|CCIC monthly e-bulletin: January 2017|
Top 10 reasons why I expect the Trudeau government to increase Canadian aid in Budget 2017
As we approach budget day and speculate about how the government will address the many priorities, commitments and demands they face, we in the international development sector have been working together to build a solid case for why Budget 2017 needs to include a substantive increase in international assistance. Here are my current top 10 reasons why:
1. Because the world needs more from Canada now more than ever
2. Because this is important for Canada’s own prosperity and security
3. Because it is in our interests as a middle power with global ambitions
4. Because Canadians are global citizens
5. Because we need to put our money where our mouth is
6. Because we need to start now so that we eventually get to where we need to be
7. Because we are behind our peers
8. Because we are below our own historical averages
9. Because we have cross-party support for changing the negative trend
10. Because it is 2017…
On the positive side, since last year the world has embarked on an ambitious 15-year agenda to end poverty everywhere. Agenda 2030, with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), has been agreed to by most countries around the world and provides a framework that could transform our world promising peace and prosperity with healthy people and planet. The price tag, understandably, is huge. And while resources need to be mobilized across sectors and countries to realize the SDGs, the role of aid is central and critically important. Rich countries must do their part for Agenda 2030 to succeed, and Canada is far from the internationally agreed, UN-sanctioned 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) dedicated to Official Development Assistance. We are hovering just above one third of that.
As the world embarks on this ambitious agenda to transform our world, the political landscape around the globe is shifting and the popularity of nationalist, inward looking movements is growing. The number of countries we can rely on to provide global leadership over the coming years is shrinking, and Canada stands out as one of the key liberal democracies with solid footing and a stated commitment to internationalism. Canadian political leaders and Canadians understand that we can only be prosperous and peaceful if the rest of the world is also. Canada is quickly becoming one of the most globally-connected societies, with a healthy mix of immigrant groups and outward looking citizens that care about what happens beyond our borders.
The Trudeau government, from its early days, has announced its ambition to occupy a key place in steering the global community – including by occupying a seat in the security council. This makes sense today more than a year ago, and arguably more than ever. But if we are to realize those ambitions of being an influential player, we need to put our money where our mouth is and make proportionate investments on battling global challenges. This includes increasing our aid budget in the short-term, and sustaining that increase over the next decade so that we can reach 0.7% in the foreseeable future. For Budget 2017, increasing the aid budget by 12%, which is the minimum that Canada should do, is equivalent to a rounding error. The aid budget is around 2% of the overall federal budget, so an increase of 12% would not change anything in the larger scheme of things, but would make all the difference in the world with respect to the positive impact our new investments could make, and the enhanced credibility the country would earn.
A sustained increase of 12% per year would have Canada reaching the international target by 2030, the year that we should achieve the SDGs. It would put is back in a leadership position amongst our peers, a position we have lost since the 1990’s. It would get us out of the position we are in now: we are way back from our peers, the G7 and like-minded countries, and we are below our own historical record. Unless Budget 2017 starts correcting this, our current global and feminist Prime Minister will end his mandate with the lowest percentage contribution to aid, as a share of GNI, of any other Prime Minister in 50 years – that is unimaginable! He does not want that surely, and neither do we as a country want to be there.
Prime Minister Trudeau raised our expectations and the world’s when he coined the phrase “because it’s 2015” to explain the bold and progressive stance he was taking with respect to gender parity in his cabinet, and on women’s rights more broadly (and yes, he is a feminist too). Early in his mandate, he also announced that “Canada is back” and that “we are here to help”, signalling a new era of global engagement and leadership. Doing our part to increase and sustain the pot of development assistance funding for the world is a key part of that. We can do this. We are a stable, prosperous and generous country. In November, the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development called on the government to spend 0.35 percent of GNI by 2020, and to reach 0.7 by 2030. In December, in their Report on the Pre-Budget consultations, the Standing Committee on Finance concurred – calling on Canada to increase its official development Assistance (ODA) investments to 0.35 percent within the next three to four years. Canadians are supportive. Let’s get Canadian aid “Back on Track” in Budget 2017!
Do you have any reactions to this column? I’d like to hear from you! Please send any comments to Julia Sanchez.
