Working Group – the backgrounder draws upon existing literature in the field, and upon the experience of member organizations and a range of Canadian experts on trade and investment. Explanations of the different legal mechanisms are accompanied by illustrative examples from the African, Asian and Latin American contexts.

World Humanitarian Summit

World Humanitarian SummitOn May 23-24 – less than two months from now – the international community will unite in Istanbul for the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS). CCIC is working closely with its members and others to share information, liaise with government, and coordinate civil society action. The WHS is a key moment in international cooperation for this year and beyond – a fact CCIC is marking by hosting a free public event on the WHS in association with our annual conference, International Cooperation Days 2016. As details about the Summit process and the Canadian delegation continue to emerge, we will advocate for strong representation of Canadian civil society at the Summit, and thorough consultations by the government before and after, in line with the International Development and Humanitarian Assistance Civil Society Partnership Policy. CCIC advocates strongly for more stable, predictable, and long-term Canadian humanitarian funding, most recently in our 2016 pre-budget submission to the Minister of Finance and the House of Commons. The WHS is a key opportunity for the federal government to commit to stengthening Canada’s humanitarian assistance, including by implementing a clear policy for humanitarian assistance.

Upcoming Canadian Policy Review – CCIC begins consultation process with members

The first priority under International Development Minister Bibeau’s mandate letter is to “create a new policy and funding framework to guide Canada’s aid decisions”. This review represents a huge opportunity for the civil society community to shape and inform the future directions of Canadian global sustainable development programming and policy. At the end of March, CCIC convened a webinar with members to share information on the scope and process of the review and to begin to get input from members on the sector's priorities. The government consultation process is scheduled to take place from mid-April to mid-June, with a scoping paper, 6-8 thematic stakeholder roundtables, and a public online consultation. The final desired outcome from the process is still unclear, but it will undoubtedly inform the government’s  vision for development and humanitarian assistance moving forward as well as Budget 2017. CCIC will work closely with its members and other stakeholders in coming months to ensure that civil society's wealth of knowledge and expertise shapes the process and outcomes.

CRA Updates

CCIC has been busy over the past few months engaging with CRA and other government departments on many different issues affecting Canadian charities including, direction and control, anti-terrorism legislation, political activities as well as the various commitments included in several Ministerial mandate letters and the 2016 Federal Budget.  Members will be interested to note that CRA will be conducting a public consultation on political activities in early spring. Once the consultation is launched, CCIC will mobilize its members to prepare a sector submission. Please stay tuned for more information.

Rocky days in Brussels as CPDE plans for upcoming High Level Meeting

Rocky days in BrusselCCIC was in Brussels, shaken but unscathed by the bombings, to meet with international members of the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) and to prepare for the next High Level Meeting (HLM) of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) to be held in Nairobi, Kenya, in November. CPDE’s plans for the coming year are ambitious: members are hoping the relaunch of the Istanbul Principles (IP) Self-Assessment Tool will be used by over 500 organizations; it will also conduct research in 30 countries around the state of CSO Development Effectiveness; organizations from around the world will meet in Montreal in early August, just ahead of the World Social Forum, to assess successes and challenges five years on from the adoption of the Siem Reap Framework for CSO Development Effectiveness, and chart a way forward to Nairobi; and the Global Council of the CPDE will meet in September in Bangkok. The meeting in Nairobi of the GPEDC will mark the second High Level Meeting of the GPEDC as it assesses the value added it brings to global development cooperation in the context of the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. CCIC will be attending all of the above events representing North America.

MEMBER PROFILE: The Canadian Red Cross

Oxfam Québec - profile image
The Canadian Red Cross in Syria, March 2016.

This month CCIC met with Susan Johnson, Deputy Secretary General and Senior Vice President at Canadian Red Cross to discuss the Syrian conflict, the current Canadian Red Cross Faces of Humanity Campaign, the SDGs and the World Humanitarian Summit and much more…

The Syrian conflict is now in its fifth year and the world is experiencing one of the greatest refugee crises in modern history. How is the Canadian Red Cross responding, and what more is needed?

Red Cross colleagues recently returned from Syria and neighboring countries where millions of people are still struggling to survive and find safety for their families. They witnessed first-hand people’s terrible desperation as they travelled through teeming refugee camps, conflict zones and destroyed neighbourhoods. Sadly, there is no end in sight for this crisis, and the need is enormous.
Since the start of the conflict, aid workers with the Red Cross and its sister societies, like the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, have been on the ground risking their own lives to help people in besieged communities, and along refugees’ treacherous journeys to Europe, Canada and elsewhere. The need for shelter, medical care, food and other support is immense and ongoing. But humanitarian aid is only a temporary solution.  Quite simply, this situation must end. Enough is enough. We must put the needs of suffering people first, so political answers can follow.

