|CCIC monthly e-bulletin: November-December 2016|
Is development effectiveness still relevant in 2016?
(Alert: prepare for some major acronym abuse in this piece – I just came back from global civil society land – and also a special extra-long blog for the year end!)
During the last week of November, I was in Nairobi, Kenya, attending the Second High Level Meeting (HLM2) of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC). I was delighted to be part of a “North American Delegation” of civil society organizations which included colleagues from Canada and the U.S. We had a listserv, a couple of prep calls, a whatsapp group (Team NA), and a hashtag (#NA4DE – DE being development effectiveness!). We were also invited to a joint consultation co-hosted by Canada’s High Commissioner in Nairobi and the senior USAID official that was head of the US delegation for HLM2.
I was there as the North American representative of the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE), a position we have held at CCIC since CPDE was founded. We had several preparatory CPDE events before the HLM2 - a Coordinating Committee meeting on day 1, a Global Council meeting on day 2, both a Youth Forum and a Women’s Forum on day 3, and finally a CSO Forum on day 4 (see forum communique here). By the time HLM2 started (days 5 and 6) the 400 plus CSOs that were in Nairobi for the meeting were informed, equipped and ready to champion our agenda. We were advocating for a more robust enabling environment for civil society groups around the world, and strong commitments from all parties for effective development cooperation (see CPDE’s key asks for Nairobi here).
Day 7 was the post-mortem. We had a coordinating committee meeting to assess the week and the outcomes of HLM2 (see CPDE’s statement on the HLM2 here), and then ended with a CPDE co-chair meeting (I was elected CPDE co-chair by the Global Council on day 2) to discuss strategy moving forward for CPDE and its members.
But let’s back up a bit here – for those of you who do not follow this agenda closely, and are now wondering why on earth 400 plus CSOs from around the world went to Nairobi for the HLM2, and what it all means, let me give you an abridged version of the story.
Once upon a time, donor countries, grouped under the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) banner, came together with aid recipient countries to negotiate and agree on a set of principles to make aid more effective. This process culminated in the Paris Declaration of 2005, with the adoption of the five Paris principles for smart aid: ownership, alignment, harmonization, managing for results, and mutual accountability.
One important missing element in Paris was civil society – nowhere mentioned or acknowledged as a key stakeholder in the development process. With the support of friendly governments (including Canada) and multi-lateral agencies, CSOs advocated to be included in the process, resulting in a recognition of CSOs as independent development actors in their own right in Accra (2008) and subsequently their inclusion in Busan (2011) as partners in the new multi-stakeholder forum baptized as GPEDC. In Busan, four shared principles were agreed for all partners of the multi-stakeholder partnership: democratic ownership, results, inclusive partnerships, and transparency and shared responsibility. And in the lead-up to Busan, civil society embarked in a global consultation resulting in the Istanbul Principles for CSO Development Effectiveness. There are eight of them: human rights and social justice; gender equality and equity; empowerment, democratic ownership and participation; environmental sustainability; transparency and accountability; equitable partnerships and solidarity; knowledge and mutual learning; positive sustainable change.
So far, so good. The first HLM of the GPEDC was held in Mexico (2014), where notably, Canada issued a statement on the need to promote and protect an enabling environment for civil society. And the second HLM was just held last week in Nairobi.
Since Paris, however, the process has been characterized by a lack of tangible progress exacerbated by a weak accountability and reporting mechanisms to follow-up on commitments. But the monitoring reports that exist clearly show, despite their shortcomings, that donor countries have been very slow to make progress in implementing their commitments, and partner countries (as developing or aid recipient countries are referred to in this context) have been backtracking on ensuring an enabling environment for civil society in their countries.
In addition, the development cooperation landscape has become more complex since the days when the world was divided into traditional donor (developed) and aid recipient (developing) countries. New actors have entered the scene. Emerging economies, the BRICs, the private sector, and other financial flows for development have made the process of achieving effective development cooperation yet more complex. Moreover, the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have thrown the GPEDC into a bit of an existential crisis as it attempts to define its value-added to the current dominant global cooperation agenda.