On January 10, Prime Minister Trudeau announced a significant shuffle in the federal cabinet, including several changes relevant to CCIC and its members. Chrystia Freeland replaced Stéphane Dion as Minister of Foreign Affairs, with François-Philippe Champagne becoming the new Minister of International Trade. This shift suggests a reinforcement in the focus on trade and the Canada-US relationship at the political leadership level of Global Affairs Canada. Meanwhile, Maryam Monsef has replaced Patty Hajdu as Minister for the Status of Women, responsible for conducting a gender analysis of all government policy proposals before they are presented to Cabinet (Ms. Hajdu has become the new Minister of Labour). The new Minister of Democratic Institutions is Karina Gould, known well to the development and humanitarian community as the former Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of International Development. Minister Gould has been replaced in her previous role by Celina Caesar-Chavannes.
Public Policy Activities and Canada’s Global Development Sector
Late November and early December saw a number of face-to face consultations in cities across Canada on “Charities’ Political Activities,” a flashpoint for many in the charitable sector and that has a direct impact on our members. CCIC responded by engaging members around the process, conducting two national surveys to draw on member experiences, organizing webinars, participating in the consultations, and drafting a submission. The submission, “Modern Charities, Ancient Rules : Public Policy Activities and Canada’s Global Development Sector,” drew on data from the surveys, among other things. The key recommendations contained in this submission are that: 1) the Government of Canada work on developing a new legislative framework, in close collaboration with the charitable sector; 2) the CRA focus on supporting, and not restricting, charities’ engagement in public policy processes; 3) the CRA remove barriers imposed by direction and control measures; 4) restrictions on political activities be removed; and 5) in the immediate term, clarify and improve guidance around existing rules and regulations.
New program to enhance collaborations among academics and practitioners
CCIC, in partnership with the Canadian Association for the Study of International Development (CASID), is thrilled to launch a new research program entitled Next-Generation Leadership: New Models for Canadian Collaboration in International Development! Over a three-year IDRC-funded program (2016—2019), CCIC and CASID will identify and promote new ways of working among practitioners, researchers, academics, students and policy developers. The program has the ambition to position Canada as a leader in innovative multi-stakeholder approaches to global development research, practice and policy development, creating conditions for enhanced and sustained collaboration between civil society and academia. To achieve this, the program will support a series of partnerships between academics and practitioners, using a range of different models of collaboration – communities of practice, working groups, annual conferences, leaders’ forums, secondments and placements, speakers’ tours, and others – to stimulate new thinking and generate timely and policy-relevant joint research. The program will test and refine these models of practitioner-academic collaboration, generating processes, products and relationships that CCIC and CASID both hope will outlast the program’s timeframe.
Mapping who’s doing research on international development
As part of the three-year research program, CCIC and CASID are developing a searchable database of researchers from universities, colleges, think tanks and civil society organizations in Canada working on global development cooperation. The database, which will have an interactive visual format to it, will allow users to identify who is doing research on thematic and geographic issues - a sort of who’s who of the research community in Canada. To be launched early in the process of the three year-grant, it is hoped that the database will identify potential collaborators for the project (based on shared areas of interest), as well as provide tangible and useful resources for the research community. Global Affairs Canada has provided funding for the project.
Welcome to CCIC's new Collaborative Research Program officer!
On January 17, Andréanne Martel began her CCIC career as the new Program officer – to manage our new CCIC-CASID research program. Andréanne brings a wealth of experience in terms of coordination of collaborative research programs and monitoring and evaluation. Prior to joining CCIC, she worked in the Policy and Evaluation Division at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) as a Research Award Recipient. Since 2010, she also evaluated major post-earthquake projects and programs implemented in Haiti by NGOs and international organizations. She holds a Master’s degree in Political Science from Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), where she coordinated a research centre on international cooperation for three years. During her mandate, she was in charge of an international network focused on natural resources (REINVENTERRA), which brings together researchers from academic institutions and actors from civil society organizations (CSOs) from three regions (West Africa, South-East Asia, and Latin America).
APWG welcomes Research Assistant Intern Leigha McCarroll
The Asia-Pacific Working Group (APWG) is now starting phase II of the Research project on Canadian extractive industry in the Philippines, and Leigha McCarroll from Carleton University has been selected as the Research Assistant Intern. Phase I focused on a specific Canadian company operating in the Philippines and its structure using Strategic Corporate Research (SCR) methodology. In phase II, the research will focus on Canada’s policies and programs in the Philippines, including Canada-Philippine cooperation on security and Canadian development assistance, to gain a fuller understanding of the relation between Canadian support to the Philippines and ongoing human rights violations. The findings from these areas will be analyzed to inform a report for the APWG and future policy briefs.
