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Could there be a better way to spend the summer…? 

Julia SanchezConsultation season is full on – as indicated in a recent article, there is a high number of consultations being conducted at present by the Federal Government, on a whole host of topics.

On May 18th, we finally saw the much awaited launch of the International Assistance Review process. Minister Bibeau announced, from Copenhagen were she was attending Women Deliver, that she would be consulting Canadians, Canadian organizations and international partners on the future directions of Canadian aid programming for the coming years.

The review process is multi-faceted and includes 7 high-level consultations being held in different parts of Canada, portions of which are being webcast so that people can join in from wherever they may be. The high-level consultations are in-person sessions typically composed of an expert panel (webcast), breakout discussion groups for participants invited to attend in person, and a report-back session with political participation (Minister or other) that is also webcast. Each of the high-level consultations is on one of the 6 key thematic orientations proposed in a discussion paper that forms part of the consultation process. The 7th high-level consultation is one that touched upon on all the consultation themes, and was held in Halifax. Other high-level consultations are being organized in Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa.

In addition, there are a series of working-level consultations being organized or co-organized by Global Affairs Canada on specific aspects of the six themes, and also a whole host of consultations organized by civil society and other groups, including CCIC, the provincial councils for international cooperation, and more. The large majority of these sessions, both formal and informal, will be taking place within the month of June.

The consultation also includes a web portal that has a link to the background paper, and provides information on the various ways that individuals and organizations can participate in the process. Written submissions are being encouraged from interested parties –all must reach Global Affairs Canada by the end of July at the latest.

CCIC is putting all hands on deck, and more, to support its members in responding and engaging with the consultation process, and also in the preparation of our own submission. We have held a couple of webinars to share information with our members on the consultation process and to discuss what CCIC is doing -and can do- to support the sector to respond in the most coordinated and effective way possible. We have surveyed our members to identify who is planning to make submissions and on what themes. We have created a google doc which has updated information on the different high-level and other consultation sessions being held. We are sharing information on how to log on to the webcast portions of the high-level consultations and have coordinated a couple of preparatory conference calls for members attending some of these high-level consultations.

CCIC is also trying to attend all the high-level consultation sessions and has developed a template to report back on each session to members. We hope that especially those members that are preparing their own submissions (which we hugely encourage) can benefit from these summaries of the discussions, and they are of course useful for the preparation of our own submission too. We have also produces an analysis of Global Affair’s background paper, and an outline for our submission which we have sent out to our members for inputs. Finally, from all this information, we are producing key messages and these, as well as all other materials we gather, are being shared with members via a weekly communications template designed especially for the occasion.

This consultation process is a welcome and timely development, especially in the context of implementing Agenda 2030. CCIC has welcomed it from the beginning, and is doing everything within its means to support and encourage its members to engage in the process in multiple ways. We are also preparing a comprehensive submission which builds on the solid policy work developed by the sector during the last years, both at CCIC and through the many policy coalitions that we engage in regularly. We firmly believe that this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for our sector to come together and advocate with a united voice for more and better aid. And for a more globally engaged and committed Canada.

So is there a better way to spend the summer months of June and July? – well, for those of us who did not have firm summer plans already booked and paid for, no, there is no better way. We affirmed during our 2015 campaign that Canada can do better, and now is our chance to be part of shaping that better Canada directly. Happy consultations and happy summer!

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.


Highlights of CCIC’s Annual Conference 2016

CCIC Conference 2016CCIC’s Annual Conference 2016, entitled “'Fit for purpose: CSO transformation for Agenda 2030” brought together 230 passionate people from the international development and humanitarian assistance sectors for two days of discussions, debates and learning opportunities. The May 10 public event was focussed on Canada’s role in the humanitarian field, with an expert panel and responses from politicians, as well as a humanitarian fair; 400 people responded to the invitation. On May 11 and 12, conference participants explored what they need to do differently (in terms of policy, programming and partnerships) to meet the challenges laid out by Agenda 2030. Keynote speakers included David Nabarro, Special Adviser of the UN Secretary-General on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Climate Change, and Mayor of Calgary Naheed Nenshi, among others. The conference program included many member-led sessions, such as the Blanket Exercise by KAIROS - a tool to share the historic and contemporary relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. The conference generated a lot of traffic and interest on social media, as you can see on storify. Best photos from the conference and public event can be found here. And the conference report will be available soon on our website!