Meanwhile, this multi-stakeholder forum has been struggling to include all relevant actors and function as a true partnership. It can definitely be said that one of the unique characteristics of the GPEDC is its multi-stakeholder nature by design. However, while donor and recipient countries have been at the table, with civil society and labour groups working hard to hold their ground as stakeholders in the process, others have been distant or absent. Emerging economies, the private sector and other actors (parliamentarians and local governments) have been at best detached.
And to add to the challenges, HLM2 was the first such meeting of the effective development process where high level representation was notably absent. There were very few Ministers in attendance across the board. Canada, for example, which had Minister Oda in Busan and Minister Paradis in Mexico, had a small delegation that was not headed by a Minister or Deputy Minister. And Canada was by no means alone in displaying low political ambition heading into the meeting.
So how did it all turn out in the end? For civil society, the outcome was much more positive than we expected going into the meeting. As a partner of GPEDC, civil society has formal representation on the Steering Committee (one of the CPDE co-chairs is our Sherpa and Steering Committee member). For months we have worked hard on the negotiation process for the outcome document, as well as in the preparation of the different plenaries and “amphitheater” sessions at the formal meeting. We formed an HLM2 core group and a negotiation team to lead and support this work (I was part of the negotiation team). And we developed key asks, communication messages and an advocacy tool kit. We fielded civil society speakers for all the sessions during the meeting, as well as most of the side events. And we organized a civil society “flash-mob” as well before one of the plenaries.
All this work paid off in the end. The Nairobi Outcome Document (NOD), though far from perfect, is a much improved version of the original draft that was put out for negotiation several months before the meeting. Most of the attempts to backtrack on previous commitments and language were effectively stopped or reversed. And we even saw progress on some fronts, as expressed in the CPDE statement at the end of the conference.
Why this matters, in case you are still wondering, is because despite the highly complex development cooperation landscape of 2016, aid dollars and other forms of cooperation (technical, south-south) remain essential for ending poverty and injustice. And as we embark on the new 15-year framework of the SDGs, it is as important as ever that development cooperation be done in a way that is effective and conducive to positive sustainable results and impact. It is crucial that the ‘unfinished business’ of Paris, Accra and Busan be addressed (i.e. that traditional actors fulfill their past commitments) and that new actors and processes be brought to the table, in the spirit of true partnership, as SDG 17 dictates.
It also matters because in recent years we have been witnessing an accelerated shrinking of civic space, and a regression in the enabling environment for civil society, as documented by organizations such as CPDE, CIVICUS, ICNL and the Task Team for CSO Development Effectiveness and Enabling Environment. Numerous countries have enacted or tried to enact repressive and limiting legislation for civil society. And human rights advocates and labour leaders continue to be pursued and even killed because of their advocacy work for social justice and pro-poor development.
As of HLM2, Canada will replace the US in the Steering Committee of GPEDC (representing US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada). Civil society is poised to occupy a “non-executive” GPEDC co-chair position, if all goes as planned. And I will be in the role of co-chair of CPDE over the coming two years. We seem to be well positioned in Canada to rise to the occasion, as we have in the past, and push for the development effectiveness agenda to be given the importance it deserves for addressing global challenges in coming years.
Do you have any reactions to this column? I’d like to hear from you! Please send any comments to Julia Sanchez.
Happy Holidays… back in 2017!
Please note that CCIC’s office will be closed between December 23 and January 8. The whole team will be back on January 9 with lots of energy to embark in a new year of advocacy, policy work, engaging with government and re-enforcing the sector. Thank you for reading us and have a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones!
Government releases “What we heard” in the IAR;
MEMBER PROFILE: Canadian Association for the Study of International Development
MEMBERS IN ACTION
Reaching the Tipping Point – How to Cultivate a Brighter Future is the engaging theme of the 2017 International Forum, co-organized by CECI and WUSC and taking place in Montreal on January 20-21. With a focus on people, profit and planet, the Forum will bring together a wide range of actors - including civil society members from the global South, young agents of change, representatives from the private sector, researchers and international development specialists - in discussions on some of the most pressing issues, challenges and solutions in international development. Visit the website for more information on the agenda and to register.
