Humanitarian Discussions, Policy, and Funding

Humanitarian Discussions, Policy, and Funding

HRN Heads of Agencies Meeting

Leaders from members of the Humanitarian Response Network of Canada (HRN) met on September 30th in Montreal at the HRN Heads of Agency Meeting (HoA). This annual event convenes Executive Directors and CEOs of HRN members, their senior humanitarian staff, and Government of Canada representatives to discuss their collective experience in humanitarian response. The meeting contained rich discussions on a variety of topics within the theme of “The role of organisational leadership in strengthening the Canadian humanitarian system”.

The day started off with presentations from leaders on key issues affecting the sector as a whole. Humanitarian policy and funding, charitable regulations, and localization were brought forward as key issues to be tackled by the leaders in the room. A panel discussion was also held to dig deep into the nuances of working in the humanitarian-development-peace nexus, exploring how to uphold the humanitarian principles of impartiality, neutrality, independence, and humanity while integrating more sustainable, long-term, resilience-building, and gender-responsive solutions into responses to protracted crises and conflicts. Following the panel, 29 leaders of Canada’s humanitarian organisations signed a joint statement confirming their commitment to work in an integrated, inclusive and principled approach to enable better collaboration between the humanitarian, development and peace sectors. The statement, a first of its kind made by a group of heads of agencies in Canada, affirms that sustainable solutions for crisis-affected people must be the ultimate objective of all integrated approaches.

The afternoon was focused on organisations themselves, building on the policy and programming focus of the morning discussions. Sessions were held to encourage leaders to think about how to support a more diverse and inclusive sector, and an employer’s responsibility to take all steps reasonably possible to ensure the health, safety, and wellbeing of employees. The day ended with an inspiring keynote speech from Solange Tuyishime, CEO of Elevate International and UNICEF Canada ambassador. Overall the day was full of opportunities for leaders to connect with one another – a unique moment for the sector.

 

I found the topics quite relevant and believe that there was a lot there that could be taken back to my organization and followed up on. The diversity session was particularly useful for pushing us to think more about inclusion.

Participant feedback

Humanitarian Policy

At the meeting, CCIC presented a review of recent developments in humanitarian policy and funding. Below are the key messages:

After months of consultation through a far-reaching and highly consultative International Assistance Review, Canada launched its new Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP) in June 2017. Humanitarian assistance was integrated within this Policy, grouped alongside health and nutrition and education as part of the “Human Dignity” action area.

Yet while humanitarian assistance was in some sense subsumed within the FIAP framework, it stood out in terms of implementation. Some two years later, in April 2019, Canada launched its Policy on Gender Equality in Humanitarian Action as the first of a set of policies on each of the action areas in the FIAP.

The story behind the leadership of the humanitarian sector in FIAP implementation is one of civil society engagement. At the end of 2017, as soon as the government announced that it would develop a suite of policies to guide the FIAP, the Humanitarian Policy and Advocacy Group at the Canadian Council for International Co-operation prepared a substantial and comprehensive joint submission proposing principles and activities for a feminist humanitarian policy. This followed up on the longstanding civil society ask for a defined Canadian humanitarian policy – something that, in the context of the FIAP, Global Affairs Canada (GAC) appeared prepared to deliver. In its submission, the humanitarian sector asked for an emphasis on an intersectional approach to humanitarian assistance that recognizes the nexus between humanitarian response, development, and peacebuilding.

After more than a year of back-and-forth between ministerial and bureaucratic staff at GAC, the humanitarian team there reached out in early 2019 to the Humanitarian Policy and Advocacy Group and the Humanitarian Response Network of Canada for input on a draft humanitarian policy. The humanitarian sector gave substantial feedback, noting opportunities to enhance rights-based language, clarify the scope, and strengthen the focus on intersectional nexus programming.

This feedback was quite well reflected in the final version of the policy presented at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings in April 2019. The Humanitarian Policy and Advocacy Group made a joint statement in response to the launch.

As the strong commitments in the FIAP and the humanitarian policy are further implemented through internal guidance and plan, these should be developed jointly by GAC and civil society and informed by both policy and practice.

 

Humanitarian Funding

The change in Canadian humanitarian policy coincides with changes in Canadian humanitarian funding. These trends are presented in a new analysis from CCIC that was presented to the Humanitarian Response Network at the Heads of Agencies meeting and is now being shared publicly.