2016 CCIC Awards

CCIC AwardsAt a special dinner on May 2011, and as part of the 2016 Annual Conference, CCIC presented its 2016 Innovation and Effectiveness Awards. This year the Awards fell into two categories: best Public Engagement Campaigns (engaging Canadians on global issues) and Women’s Rights Projects. In the first category, the winning organizations were the Ontario Council for International Co-operation (OCIC) for its photojournalism project called Transformations: Stories of Resilience, Partnership and Positive Change in Nepal; and the 16 CCIC member organizations who actively engaged in the Up for Debate campaign and contributed to its success. In the second category, the winning organizations were Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights for its effective merger of three sexual and reproductive health organizations and for creating a stronger voice for sexual and reproductive rights and health, both in Canada and globally; and Léger Foundation and partner organization SWAYAM, for the project entitled Reduction of Gender Inequality and Gender Based Violence in West Bengal, India and for the long standing partnership between the two organizations.

Focus with purpose – CCIC presents to the Foreign Affairs Standing Committee

In late May, CCIC was invited to appear before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development on its study of Canada’s Countries of Focus for Bilateral Assistance. In its presentation, CCIC identified ten core issues for the committee and government to consider in assessing and evaluating the countries of focus model, as well as Canada’s current countries of focus. The recommendations address the context, process, and substance of Canada’s international assistance through the countries of focus model. Highlights include the importance of focusing more on poor people than poor countries, of predictability, of democratic ownership and aligning our priorities with those of the countries where we are operating, and of policy coherence across Global Affairs. Numerous other CCIC members also testified before the Committee. The Committee’s findings and recommendations are expected to feed into the international assistance review.

The outcomes of the World Humanitarian Summit

With high aspirations that the World Humanitarian Summit held in Istanbul on May 23-24 would advance the implementation of the Secretary-General's Agenda for Humanity, outcomes were decidedly mixed (for three reports, see here, here and here). There was an in-principle agreement – the so-called Grand Bargain – between NGOs and donor governments to increase the flexibility and transparency of international assistance. A global fund for education in emergencies was launched, as were a partnership on disaster preparedness and a charter on inclusion of people with disabilities. There were significant commitments to increase support for local organizations. However, there was no binding document, so implementation of all commitments is uncertain. High-level political buy-in was weak: only 55 heads of state or government attended (of these, there was only one G7 leader – Angela Merkel – and no permanent members of the UN Security Council). And despite widespread calls before and at the summit for fundamental transformation of the global humanitarian system, the summit did not establish a clear agenda to achieve that change.

UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders meets Canadian groups

Michel ForstCCIC joined with Equitas – International Centre for Human Rights Education and Amnesty International Canada to host an informal meeting in June with Michel Forst, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders. Roughly 20 organizations were present, representing a wide range of thematic and geographic expertise. The Special Rapporteur gave Canadian civil society organizations (CSOs) an overview of his mandate and role as well as his current priorities and interests, including in relation to Canada. In turn, CSOs gave input on the situation within Canada of human rights defenders (HRDs), as well as the situation for HRDs among our partners, with a particular focus on the situation of HRDs engaged in issues related to extractive industries both domestically and internationally. Topics discussed included accountability and access to justice, "shelter cities" for HRDs, the diversity of HRDs from Indigenous communities, restrictions on political activities by CSOs in Canada, and the renewed interest of the federal government in supporting human rights and HRDs abroad.

Former CIDA President appointed Chair of IDRC Board

Margaret Biggs, who was President of the former Canadian International Development Agency from 2008-2013, has been appointed the new Chair of the Board of Governors to the International Development Research Centre. Biggs joins five other new governors including Mary Anne Chambers, Dominique Corti, Sophie D’Amours, Chandra Madramootoo, Barbara Trenholm and John McArthur. Both John McArthur and Margaret Biggs appeared at CCIC’s annual conference in May. They were also authors of “Towards 2030: Building Canada’s Engagement with Global Sustainable Development,” a report produced by the Centre for International Policy Studies, and co-authored by CCIC President-CEO Julia Sánchez, CIVICUS staff person Kate Higgins, Simon Fraser Associate Professor Eric Werker, and Ottawa University Senior Associate David Moloney.

The Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation loses provincial support

SCICA 42 years old partnership came to an end abruptly this June when the government of Saskatchewan decided, as part of its austerity budget, not to renew the Matching Grants in Aid Program (MGAP), which was managed by SCIC. MGAP has been an important source of funding for SCIC members over the years; most organizations who have benefitted from these funds are locally based organizations, with a long history and stellar record of engaging Saskatchewanians on global issues and supporting local organizations in developing countries. SCIC and its members are mobilizing to convince government that, even in a context of domestic financial constraints, maintaining a program that has produced so many good results on the ground, and one that has such a leveraging effect, should be a priority. CCIC has written a letter of support sent to Minister of Economy, which can be found here.