Right To Play is a global organization committed to improving the lives of children and youth affected by conflict, disease and poverty. Established in 2000, Right To Play has pioneered a unique play-based approach to learning and development which focuses on quality education, life skills, health, gender equality, child protection and building peaceful communities. With programming in over 20 countries, Right To Play transforms the lives of more than one million children each week, both inside and outside of the classroom. In addition to its work with children, Right To Play advocates with parents, local communities, and governments to advance the fundamental rights of all children. Right To Play is headquartered in Toronto, Canada and has operations in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
MEMBER PROFILE: WaterAid Canada
MEMBERS IN ACTION
From February 5 to 11, the Canadian International Development sector will be celebrating the International Development Week (IDW). Established by Global Affairs Canada almost 30 years ago, IDW was created to share positive stories on development and the fight for equality, to mobilize Canadians on global issues and to shed a light on Canada’s engagement in the world. Many CCIC member organizations are actively involved in IDW, such as the Regional and Provincial Councils for International Cooperation (AQOCI, ACIC, ACGC, BCCIC, MCIC, SCIC, NCGC and OCIC) and many more. As part of its pre-budget 2017 mobilization, CCIC and other stakeholders will be organizing special events during IDW. For more information, please contact Chantal Havard.
Amnesty International recently launched an innovative online tool to highlight the rising wave of attacks against environmental activists across the Americas. Speak out for Defenders! features dozens of stories of activists from every corner of the Americas who have been harassed, threatened, attacked, unfairly jailed and even killed as punishment for their work to protect the environment. Latin America is the most dangerous region for people working on these issues. In 2015 alone, the NGO Global Witness recorded 185 killings of defenders of the land and the environment around the world, and 122 of these happened in Latin America.
Just before the annual World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Oxfam released a report on global economic inequality. The report shows that 8 billionaires – all men – have the same wealth as half the world, or 3.6 billion people. Here in Canada, just 2 billionaires own more wealth than the poorest 30% of Canadians. To explain the long-term trend of increasing wealth inequality the report looks at corporate behavior around wages, supply chains and taxes; and then explores how increasing shareholder power drives this behavior, and closeness to political power facilitates it. It also considers the role that the concentration of individual wealth plays in driving a vicious cycle of ever greater wealth inequality. The report is part of Oxfam’s ongoing Even it Up campaign.
World Animal Protection and Veterinarians without Borders created an e-petition calling for increased protection for livestock before and after disasters, as part of a signature investment in sustainable and resilient agriculture. Nearly 800 million livestock keepers live on less than $2 a day and are among those most vulnerable to disasters and climate change. Decreasing livestock losses during disasters reduces peoples’ vulnerability, facilitates their recovery and helps them achieve self-sufficiency quicker. Canadian aid for agriculture has fallen by 25% since 2011, and less than 1% is spent on disaster preparedness and prevention and little to no funding is directed towards protecting livestock during disasters. You have until Feb 3rd to sign the petition. It will be presented to Minister Bibeau for an official response.
Yogesh Ghore (centre in photo) has studied some of the world’s most complex market systems, but he also knows the power of a simple story. The livelihoods and markets specialist at Coady Institute has traveled twice to Uganda, teaming up with researchers at two UK-based organizations – the Institute of Development Studies and ADD International. It’s part of a two-year Rockefeller Foundation project to see if market-based solutions can improve the lives of those who are all but ignored in formal work or business environments. “So with IDS, we’ve collected 102 stories, half from rural areas in Uganda, the other half in the urban centre of Kampala. These were disabled people who are economically active and trying very hard to make a living. “We are learning a great deal about the realities faced by the extremely marginalized,” he says. “As we explore solutions, one thing is clear. One-sized or blanket solutions don’t work.”
Presented by Aga Khan Foundation Canada, Together is an innovative, interactive and multi-sensory exhibition designed to spark conversations on the role that Canadians can play in reducing global poverty. This unique, mobile exhibition is housed in a 53-foot custom vehicle, and features the work of 21 Canadian organizations engaged in improving the quality of life in the developing world. Since 2015, the exhibition has welcomed 40,000 visitors across ten provinces, inspiring Canadians to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges. In 2017, as part of Canada’s 150th celebrations, the Together exhibition will be touring across the country to celebrate Canada’s leadership in promoting a more peaceful, prosperous, and pluralist world. Follow the journey.