Please read this analysis here:  Humanitarian Spending 2019

 

 

 

 Aislynn Row is the Coordinator of the Humanitarian Response Network of Canada.

 

 

Gavin Charles is the Policy Team Lead at the Canadian Council for International Co-operation.

The Canadian Council for International Co-operation Releases Recommendations to Improve the Regulatory and Legislative Framework for Canada’s Charitable Sector

The Canadian Council for International Co-operation Releases Recommendations to Improve the Regulatory and Legislative Framework for Canada’s Charitable Sector

Ottawa, ON (15 OCT 2019) – The Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) released a policy brief today showing that Canadian charities working internationally are governed by a set of provisions that restrict their ability to partner effectively in the delivery of their charitable mandate. Titled “Directed Charities and Controlled Partnerships,” the brief examines two regulatory and legislative elements: “direction and control” provisions and anti-terror legislation.

To download the full brief, visit CCIC’s web site here: Directed Charities and Controlled Partnerships

The brief includes recommendations that are informed by a literature review, a survey of Canadian charities, and comparative research including interviews with national charity coalitions from other high-income countries. CCIC also provides recommendations for how the Government of Canada can improve the regulatory and legislative framework for Canada’s charitable sector.

This analysis provides a unique perspective on this issue specific to the international cooperation sector. It includes input from the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) which collaborated on the section concerning anti-terrorism legislation.

This policy brief was produced with the financial support of the Muttart Foundation.

 

Canadian charities working internationally are required to exercise an extremely high level of operational control in their work. Unfortunately, this can undermine principles of effective development and good partnership. Fortunately, there are ways to improve, and we can draw on the experience of other countries and the expertise within Canada’s charitable sector.

Gavin Charles

Policy Team Lead, Canadian Council for International Cooperation

Canadians expect humanitarian organizations to provide essential and live-saving support wherever it is needed, but they are being hindered in their work, despite their best efforts, by vague, broad and unnecessary anti-terrorism laws that do more to put people at risk than prevent violent crimes. Future governments should take decisive action to fix these troubling laws.

Tim McSorley

National Coordinator, International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group

Canada’s “direction and control” provisions governing Canadian charities are unusual and unique among peer countries. These rules impose a high transaction cost to Canadian funding to projects around the globe and undermine partnership relations with others. We invite the Government of Canada to engage in dialogue and consultation with Canadian charities working internationally to ensure its policy on oversight of charitable resources reflects Canada’s commitments to partnership and localization in development cooperation and humanitarian assistance.

Nicolas Moyer

President and CEO , Canadian Council for International Cooperation

Background:

  • In 2016, CCIC made a submission to the Canadian Revenue Agency’s consultation on charities’ political activities. The report is titled “Modern Charities, Ancient Policies: Public policy and Canada’s development sector” and available here.
  • In September 2018, CCIC made an oral testimony as part of the consultations in Advance of the 2019 Budget. One of the themes covered was the key role charities play in both the economic and societal success of Canada. The testimony is available here.
  • In May 2019, CCIC made a submission with a list of recommendations to the Senate’s study on the charitable sector. The document is available here.

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About the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC)
The Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) is Canada’s national association representing international development and humanitarian organizations. Together with our member organizations, CCIC seeks to end global poverty and to promote social justice and human dignity for all. CCIC is committed to making this goal a public priority and to encouraging the actions necessary to make a poverty-free world a reality.

 

Media Contact:

Thida Ith, Media and Communications Officer
tith@ccic.ca / Phone: (613) 241-7007 ext. 343/ Cell phone: (437) 779-0883

Joint Humanitarian Civil Society Statement on Canada’s Policy for Gender Equality in Humanitarian Action

As Canadian humanitarian agencies working to save lives, uphold human rights, and empower people, particularly women and girls, in crises, we have closely followed and participated in the development and implementation of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP). We commented during the 2016 International Assistance Review, and we welcomed the release of the FIAP, which continues to provide a strong vision for how Canada focuses its development and humanitarian efforts.

 

Throughout this engagement, we have been committed to gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in the humanitarian system. Humanitarian and international development communities, both in Canada and around the world, have called for gender to be woven throughout efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. As part of our work with the Government of Canada to articulate what this entails, we have called for Canada to pursue a feminist humanitarian assistance policy, rooted in an intersectional and rights-based approach.