Canada to host next replenishment of Global Fund

At a meeting on international development, hosted by the Hon. Justin Trudeau, Minister of International Development Marie-Claude Bibeau and around 100 civil society representatives including CCIC, the Prime Minister announced that Canada would be pledging $785 million to the Global Fund for HIV AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, for the 2017 to 2019 period – an increase of 20 percent relative to the previous three year pledge. Trudeau also announced that Canada would be hosting the 5th Replenishment Conference of the Global Fund that Canada will host the Fifth Replenishment Conference in Montréal, Quebec on September 16, 2016.

Whose rights are we protecting?

Whose Rights are we ProtectingOn June 7th, the three CCIC regional working groups organized a public forum on trade and investment agreements and their impact on human rights and the environment. Sanya Reid-Smith, legal advisor at Third World Network, Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians and the lawyer Steven Shrybman all participated in the debate. The event, which took place in a room filled to capacity, helped to raise awareness about the negative impact of these agreements and to propose alternatives.  The report Whose rights are we protecting? is available in both English and French. This forum was the culmination of the collective work of the Americas Policy Group, the Africa-Canada Forum and the Asia Pacific Working Group.   The regional working groups are inviting the public to get involved by visiting this website:

Regional working groups: annual meetings and consultations

GT ACFThe Africa-Canada Forum (ACF) held its annual meeting on June 9 and 10.  Forty members gathered at the office of the Canadian Labour Congress in Ottawa to discuss current issues in Africa and to prepare a strategic plan for the working group.   The key moment of the event was the consultation on peace and security with Global Affairs Canada. The members of the ACF made recommendations to the government to rethink its policies and its international aid programs in order to make them more innovative, efficient and relevant. These recommendations will be included in CCIC's submission. The members of th Asia Pacific Working Group (APWG) also held there annual meting in Ottawa: more than 30 members gathered at the office of the Canadian Co-operative Association on June 16th.  On Friday June 17th, members of the APWG participated in a dialogue with Global Affairs Canada. The objective of this meeting was to discuss Canadian priorities in the region and to make recommendations to the government for the purposes of the review of its international aid policy.   The Americas Policy Group will also hold a meeting with Global Affairs Canada on June 27th 2016. For more information, you can contact Isabelle Bourassa.

CCIC's President-CEO joins CIVICUS Board

CIVICUSCCIC is proud to have its President-CEO, Julia Sánchez, as one of the newly elected Board members of CIVICUS. Founded in 1993, CIVICUS is a global alliance dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society around the world. The organisation has members in more than 145 countries, with its headquarters in Johannesburg and offices in London, Geneva and New York. One of CIVICUS’ flagships reports is the State of Civil Society. It offers a comprehensive picture of civil society and the conditions it works in around the world. CIVICUS Strategic Priorities for 2013-2017 are threefold: 1) influence – ensure that civil society is taken seriously and is able to have a stronger influence on the making of decisions that matter to people's lives; 2) connect – connect the different sources and forces of citizen action so that citizen action as a whole becomes more robust and effective; and 3) enable - promote better conditions for civil society to do its work, and to enhance and protect optimal standards for all civil society. CCIC is an active member of CIVICUS.

CCIC office closes for one week

Please note that CCIC’s office will be closed the first week of August, which means that nobody from our team will be around and no responses to emails should be expected. Staff members will take turn in July and rest of August to ensure presence in the office and smooth running of main operations. We wish our readers a relaxing and inspiring summer! Next FLASH! will be published late August.

Job openings in the sector

Passionate about international development and humanitarian assistance and looking for exciting openings in the sector? Make sure that CCIC's employment page is part of your favourites! Our employment page is one of the busiest! World Renew, the International Development Research Centre and WUSC, among others, are recruiting. And if your organization wants to post an ad, please send it to:  You can also follow CCIC on LinkedIn, where we promote jobs, reports and events!


CCIC is thrilled to present its two newest members!

Dignitas International Dignitas International is a medical and research organization dedicated to improving health care for people facing a high burden of disease and unequal access to services. Dignitas delivers frontline medical care, conduct research, share its findings broadly and advocate for equitable global health policy and practice. Leveraging more than a decade of experience working in rural communities to address HIV in Africa, Dignitas recently launched a diabetes program for First Nations communities in Northern Ontario. 