In addition to ongoing support being provided in Syria and neighbouring countries, the Red Cross has been actively providing life-saving assistance to Syrian refugees arriving here in Canada. Since early December, Red Cross staff and volunteers, working alongside all levels of government, have helped provide a warm welcome to individuals and families by offering comfort, hope and a sense of security.

      Read More


Faces of Humanity – Canadian Red Cross

Faces of HumanityFaces of Humanity, a new campaign led the by Canadian Red Cross, engages Canadians on humanitarian issues by highlighting the actions taken by different people across the country. Canada’s humanitarian story is examined through the personal accounts of Canadian Red Cross aid workers who fought Ebola in West Africa; responded to the devastating earthquake in Nepal; or supported refugees fleeing the war in Syria. Twenty events will take place, ranging from public launch events where Canadian Red Cross aid workers will tell their humanitarian stories, to exhibits presenting the important work being performed by humanitarians.

Transformations: Stories of Partnership, Resilience and Positive Change in Nepal - OCIC

Transformations: Stories of Partnership, Resilience and Positive Change in NepalThe Ontario Council for International Cooperation recently launched Transformations, a collaborative photojournalism project intended to increase dialogue and further understanding of how international partnerships can address complex global challenges. In this exhibit, you learn how women in rural Nepal have re-built their homes and lives following the devastating 2015 Nepal earthquake, and are transforming their communities through long-term socio-economic development programs. The stories presented were documented by OCIC and Allan Lissner, Praxis Pictures, during a visit to Nepal in December 2015.

Stand with Indigenous women and families to end violence – Amnesty International

Amnesty InternationalThe Canadian government has listened to the voices of activists who have called for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. A public inquiry into this human rights tragedy has been called by the federal government, in the early days of the new government. Throughout the inquiry process, Amnesty International believes it is important to send a message to Indigenous women and families that people across this country—Indigenous and non-Indigenous people alike—are standing in solidarity with them. Amnesty therefore launched a petition to encourage the Canadian public to act to end violence against women, girls and two-spirit people.

Syria: Your voice can change conflict to peace - World Vision

World VIsionAs we mark five years of the outbreak of the tragic war in Syria, World Vision launched a letter writing action directed to Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion. The main asks to the Canadian government are: to promote peace through financial and political support to the efforts of the UN Special Envoy to Syria and the International Syria Support Group; to include youth and children in the peace process in a meaningful way; to continue our humanitarian assistance to those affected and prioritize long-term flexible aid towards Syria; and to continue to call for unhindered humanitarian access to those affected by the conflict.

Special Assembly on security issues - AQOCI

In response to the deadly terrorist attack in Burkina Faso last January -which took the lives of six Quebec City natives- and to address an increasing climate of insecurity for Canadian volunteers, interns as well as local staff working in developing countries, the Association québécoise des organismes de coopération internationale (AQOCI) organized a special assembly with its members on February 26. The meeting was very well attended and provided an important opportunity for organizations to discuss the existing security measures for people working and volunteering abroad; the need to review, update and standardize the training provided to future volunteers and how resources can best be shared; the role of AQOCI in supporting its members through this reflection. Quebec Minister for International Relations Christine St-Pierre was present and confirmed that her government would provide funds to the Canadian Research Institute on the Humanitarian Crisis and Aid to develop, in close collaboration with AQOCI, a special training program on security issues when working overseas.

RESULTS Canada National Conference in April

Results Canada National 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 can contact


New in Development Unplugged

Things have been busy at CCIC's blog -Development Unplugged in the past few weeks, with the publication of five new articles. A post by Liam Swiss talks about the role of remittances in development and how the Canadian government could make it more efficient; another article on the universality of the SDGs by John Sinclair focuses on the level of financial commitment required to implement the Global Goals in a meaningful way; two articles published on International Women's Day discuss the need to include more women in the renewable energy force and presents a success story on women economic empowerment in Bolivia; and finally a post published on World Tuberculosis Day makes the case for a more sustained effort to eradicate this disease. Make sure that you stimulate your neurons by visiting –and by contributing to! - Development Unplugged on a regular basis! Articles can be submitted to Chantal Havard.