WORTH A LOOK
One article was published in January in CCIC’s blog, Development Unplugged. Entitled “The International Year Of Pulses Was Just The Beginning”, the article is a contribution of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). It focuses on the role of pulses in improving food security, nutrition and agricultural sustainability. Submissions to the blog are always welcome and should be sent to Chantal Havard.
Amnesty International Canada made public a human rights report card for the Trudeau government’s first year in power. The end-of-year assessment measures Canada’s progress against the organization’s Human Rights Agenda for Canada, as presented by Amnesty to government in December 2015 in order to help guide its efforts toward the protection of human rights domestically and abroad. According to the report card, although the Trudeau government has made important progress on a range of human rights issues, -both domestically and internationally-some very troubling concerns remain.
On January 12, CCIC organized a special webinar featuring Robert Greenhill, Executive Chairman of Global Canada, to present and discuss Global Canada’s latest report, Assessing Canada’s Global Engagement Gap, Second Edition. The report examines Canada’s commitment to collective security and international assistance in historical and comparative perspective. Key findings show how far behind Canada is on spending for global development cooperation: both compared to previous governments and to peers from the OECD. The report generated a lot of buzz and interest, including from the Globe and Mail and the BBC. Slides deck used at the webinar is available here, and recording of the webinar can be found here.
On International Human Rights Day, Global Affairs Canada paid tribute to human rights defenders around the globe and launched a publication called Canada’s Guidelines on Recognizing and Supporting Human Rights Defenders. The document is a how-to guide for supporting human rights defenders—with practical advice for officials at Canadian missions abroad and at Headquarters—as well as a clear statement of Canada’s commitment to promoting all human rights, including by supporting the vital work of human rights defenders.
On November 23, eleven leading civil society organizations publicly launched their submission to the Defence Policy Review, entitled "A Shift to Sustainable Peace and Common Security ." Led by the Group of 78 and the Rideau Institute, this document asks the Canadian government to articulate a clear set of guiding principles on foreign and defence policy – following the election of Donald Trump. The submission recommends a “UN-centred sustainable peace and common security” framework with the UN Charter as its bedrock. It also provides a number of specific recommendations including: how Canada can effectively re-engage in UN peacekeeping missions and training; key considerations for choices of weapons systems that meet Canadian needs, provide value to the taxpayer and strengthen international law; and the need for Canadian leadership in nuclear abolition.
The OECD recently published a report entitled International Migration in a Shifting World, which presents an overview of the shifting of economic activity to developing countries and examines whether this shift has led to an increase in international migration towards developing countries. The main purpose of the report is to enrich the debate on migration and development by highlighting the main trends of international migration; analyze the impact of migration on countries of origin and destination; discuss illustrative potential scenarios on the future of migration; and make recommendations to governments as well as to the international community on policies that could improve the contribution of migration to development.
Since its inception in 2012, the Southern Voice on Post-MDG International Development Goals (Southern Voice), a network of 48 think tanks from Africa, Asia and Latin America, has generated a substantial body of original research to feed into various aspects of the post-2015 development agenda. The book Southern Perspectives on the Post-2015 International Development Agenda consolidates this research and stitches together development realities and policy experiences from the Global South, infusing unique local perspectives to the global debate on the post-2015 agenda. It focuses on issues such as sustainability and growth, inclusion and social policies, governance and capacities, as well as financing of the new agenda.
Producing knowledge that is relevant and can be acted upon is essential for international development. There is a renewed urgency for knowledge from the civil society sector, particularly non-academic organizations, to be acknowledged and recorded, to be distilled and leveraged, in order to help the sector retain its relevance. Putting Knowledge to Work unveils the often under-rated role that knowledge plays in non-governmental organizations’ (NGO) work in international cooperation for development. The book not only unpacks tensions and challenges faced by small- and medium-sized development NGOs in particular; it also analyses cases in which organizations have devised inspiring solutions to improve their own performance, often in the face of adversity.
CCIC IN THE NEWS
‘With all the talk of Canada being back,’ aid groups ‘alarmed,’ told to expect little from budget
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Mobilizing Leadership for Global Sustainable Development - OCIC
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene are essential to achieving the SDGs - WaterAid
Building Inclusive Communities - FCM
8th International Conference on Human Rights Education: Bridging our diversities - Equitas
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.