To call the Summit on Canada’s Global Leadership a success doesn’t do it justice.
The two-day event brought together diverse voices across Canada’s foreign policy sub-sectors to discuss and analyze opportunities for a balanced approach to Canadian foreign policy coherence.
But more than that, it provided a platform to understand where Canadian state and non-state actors stand at the nexus of international trade, security, diplomacy, development and humanitarian assistance.
It brought leaders and thinkers together, including the Minister for International Development, the UN Ambassador for Women Peace and Security, the Chief of Defence Staff, former MPs and heads of development agencies.
In all, 462 participants, 160 speakers, and 30 volunteers convened to examine a more ambitious and comprehensive Canadian foreign policy and to build relationships of collaboration across sectors.
In addition to the Summit, there were a total of 15 side events, including a sector communications forum, breakfast sessions, a CEO/ED & Youth Leader reception, a film festival, and a Global Affairs Consultation.
Final Summit Report
The Summit raised a number of ideas and reflections that led us to identify a range of options for implementing a bold vision of a globally engaged Canada. Read here an outcome document showcasing the main lines of discussion during the Summit and providing a basis for further reflection. This document was developed based on feedback during Summit sessions and subsequently from session organizers and participants. It represents a further contribution of the Summit to its goal of stimulating discussion and improvement of Canada’s foreign policy.
The Summit was a great opportunity for the sector to expand its collective reach. A number of blog posts, written by participants and speakers, were shared in the lead-up to the summit.
Following the Summit, the CCIC recorded four podcasts for our Development Unplugged series, with the support of Crestview Strategy. Already two of the podcasts have been released. Download them on your favourite podcast app or listen to them on our website.
RCI Net produced nine podcasts with “insights into Canada’s foreign, defence and development policy” The Diplomatic Dispatch series features discussions with Summit participants and presenters, including policy makers, former and serving diplomats and soldiers, academics and think tank experts, humanitarian workers, civil society activists and entrepreneurs.
The support and involvement of our sponsors greatly contributed to making the Summit a success.
In this fourth episode in a series of four podcasts related to the Summit on Canada’s Global Leadership, produced with the support of Crestview Strategy, our guest host, Jason Clark, a senior consultant with Crestview Strategy, leads a discussion on using digital campaigns within the development sector and how new tools and technologies can be effectively used to drive winning outcomes.
Jason is joined by Julia Anderson, the Chief Operations Officer with CanWaCH; Prateek Awasthi, the Director of Policy and Advocacy with Engineers Without Borders; and Jennifer Li, a Campaign Strategist with Crestview Strategy.
With the approaching closure of the Next Generation Program, the time has come to read and reflect on the multitude of achievements the program has brought to our sector. The program inspired the policy, practice and investments decisions of civil society organizations, academic institutions, networks, funders and governments. The Next Generation Program also provided recommendations that emphasized effective partnerships, inclusion of young people, new technologies, monitoring, evaluation and learning and more importantly sustainable collaboration fueled by an enabling environment for collaboration between academics and practitioners. The Next Generation Program’s success is due to the ability of CASID and CCIC to reimagine existing activities through a collaborative lens – amplifying the importance of academic-civil society collaboration at the core of the Next Generation Program.
Click here to read this much anticipated evaluation!
Joining Nicolas Moyer, president and CEO of CCIC, to explore current trends and shifting global landscapes, address Canada’s internal tensions, and introduce some ideas for a path forward to deal with climate change are Catherine Abreu, the executive director of the Climate Action Network, and Stephen Cornish, the president and CEO of the David Suzuki Foundation.
To mark the 30th anniversary of the International Development Week, The Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC) and World University Service Canada (WUSC) launched the Innovation and Impact Awards, recognizing an individual and a Canadian organization for the contributions they have made to global development and humanitarian assistance. We speak to the two winners whose work span food aid, sanitation, and the empowerment of entrepreneurs.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of International Development Week – an annual initiative acknowledging Canada’s contributions to global humanitarian assistance. The theme for this year? ‘Go for the Goals’, referring to the UN’s 2030 Agenda for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), encouraging Canadians to tirelessly push for a better world, together.
Canada has countless examples of homegrown solutions to some of the world’s toughest problems, from health to housing. Growcer is a Canadian company addressing food insecurity by providing mobile growing systems to help individuals, communities, and organizations grow food locally and effortlessly — from the Arctic to the desert. Youth Challenge International empowers youth to create market-ready solutions to global problems by addressing issues around health, the environment and employment inequality. Several Canadian financial tech-for-good startups are helping Canadians out of debt, while Canada’s North continues to lead the way on a number of life-enhancing innovations.