Will you stand up for Canadian charities?

For decades, Canadian charities have given voice to concerns of Canadians who want social progress, better health and a clean and safe environment. A group of charities, including CCIC, launched a petition asking the new federal government to keep its commitment to fix our broken charitable laws, and end political audits of charities started under the previous government.

New report by Oxfam Canada

New Report by Oxfam CanadaOn International Women's Day, Oxfam Canada launched a new report entitled Make women count, which demonstrates that even if women are doing more and more work and growing the economy in Canada and around the world, they are seeing unequal benefits, and global economic growth is not leading to greater gender equality. The report looks at how women are affected by rising inequality and what can be done to mitigate the impacts and address inequality in a way that works for women.

Amnesty International Report 2015/16: The State of the World's Human Rights

Amnesty International reportAmnesty International recently launched its annual report, which documents serious violations of economic, social, political and civil rights in 2015 in too many countries. Many governments have brazenly broken international law and are deliberately undermining institutions meant to protect people’s rights. Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International, warns “not only are our rights under threat, so are the laws and the system that protect them”.

Rethinking Bilateral Investment Treaties: Critical Issues and Policy Choices

Rethinking Bilateral Investment Treaties



Cross-border investment flows are currently governed by over 3,000 bilateral and regional investment treaties. However, the growing number of investor claims against sovereign states, challenging public policy decisions and regulatory measures, has provoked deep concerns about the potential costs of such treaties and many countries to revisit these initiatives. This free ebook takes stock of current developments and explores alternative approaches to reform investment treaties.

Protecting Your Community from Mining and Other Extractive Industries

Protecting your community from mining




This how-to guide for resisting mining and other extractive operations published by Mining Watch provides strategies and tactics for preventing extraction, and for reducing damage if extraction is already underway. It guides community leaders in organizing and taking action locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally, to resist the "devastating assault of extractive operations".

World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends

World Development Report 2016



The World Bank recently launched its World Development Report 2016 on digital dividends. Digital technologies have spread rapidly in much of the world. Digital dividends—that is, the broader development benefits from using these technologies—have lagged behind. In many instances, digital technologies have boosted growth, expanded opportunities, and improved service delivery. Yet their aggregate impact has fallen short and is unevenly distributed.

Gender, Sexuality and Social Justice: What's Law Got to Do with It?


This publication by the Institute of Development Studies offers numerous suggestions of what sexuality and gender justice could be in a plurality of contexts: from activists working with women in Assam’s tea gardens in India or young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender leaders in Vietnam, to lawyers fighting the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda or the criminalization of cross-dressing in Malaysia, to academics carefully re-reading Islamic Sharia or researchers assessing HIV prevention programs in South Africa.

Women's work: Mothers, children, and the global childcare crisis

Women's Work


This report by the Overseas Development Institute explores the current childcare policy failures across a range of case-study countries, including Viet Nam, Gaza, Mexico, India and Ethiopia, and highlights examples of progress in countries which are successfully responding to these challenges. Based on these findings the authors make six key policy recommendations to extend and improve care-related labour market policies; promote more integrated approaches to social protection; and to invest in better data.


In defense of the defunct Office of Religious Freedom
MacLean’s | March 30, 2016

The Global Goals: From Promise to Practice
OCIC iAM vol. 7 | March 30, 2016

Cut out third parties, give aid directly to recipients: Ethiopian diplomat
Embassy | March 16, 2016

Canada on the Global Stage – Development and Aid
CPAC | February 11, 2016


International Cooperation Days 2016
Fit for Purpose? CSO transformation for Agenda 2030

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

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

May 13, 2016 Global Affairs Canada Consultation


Smart Global Development conference
Ottawa, Ontario
April 13-14, 2016

Taken to the Tribunals: Why International Investment Treaties are Bad for the Environment, Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, and Democracy
Mining Watch Annual Seminar
Ottawa, Ontario
April 14, 2016
For more information:

Le financement du développement et les objectifs de développement durable : quel modèle, pour qui, et par qui?
Event organized by “Un seul monde” blog
Montreal, Quebec
April 18, 2016

Hill Times Event on global food security and climate change
Organized by the Food Security Policy Group
Ottawa, Ontario
April 21, 2016

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

CAIDP's Annual Conference - Renewal: A New Era for International Development Professionals
Ottawa, Ontario
May 9-10, 2016

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

CASID Annual Conference 2016: Energizing communities
University of 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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