The MMIWG Information Hub on KAIROS website was created to provide information, resources and updates in relation with the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada. The main goal of the hub is to provide a space where allies can come together to strengthen solidarity and support for victims and their families.
Ahead of budget 2017, World Vision recently launched a campaign asking the federal government to increase its commitment to global development cooperation and demonstrate that Canada is really back by meeting the 0.7 goal of GDP dedicated to international development, over a 10 years period. The campaign site features a message that can be sent to Finances Minister Bill Morneau and a striking video that illustrates the gap between what Canadians think we spend on international development and the reality.
All over the world women earn less than men and are some of the lowest paid workers. Sexism affects the jobs women have access to, the money they earn, and the way society values their work. To rectify that imbalance, Oxfam Canada launched a petition asking the Canadian government to make the next federal budget a budget where work is paid, equal and valued for women.
The Inter-Council Network offers an online course on Public Engagement. Hive Mind: Engaging the Public for the Greater Goodis designed as an introductory course for practitioners who would like to explore the key concepts of public engagement, boost their ability to connect with stakeholders in their communities and learn how to build effective partnerships. First cohort starts January 15th. For more information, contact Krista Dinsmore.
Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, in collaboration with Global Affairs Canada and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), organized the Canadian launch of UNFPA’s 2016 State of World Population Report 10: How our future depends on a girl at this decisive age. The report shows how a 10-year-old girl’s life trajectory will be a true test of whether the 2030 Agenda is a success or failure. According to the report, investments that empower 10-year-old girls can triple a girl’s lifetime income, increase a nation’s economic growth and lead to a cycle of healthier, better educated children.
WORTH A LOOK
Extra-long reading list for the end-of-year holidays!
Many articles have been published in Development Unplugged since our last FLASH, such as the series "Resilient and Responsive Health Systems for a Changing World" by the Canadian Society for International Health and Health Systems Global, which focused on sharing the central issues explored at the 4th Global Symposium on Health Systems Research in Vancouver, 14-18 November 2016. Other topics include outcomes of COP22 for developing countries and the role of volunteers in achieving the Global Goals. Submissions are always welcome and should be sent to Chantal Havard.
Setting the Stage for Collective Impact: Ontario Municipalities, Colleges and Universities in International Cooperation is the title of a report recently published by the Ontario Council for International Cooperation. The report explores how municipalities and academic institutions can contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Ontario and abroad, through collective impact. To this end, OCIC also launched an initiative aimed at furthering engagement between OCIC members and municipalities, colleges and universities (MCUs) in Ontario. The report is part of the first phase of OCIC’s collective impact initiative.
Following the launch of the Agenda 2030 and to popularize the Goals, the British Columbia Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC) embarked in a civil society listening tour. They visited 7 regions in BC, met with 29 communities and held 31 roundtable meetings, asking CSOs how the goals relate to their work and how they can be used to strengthen their impact. Based on this consultation, BCCIC published the report The Invisible Mosaic: BC and the Sustainable Development Goals with a focus on the value, opportunities and limitations that civil society organizations see in the SDG framework.
Ahead of COP 22 in Morocco, Development and Peace launched a new report entitled Small Family Farmers: At the Heart of Climate Justice. The report sheds the light on the relationship between agriculture and climate change; and makes the case for transitioning quickly to new agricultural models if we want to effectively fight against climate change, both in Canada and abroad.
In August 2016, staff and members of RESULTS Canada traveled to Indonesia with three Members of Parliament, to provide MPs with the opportunity to see firsthand the impact of Canadian aid on improving access to health for the poorest and most vulnerable. Following up on this trip, RESULTS released Why Equity Matters, a report on the delegation to Indonesia that explains why equity should be at the heart of Canadian development policy.
CARE Canada's Climate Change & Resilience team and the Overseas Development Institute have collaborated to publish a working paper called Disasters and violence against women and girls: Can disasters shake social norms and power relations? The document looks at how, in times of crisis, social norms are played out within a new space, opening up the possibility for producing alternative social interactions; and how these can lead to opportunities for women and men to take on new responsibilities.