 

This weekend, on the margins of the World Bank – International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings in Washington, D.C., the Minister of International Development, Hon. Maryam Monsef, announced Canada’s Policy for Gender Equality in Humanitarian Action.

 

We welcome this new document, which provides a step towards clarifying the government’s commitment to gender-responsive humanitarian intervention. In particular, we welcome the references to humanitarian principles and international humanitarian law, the commitment to an intersectional feminist approach and to pursue gender-transformative humanitarian action where and when possible, the support for local women’s rights groups, and the focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) needs in humanitarian contexts. This document reinforces the Government of Canada’s commitment to needs-based, principled, and gender-responsive humanitarian action.

 

With strong words on paper, we must now see strong action. It is nearly two years since the FIAP was launched. This new policy document begins to identify how Global Affairs Canada will define and approach gender-responsive humanitarian action as a key part of FIAP implementation.

Recognizing Canada’s consistent leadership and recent investments in this area, we look forward to operationalization of the policy, including further details on ways of working and funding that will help lay the groundwork for addressing the structural root causes and gender inequality in humanitarian contexts. We are ready to contribute our collective operational and policy expertise to help design and implement these new approaches, including through programming that bridges the humanitarian-development-peace nexus.

 

Many of our organizations have recently endorsed an inter-agency position paper entitled Women’s and girls’ rights and action in humanitarian action: A life-saving priority. This paper seeks to translate the G7 Whistler Declarations (A|B) into concrete and measurable action in five key areas:

(1) women’s and girls’ voice and leadership; (2) equitable access to sexual and reproductive health

 

services; (3) prevention and response to gender-based violence; (4) preventing sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse; and (5) supporting women’s economic empowerment. These are the kind of specific, measurable actions that will be necessary in the very near term in order to meet the ambition of Canada’s policy agenda.

 

It is high time that the international community rally together to uphold women’s and girls’ rights where they are furthest behind: in conflict and emergency settings. A more systematic approach for ensuring that humanitarian action responds to women’s and girls’ rights and needs is within reach. Canada, with its Policy for Gender Equality in Humanitarian Action has a crucial leadership role to play. Now, the Government of Canada must take swift and continued action to sustain its constructive role.

 

We look forward to working with the Government of Canada to ensure meaningful participation of women and girls, hold humanitarian actors accountable for working with women’s and girls’ rights actors, and mobilize long-term predictable funding for these crucial groups. Through these concrete and sustained actions, Canada can continue to help transform the ways humanitarian agencies and the humanitarian coordination system operate on the ground, to better serve the women, men, girls and boys living in crisis and truly leave no one behind.

 

 

Read the pdf herePDF

On April 13, 2019, Canada introduced its new policy on gender equality in humanitarian action. The following is a joint response by Canadian civil society organizations active in humanitarian response, welcoming the new policy and looking forward to its implementation.

CCIC and Global Affairs Canada Partnering to Enhance Canada’s International Assistance

CCIC and Global Affairs Canada Partnering to Enhance Canada’s International Assistance

CCIC is collaborating with GAC to help shape and improve Canadian international assistance, by implementing the Feminist International Assistance Policy and streamlining funding agreements and processes. CCIC leverages its national membership to inform GAC decisions and processes through three key working groups: the Task Force for Increasing Effectiveness (TAFIE), CCIC Chief Financial Officer Working Group, and Civil Society Policy Advisory Group (CPAG).

Please consult the infosheet below to understand why these groups exist, who is involved, what they are doing, and how CCIC members can participate.

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Civil Society Policy Advisory Group (CPAG)

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Task Force on Increasing Effectiveness (TAFIE)

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Chief Financial Officer Working Group

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Daring to risk and fail – Building an innovation agenda in Canada’s global development and humanitarian community

Daring to risk and fail – Building an innovation agenda in Canada’s global development and humanitarian community

Is the practice of innovation an essential way forward for international development and humanitarian organizations? How do we test out radical ideas when there is so much at stake? And what does ‘innovation’ actually mean?

 

The intent of the paper is to help give shape to how CCIC might learn from the experience of these platforms as it shapes its own innovation agenda and works to implement one of three core CCIC strategic directions for 2018-23: Inspire and support the growth of a more relevant, responsive and effective global development and humanitarian assistance sector that, through a broad range of innovations, can create sustainable impact and change in collaboration with our partners.

Full Report

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Executive Summary

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