In the last decade to achieve the SDGs, this type of ingenuity has become more crucial than ever. To celebrate those driving change, the Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC), alongside the World University Service of Canada (WUSC), in collaboration with the trustees of the Lewis Perinbam Award, launched the Innovation and Impact Awards, to recognize Canadian individuals and organizations with a unique, innovative practice in international development and humanitarian response.
Photo: Canadian Foodgrains Bank
Jim Cornelius, Executive Director of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, is this year’s Individual winner, in recognition of the groundbreaking work he has done in food aid policy.
Canadian Foodgrains Bank aims for a world without hunger by providing food in times of crisis for populations in developing countries. With Cornelius at the helm, the organization has advocated for public policy changes to enable communities to better feed themselves, while educating Canadians about global hunger. The Foodgrains Bank works with about 40 countries around the world, and has helped over 800,000 people to date.
In the past, food aid had been a means of disposing of agricultural surpluses. According to Cornelius, when he first joined the organization, 90% of grains commodities were being shipped from Canada. Despite feeding people, these shipments were negatively affecting local markets and food producers. “I did a big study on local purchase for the Foodgrains Bank and intellectually, it made sense to shift from Canadian shipments to local purchases.”
This shift would provide countries with long-term food security with smallholder farms benefiting from higher customer demands, while the food itself was closer to local diets.
Cornelius and his team were challenging the status quo. “It wasn’t just a matter of persuading policy makers and ministers — we had to persuade the agricultural community in Canada not to oppose the change. We did all the intellectual work to make the case, and then we had to do the political work. It took us 10 years.”
In April 2008, Cornelius and his team were successful in convincing the Canadian government to change the food aid policy, and today, the majority of Canadian food aid is purchased in developing countries. “It’s about building relationships and sorting through the political dynamics — understanding how you get people to work together for a common cause.
One of the things we were blessed with is a simple mission,” Cornelius adds. “We are focused on hunger, and connecting people to that.”
Much like the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, iDE — the organizational winner for the Innovation and Impact Awards — has worked closely with the Canadian government, as well as governments overseas, to execute their social impact mission. This non-profit addresses poverty by helping to build businesses in lower-income countries, enabling economic growth.
Stuart Taylor, CEO, says, “iDE has always had business at its heart. Our mission is really about creating opportunities for people who are living in poverty to find a sustainable way out of that, and to create prosperity on [the individual’s] own terms.”
iDE’s first project was building donkey carts in a refugee camp in Somalia. “The UN [thought it was] crazy — ‘this is a refugee camp, why are you talking about business’? But people who are living in those extreme circumstances, often by necessity, are some of the most entrepreneurial people in the world. So the project was successful. [People] have the creativity, the ingenuity, and the tenacity to find solutions, and to really create change within their own communities.”
It was iDE’s initiative, WASH, that earned them the Innovation and Impact Award. WASH was created to improve sanitation coverage through Sanitation Marketing: “[It’s about] paying attention to things like even what colour is [the latrine]? Is it titled, what’s the design? [We’re] rapidly prototyping so we know that the product that we’re putting on the market is really speaking to people’s desires,” Taylor says. “It has to be affordable, but sometimes people will pay a little bit more for something that speaks to their aspirations. We can sometimes forget — or maybe wilfully ignore that.”
iDE also provides innovative social assistance to support those wanting to make an investment, including a psychometric test. “It gives us a sense of this person’s likelihood of being able to pay their monthly instalments,” Taylor explains. “It’s really looking at their attitude toward money. It’s based on an evolving and live statistical model that gives us a probability. It makes assistance so efficient because you don’t need bank statements and guarantors. It gives almost an instant response.”
iDE is a pioneer in market-based development. Today, the organization has impacted more than 23 million people globally through its numerous programs, with longstanding presence in 11 countries.
International Development Week gives us the opportunity to celebrate Canadian contributions just like these. By presenting the Awards, CCIC and WUSC foster the growth of a more relevant, responsive, and effective global development sector — with innovation at its core.
Nickie Shobeiry is a freelance writer focusing on stories of social impact, entrepreneurship and the arts.
Our guests are: Rachel Vincent, the co-executive director of the Nobel Women’s Initiative; Rudyard Griffiths, the chair of Munk Debates and an acclaimed author; Brian Kingston, vice-president of policy, international and fiscal at the Business Council of Canada; and Nilima Gulrajani, a visiting fellow at the Canadian International Council and senior research fellow with the Overseas Development Institute.