CASIDThe Canadian Association for the Study of International Development (CASID) is a national, bilingual, interdisciplinary and pluralistic association devoted to the promotion of new knowledge in the broad field of international development.  Its mission is to promote and support international development studies in Canada and abroad. CASID is also CCIC’s first Associate Member. For more information regarding Associate Membership please contact Michelle Bested.


Anne Loranger-King and Alicia Chavez.
Photo credit: Ly

This month CCIC met with the Executive Director of SUCO, Richard Veenstra. SUCO (which means Solidarity, Union and Cooperation) is a Montréal-based NGO that just celebrated its 55th anniversary. We discussed SUCO’s focus on agro-environment and the volunteer sending program, among others!

SUCO is celebrating this month 55 years of engagement in international development. Can you point us to some key moments of your history, and reasons for the sustainability of your organization over the years?

Over 55 years, there have been a lot of key moments.  SUCO volunteers were among the first in many former British and French colonies in the 60s. They worked alongside liberation movements in southern Africa in the 70s and labour movements in Latin America through to the 80s.  Our participation in these movements formed our identity in that era.

Today, our identity is more about empowerment. 

      Read More


Canada to rejoin the UN Convention to Combat Desertification

CCIC and many members, including USC Canada, Canadian Foodgrains Bank, World Federalist Movement – Canada, and the United Church of Canada, early in June released a letter asking Prime Minister Trudeau to rejoin the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). In 2014, Canada was the only country in the world to withdraw from the UNCCD. On World Day to Combat Desertification (June 17), Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, “recognize[d] not just the link between land degradation and climate change, but also the risks that desertification poses to realizing the Sustainable Development Goals” and announced they will be “taking positive steps to rejoin the global effort”.

A study by ICN on small and medium-sized organizations (SMOs)

A study by ICNIn the past five years, many Canadian SMOs working in international development have been marginalized as the government implemented Canada’s aid priorities, despite their record of effective programming. This paper commissioned by the Inter-Council Network presents a profile of Canadian SMOs involved in development cooperation, the impact of changing funding modalities on SMOs since 2010, and the characteristics of SMOs as development actors, as evidenced by third party evaluations. The paper also makes a case for new initiatives to re-­‐engage SMOs in Canada’s development efforts based on this record and core competencies.

Lewis Perinbam Award for International Development 2016 - Call for Nominations

Lewis Perinbam AwardThe Award Trustees and World University Service of Canada (WUSC) recently announced that nominations are open for the 2016 Lewis Perinbam Award for International Development. The Lewis Perinbam Award recognizes significant volunteer efforts that do the following: improve people’s lives in the developing world; engage and inspire Canadians to undertake volunteer action; and offer new ways of thinking about addressing development challenges. Nominations will be accepted until October 11, 2016. Winners will receive a monetary award of $5,000 towards their volunteer work. Click here to access the nomination form.

Activities of the WSF International Solidarity Committee – AQOCI

The World Social Forum (WSF) is quickly approaching (August 9-14, Montreal) and many CCIC members will participate and organize activities. Tens of thousands of people from civil society groups, organizations and social movements, all dedicated to building a more sustainable and inclusive world, are expected in Montreal for this important rendez-vous. The WSF International Solidarity Committee now has its own website which presents all activities organized under the different streams in English, French and Spanish. CCIC and AQOCI are co-organizing a workshop on the Global Goals, which will feature speakers from the Global South and a representative from the UN:  Sustainable development goals : a tool for the promotion of a more equitable world? AQOCI and its members are actively involved in the preparation of the WSF.

PM asked to act for peace in Syria – Development and Peace

Development and PeaceFaced with what the UN describes as “the greatest humanitarian challenge of our time,” Development and Peace invites the Canadian public to sign a petition calling on the Canadian government to do everything in its power to protect civilians in Syria and to end the conflict through diplomatic means. This includes strengthening Canada’s diplomatic role to contribute to finding a lasting peace through political rather than military means, and bringing the voice of Syrian civil society to the negotiating table; ensuring access to humanitarian aid so that it can reach the most vulnerable people in Syria; and promoting both social cohesion and self-sufficiency among Syrian refugees and their host populations in neighboring countries.

Latin American organizations called on PM to better regulate Canadian mining

Development and Peace and Mining Watch Canada called on Prime Minister Trudeau to give special attention to an open letter signed by 200 Latin American and international organizations, urging for sweeping change to Canada’s foreign policy regarding the global mining sector. “Under prior administrations,” the letter observes, “Canada’s human rights performance deteriorated considerably, not only in the eyes of the international community, but also from the perspective of the individuals, peoples and communities that live with the negative impacts of Canadian extractive projects.” They express hope for change based on past support from Liberal Members of Parliament – including the Prime Minister - “towards the adoption of a legislative framework that would hold state agencies and companies to account for abuses related to Canadian mining companies’ overseas operations.”

