Women Deliver – Now it’s Canada’s Turn

Women Deliver – Now it’s Canada’s Turn

From June 3-6, Vancouver became the planet’s feminist capital. Over 8,000 champions of women’s rights came from around the world to the Women Deliver Conference, drawn in no small part by the feminist leadership of the Canadian government. They came with high expectations, and they will leave impressed.  

The federal government rose to the occasion and delivered in two big ways for women’s and girls’ rights in Canada and internationally  

Already, since 2017, when Canada adopted its Feminist International Assistance Policy,Canadian aid has been squarely focused on promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls. While several other donor countries are also working on gender equality, Canada is the first to make it the centre of its international assistance.  

On Sunday, June 2, Canada launched first-of-its-kind initiative to mobilize new philanthropy, the private sector, and other investment vehicles, and leverage their funds in support of women’s movements and organizations in developing countries and in Canada. Seeded with $300 million from the federal government, the Gender Equality Partnership offers the potential to mobilize unprecedented levels of resources and create a sustainable and predictable source of funding for this crucial work.  

For anyone who may fear that funding for women’s groups could lose political favour one day, it is reassuring that this fund is set up independently of government and designed to operate sustainably.   

Two days later, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced continued and increased investment in the health of women and girls. By 2023, Canada will ramp-up its investment in global health to $1.4 billion annually, with an emphasis on maternal, newborn and child health, and sexual and reproductive health rights  

These two announcements will undoubtedly boost Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy. But their merit extends beyond this government’s own policy commitments. 

Canada’s annual investment will include $700 million for the most underfunded areas of sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) – a commitment that will empower 18 million women and girls. With a ten-year timeframegovernment and partners will be able to apply effective longer-term approaches and make measurable progress in tackling some of the world’s most intractable health challenges. 

Faced with threats today to hardwon gains for gender equality, in forms as varied as attacks on a woman’s right to choose south of the border, the roll back of sexual education in Ontario and online hate against gender equality champions, feminists present in Vancouver were looking for leaders to push back. Canada stepped up. 

There is overwhelming evidence that gender equality is critical to sustainable development. Investments in gender equality yield substantial returns both economically and socially – and investments in neglected areas of SRHR bring some of the highest of all. 

Data aside, it’s intuitive that we cannot achieve the best possible world without first securing equal rights and opportunity for half the population.  

Both of these announcements followed sustained initiatives by civil society to build a case for strong Canadian leadership for gender equality. The success of these efforts is testimony to the better world that is within our reach when government and civil society collaborate to create positive and lasting change.  

The government can and must be applauded for reinforcing its commitment to supporting effective development cooperation and advancing gender equality. 

And yet even effective and impactful programming will not be enough to meet global development challenges. Canadian aid has declined as a percentage of the economy over the last decade – through both Liberal and Conservative governments. It now sits near a record low, at about $0.27 for every $100 of Gross National Income 

The government’s ten-year commitment ends in 2030, the same year the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals come due. This government has spoken repeatedly of its ambition for Canadian leadership on the global stage. As we celebrate this progress and look to the future of Canadian aid, the fact is that it can still do more to fulfill that ambition. 

Nicolas Moyer is President and CEO of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC), the national association of Canadian international development and humanitarian organizations. 

 

Press Release: CCIC Welcomes Major Canadian Investment in Advancing Gender Equality

Vancouver, British Columbia (June 4, 2019) – The Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) welcomes the Government of Canada’s announcement of continued and increased investment to advance gender equality of women and girls. This represents ramped-up investment to $1.4 billion annually for ten years to support global health, including $700 million for the most underfunded areas of sexual and reproductive health and rights – a commitment that will have a significant impact on empowering 18 million women and girls. The announcement was made today by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Vancouver at the Women Deliver Conference.  

This progressive investment demonstrates Canada’s commitment to continued leadership in the areas of maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH), as well as sexual and reproductive health rights, in Canada and abroad,” said Nicolas Moyer, President and CEO of CCIC. We are pleased to see this important contribution to fulfilling Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy.” 

Canada’s commitment to supporting effective and impactful development cooperation, including advancing gender equality, should include additional sustained and predictable increases to Canada’s Official Development Assistance (ODA). Such increases will be required to meet Canada’s commitment to the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development  and to achieving the government’s own objectives as expressed in the Feminist International Assistance Policy, which is focused on empowering women and girls to achieve positive change.   

“Today’s announcement comes following a sustained initiative by Canadian civil society organizations to build a case for investing in strong Canadian leadership in support of women, adolescent and children’s health and rights around the world,” adds Mr. Moyer. “The success of the Thrive Agenda shows how civil society working in coalitions can enable positive and lasting change. We look forward to continuing to work with our member organizations and the government to implement this commitment.” 

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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 80+ 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 and political priority and to encouraging the actions necessary to make a poverty-free world a reality. 

CCIC is a member of the Future Planning Initiative, a coalition of Canadian organizations working together to advocate for Canadian leadership on SRHR. Recognizing these rights as central to good health and sustainable development, the Future Planning Initiative works to push the SRHR agenda forward and, along with many other organizations, played a key partnership role in advocating for the Thrive Agenda. 