On October 25, CIVICUS launched a web platform to track and compare civic freedoms on a global scale. The CIVICUS Monitor is a tool to rate all countries on their “state of civic space,” and how well they uphold the freedoms of association, peaceful assembly and expression. The platform also provides analysis to account for differences between country contexts and is guided by four core principles: transparency, inclusivity, flexibility and activism. The rating tool combines qualitative and quantitative data from a range of sources, and places countries in categories that reflect the broad spectrum of respect for civil society freedoms (closed, repressed, obstructed, narrowed and open). So far, 104 countries have been rated through the Monitor.
The scramble for natural resources coupled with the rise of authoritarian values around the world endangers activists and prevents them from playing their rightful role in the management of natural resources, according to a new report published by CIVICUS and Publish What You Pay. Against All Odds: The Perils of Fighting for Natural Resource Justice documents the ways in which governments and business in virtually all resource-rich countries restrict civil society, and how this actively undermines efforts to achieve greater transparency and accountability in the extractives sector.
Protecting Canadians’ Free Speech is an initiative of leading Canadian organizations working to preserve and enhance the role of Canadian charities in public policy discussions. Together, these groups represent the voices of hundreds of thousands of Canadians. In the context of the consultations conducted by the Canadian Revenue Agency on charities and political activities, this coalition recently launched a petition asking the government to protect Canadians’ free speech and adopt a new law to give citizens a voice through charities they support.
The paper Foreign Activities by Canadian Registered Charities: Challenges and Options for Reform is the culmination of The Philanthropist’s series on Canadian Charities Working Internationally, which started in March 2015. The author outlines the challenges with the current “direction and control” rules that apply to Canadian charities working abroad. He also presents proposals to reform the system, ranging from simple administrative amendments to full blown legislative reform, including grants to foreign organizations to further the charitable purposes of the Canadian charity.
Since 2000, Canada has maintained a National Contact Point (NCP) responsible for promoting multinational companies’ adherence to guidelines for responsible business conduct, developed by the OECD. Above Ground and Mining Watch Canada recently published "Canada is back - but still far behind", a report which assesses the NCP’s performance to date, particularly with regard to harm prevention and access to remedy. It examines the NCP’s handling of five complaints concerning Canadian corporate misconduct abroad, all of which involved allegations of human rights violations or environmental harm associated with the extractive sector. It concludes that the NCP’s failings underscore the need for Canada to move beyond voluntary grievance mechanisms and to create an independent, transparent office empowered to conduct investigations and order effective sanctions in cases of non-compliance with human rights and environmental standards.
The OECD-DAC has introduced a peer learning review on working with and through the private sector in development co-operation. The report Private Sector Engagement for Sustainable Development: Lessons from the DACexamines the politics, policies and institutions behind private sector engagement, the focus and delivery of private sector engagements, private sector engagement portfolios, effective partnership and thematic issues including risk, leverage and ensuring results. Drawing on the practical experiences of DAC members, the report highlights good practice, provides a typology of private sector engagement and outlines key lessons.
To mark five years of the adoption of the Istanbul Principles for CSO Development Effectiveness, the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) launched two short and engaging videos: one which is a call to apply effective development cooperation principles in the overall development content and process, and another one which unpacks what accountability is for CSOs and why is it important when dealing with effective development cooperation.
A new CONCORD report entitled Sustainable Development - The stakes could not be higher provides recommendations to encourage the EU and its Member States to implement and ensure policy coherence for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Recommendations are illustrated by cases from EU Member States and partner countries and can be transposed to other national contexts
The Center for Economic and Social Rights has released a new briefing: From Disparity to Dignity: Tackling economic inequality through the Sustainable Development Goals. The document explains the central importance of Goal 10 to progress across the 2030 Agenda, and to human rights realization. It proposes a human rights-centered policy agenda to tackle economic inequality and the social inequalities it reinforces.
The Donor Tracker is a unique online resource by SEEK Development that offers free, independent, up-to-date analysis of 14 major OECD donor countries. Covering 90% of the world’s ODA, it provides data-driven insights on donors’ strategic priorities, funding trends, decision-making, and potential opportunities to influence development funding.
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