Syria: Stop the Bombing – Amnesty International

Syria : Stop the BombingAmnesty International launched a petition calling the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to urgently protect civilians in Syria. This call takes place in the context of several areas remaining under siege in Syria, with nothing moving in or out for months and even years. Reports say that starvation is being used as a weapon of war by both the Syrian government and armed groups, which is considered as war crimes.


New in Development Unplugged

If you haven’t visited CCIC’s blog in the past few weeks, you’ve missed exceptional and exclusive content! Latest articles include a series around the World Humanitarian Summit; an article on how to measure the SDGs; how Canada needs to reinvest in peacebuilding operations; Canada’s support to Least Developed Countries; and a final post on the 3 main takeaways of the World Humanitarian Summit. Contributions are always welcome and should be submitted to Chantal Havard, Communications Manager at CCIC.

Useful online resources on the Global Goals

If you want to engage your members and supporters on Agenda 2030 but don’t know exactly where to start, this website is for you! It includes many useful resources on the SDGs, including a press kit, important links, facts and figures, social media content, and much more! Together 2030 also offers information, resources and ready to use material for engagement around the Global Goals.

Voices-Voix Declaration 2016

Voices-Voix DeclarationVoices-Voix launched a new Declaration calling on the Government of Canada to: actively promote political diversity, advocacy and dissent; foster an enabling environment for civil society organizations; strengthen parliamentary accountability and democratic processes and institutions; be transparent and accountable; and respect indigenous rights and self-determination. Organizations are invited to endorse the declaration. Voices-Voix is a non-partisan coalition of Canadians and Canadian organizations committed to defending our collective and individual rights to debate and dissent. It was created in 2010.

Youth Participating in Community Life - Equitas

EquitasEquitas recently launched “Implementing human rights projects in the Middle East and North Africa: Lessons learned and good practices”, one of the main tools developed through the Mosharka project. This publication captures the lessons learned and good practices for engaging young people in the promotion of human rights, including working towards implementing recommendations from the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The Mosharka project started in November 2012 with the goal of building networks and capacity, in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, for engaging and mobilizing youth to promote human rights as well as increasing their democratic participation.

Humanitarian hub launched

Humanitarian Hub LaunchThe world is facing the largest displacement crisis since the Second World War, and the gap between humanitarian needs and available aid is widening. Concerned by that, Bond (CCIC’s equivalent in the UK) launched a new humanitarian hub to bring the different stakeholders together, present case studies on the humanitarian work conducted by NGOs, share useful resources as well as the latest humanitarian news and views.

New CJDS special issue on humanitarian aid

François Audet, director of the Canadian Research Institute on Humanitarian Crisis and Aid (OCCAH), edited a special issue on humanitarian aid published in the Canadian Journal of Development Studies. The publication covers a wide range of issues, including hunger, mining, and land grabbing. One article also analyses the transformation of Canadian humanitarian assistance in the context of the country’s changing international behavior.

Book: Rethinking Canadian Aid, Second Edition

Rethinking Canadian Aid


This revised edition of the book not only analyzes Canada’s past development assistance, it also highlights key opportunities in the context of the recent change in government. Designed to reach a variety of audiences, the book showcases contributions by twenty scholars and experts in the field, who offer an incisive examination of Canada’s record and initiatives in Canadian foreign aid, including its relatively recent emphasis on maternal and child health and on the extractive sector, as well as the longer-term engagement with state fragility.



Cobourg’s Horizons of Friendship presents Founders Awards
Northumberland News | June 18, 2016

Canada Should Go To The World Humanitarian Summit With Real Commitments
Huffington Post Québec | May 17, 2016

Trudeau government should scrap controversial Saudi arms deal
The Hill Times | May 16, 2016

How to prepare and deliver a five-minute IGNITE speech
Informed Opinions | March 20, 2016


Report Launch - Canadian International Development Platform: Data Report 2016
The Canadian International Development Platform (CIDP), in collaboration with the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) and Engineers Without Borders (EWB)
June 30, 2016
Ottawa, Ontario

Implementation of the SDGs: Accountability and the Role of CSOs
2016 World Social Forum
Montreal, Quebec
August 9-14, 2016


Natural Resource Governance and Economic Diversification in Africa: Strategies, Lessons, and Challenges
Ottawa, Ontario
June 29, 2016

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