 

For more information and to arrange an interview with Nicolas Moyer, President-CEO of CCIC, contact: 
Sophie Rosa
Director, Public Affairs and Member Services
Canadian Council for International Co-operation
E-mail: srosa@ccic.ca
Cell phone: (613) 219-6514 

Press Release: CCIC Welcomes the Launch of the Gender Equality Partnership

Ottawa, Ontario (June 2, 2019) – The Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) welcomes the launch of the Gender Equality Partnership in support of gender equality and the rights of girls and women in developing countries and in Canada. The Equality Fund will be leading the creation and the roll out of the Gender Equality Partnership, as announced today at the Women Deliver Conference in Vancouver.

“The Gender Equality Partnership is a unique and transformational initiative that will ensure long-term sustainable funding for women’s organizations to advance women’s rights, gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls overseas and in Canada. Nothing like it exists anywhere,” says Nicolas Moyer, President and CEO of CCIC. “We believe in the strength of working in partnerships, and this new initiative will unite diverse actors and draw on the strengths of each partner.”  

In 2017, the Government of Canada adopted a Feminist International Assistance Policy that seeks to eradicate poverty and build a more peaceful, more inclusive and more prosperous world, with a focus on promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls. While several other donor countries are also working on gender equality, the Gender Equality Partnership is the first initiative allowing members of the philanthropic community, the private sector, not-for profit and non-governmental organizations to unite with government and leverage their funds to ensure long-term sustainable financing. This new partnership offers the potential to mobilize unprecedented levels of resources and create a sustainable and predictable source of funding for organizations with a primary mandate to advance women’s rights, gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in developing countries and in Canada. 

 “Today’s announcement represents a concrete contribution to fulfilling the ambition of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy,” added Mr. Moyer. “We look forward to an open and inclusive process for implementing the partnership in a way that meets the full potential of this new model for long-term transformational progress towards gender equality.” 

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About the Canadian Council for International Co-Operation (CCIC)

The Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) is Canada’s independent national voice for international development. Together with 80+ 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 and political priority and to encouraging the actions necessary to make a poverty-free world a reality.

Nicolas Moyer, President and CEO of CCIC, sits on Global Affairs Canada’s External Advisory Committee for the Gender Equality Partnership, alongside other members from civil society, the philanthropic community and the private sector. The Advisory Committee provided independent advice on process steps, requirements, assessment tools and outreach, but did not participate in the selection process for the implementing consortium.

For more information and to arrange an interview with Nicolas Moyer, President-CEO of CCIC, contact:
Sophie Rosa
Director, Public Affairs and Member Services
Canadian Council for International Co-operation
E-mail: srosa@ccic.ca
Cell phone: (613) 219-6514

Note: The Equality Fund collective is a partnership between leading actors in feminist organizing, global philanthropy and impact investing that is consolidating talent and expertise to design and build the Equality Fund. The Equality Fund partners are: The MATCH International Women’s Fund (The MATCH Fund), The African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF), Calvert Impact Capital, The Canadian Women’s Foundation, Community Foundations of Canada (CFC), Oxfam Canada, Philanthropy for Advancing Women’s Human Rights (PAWHR), Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto Foundation, WUSC (World University Service of Canada), Yaletown Partners. For more information, visit their website: https://www.equalityfund.ca/

Liz Bernstein is the 2019 Karen Takacs Award Recipient

Liz Bernstein is the 2019 Karen Takacs Award Recipient

The Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) is happy to announce that Liz Bernstein is the 2019 Karen Takacs Award Recipient.  The Karen Takacs Award is presented annually by CCIC to an individual who has notably, by virtue of working collaboratively, made a difference in the lives of women globally. The award honours outstanding collaborative leadership and commitment to promoting women’s equality.   

Liz Bernstein is the founding Director of the Nobel Women’s Initiative. Liz has led the organization in building strong relationships with Global South grassroots women’s organizations to grow the global women’s peace movement. Previously, Liz served as Coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) from 1998 through 2004. Liz participated in the campaign since it began in the early 1990s. She lived in Thailand and Cambodia for 10 years (1986-1996), where she worked with local peace and justice advocacy organizations and co-founded the Coalition for Peace and Reconciliation. Liz currently lives in Ottawa, Canada. She is a co-founder of Ecology Ottawa and President of the Lowertown Community Association in Ottawa. 

History & Context 

Karen Takacs was a celebrated and cherished leader of the Canadian international community. For over 20 years, Karen worked tirelessly to improve the lives and advance the rights of women and girls locally, nationally, and internationally. 

Karen was a catalyst for collaboration in the Canadian international sector. Throughout her life, Karen was admired for motivating and bringing people together around a common cause. By way of encouragement, generosity, and humour, Karen led by mobilizing and supporting others. Following Karen’s passing in 2015, the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) created an award to honour her invaluable contribution to the fight for social and economic justice, and to celebrate the unique collaborative leadership she demonstrated throughout her career, including her time as Chair of the Board of CCIC.  For the Canadian global development community, The Karen Takacs Award is a symbol of feminism, collaboration, advocacy, mentorship, and resilience. 

I am honoured and humbled to receive the Karen Takacs award! Karen was one of the first people I met in this community. She was a feminist movement-builder extraordinaire who taught me so much. Especially about polite Canadian collaboration! Despite the enormous challenges we face, from climate breakdown, backlash against women’s human rights, militarism, bigotry, and injustice, we have the tools we need to strengthen our movements for feminist transformation, for a Canada and world of peace and equality. It’s not rocket science. We’re always better together!

Liz Bernstein

Director, Nobel Women’s Initiative