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Message from the President-CEO

Dear colleagues,

The week of May 22 – 25 was a key one for the CCIC team, and for the community in many ways. We started the week by hosting an internal dialogue on mining and development, and more specifically on the controversial issue of modalities of engagement with the extractive industry. Twenty people from 14 organizations came together to share information on their diverse approaches on the mining sector, discuss commonalities that bring us together, and identify and debate some of the key issues on which we have important differences. As convenor and facilitator for the day, I came away feeling that we achieved the best result possible: an honest, respectful and substantial conversation on a key issue for international development. But it was only a first step in tackling a very controversial, complex and important challenge facing our sector, and we are now reflecting on next steps. A full report of the meeting will be available soon.

After a CCIC board meeting on May 23, we held our CCIC Forum and AGM on May 24-25, featuring panel debates, workshops and discussions around key issues in international development. Full reports from the Forum and AGM will be available soon. We are very grateful to all panelists, facilitators and participants for their contributions to making these two days a valuable experience for all. If you attended the Forum and AGM but did not have a chance to fill in the evaluation yet, it is not too late – you can still fill it in and email to Anna Campos. Your inputs help us to design our next Forum and AGM and our yearly activities in a manner that best matches member expectations and needs.

Following up on the Forum, we will convene working groups/task forces for key files, including our ethics program, the metrics for our sector, and the broader question of reframing our narrative. Invitations to join these groups will go out shortly to all CCIC members and we hope many of you will join. We will also organize discrete opportunities throughout the year for members to engage in further discussions around funding opportunities and advocacy issues, the private sector and development, and the implementation of the Istanbul Principles. So stay tuned: the Forum and AGM were only the beginning of a menu of activities for member engagement and interaction throughout 2012-2013 and beyond!

Our plans for the 2013 Forum and AGM are underway and already include: greater youth involvement, with incentives for members to bring upcoming and promising young talent in your organizations to the forum; more time for networking and discussion to complement the excellent panelists and presentations; another coalitions bazaar that better allows coalitions to showcase their work; and a new location downtown.

So please save the dates - for we do not want you to miss the CCIC Forum and AGM on May 23-24, 2013. We will again present you with a rich and full set of activities to stimulate critical reflection, discussion and debate around key issues for our sector and civil society more broadly.

In solidarity,

Julia Sánchez

Séparateur

Headlines

CCIC presents to parliamentary committee on role of the private sector in development

On May 28, Fraser Reilly-King, CCIC Policy Analyst on Aid, appeared before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development to participate as a witness in their study on “The Role of the Private Sector in Achieving Canada’s International Development Interests”. CCIC had three messages for the Committee that complemented a number of previous interventions. Firstly, we noted that the private sector is an important player in development, but it is not the new silver bullet. Secondly, we underscored the fact that ultimately it is the development of the local private sector that must be prioritized in the context of aid.  Finally, the private sector is often seen as a promising means of leveraging additional resources for development – but the Committee should not lose sight of other substantial sources of development finance, in particular those that could be leveraged through domestic resource mobilization by the state. The full transcript of the May 28 committee meeting is available online.

Séparateur

Olivier de Schutter

CCIC welcomes UN human rights expert Olivier De Schutter

On May 14, one day before the Canadian government tabled its first human rights impact report of the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (CCOFTA), Olivier De Schutter, renowned human rights expert and the UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food, met with civil society organizations to discuss human rights and trade and investment treaties. De Schutter, author of the UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights Impact Assessments for Trade and Investment Agreements, spoke about how human rights impact assessments can ensure that free trade agreements do not exacerbate existing human rights abuses in countries such as Colombia – if they are carried out properly. CCIC also presented before Mr. De Schutter, alongside a number of international NGOs, on the international dimensions of food security. Issues raised included Canada’s global commitments to food security, the trends in food security funding and the recent budget cuts, and the ODA Accountability Act. CCIC’s America’s Policy Groups produced a press release, briefing note and analysis on what to look for in the government’s CCOFTA report, and co-wrote an op-ed in Embassy magazine with Common Frontiers.

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Forging stronger links between academic and civil society research

CCIC was invited by the Canadian Association for the Study of International Development (CASID) to attend their 2012 conference Crossroads: Rethinking Development Theory and Practice in an Uncertain World and give a presentation on CCIC’s work and areas of research. CASID members are interested in exploring with CCIC how to strengthen the ties between Canadian academics and civil society working on international development issues. Some possible areas of collaboration are a joint annual conference, greater collaboration around common research agendas, and greater communication and interaction between the two bodies. CCIC is now a member of the Association.

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Knowledge sharing on Rio+20 and the 'Green Economy'

At the upcoming Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development on June 20-22, governments and corporate actors will push hard for the Green Economy as the way to solve the multiple crises facing people and the planet.  CCIC organized with the Inter Council Network and USC Canada a webinar to provide an overview of the issues and the players at the Summit, and understand (unpack) the so-called 'Green Economy': Who is pushing this agenda and why?  What's at stake? Who wins, who loses? And what impact could Rio+20  have on the environment, food, water, agriculture, human rights, and social justice?  Kate Higgins from the North-South Institute and Pat Mooney from ETC Group shared their views with over 40 participants. CCIC plans to co-organize another webinar in early July to debrief on the Rio +20 Conference, hopefully with Southern voices - stay tuned for more details.

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Consultation on the new Canadian International Institute for Extractive Industries and Development

In early May, CCIC was invited to submit comments to CIDA to “help define the focus and activities of the International Institute for Extractive Industries and Development leading to a call for proposals to choose a Canadian university to host the Institute”. While welcoming the opportunity to contribute comments to the process, CCIC requested that a formal multi-stakeholder consultation process, with more directed questions and with a clear mechanism for recommendations to be considered in the final design of the Institute, be included in the start-up phase of this endeavor. CCIC noted that being a country with a long history in the extractive industry, it is definitely true that we have a lot to share about our challenges, successes, and lessons learned around this industry. But it is also true that we still have a host of unresolved issues at home which bring into question the capacity of this industry to address growth and poverty alleviation in a sustained fashion. As a global leader in the industry, Canada has an obligation to also lead in the search for more sustainable ways for this industry to contribute to equitable and sustainable development at home and abroad.

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Africa-Canada Forum weighs in on Canadian Aid to Africa

Richard Ssewakirryanga of the Uganda National NGO Forum and Fraser Reilly-King, from CCIC exchanged their views on the outcomes for Africa of the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness and the recent Canadian federal budget. The discussion was framed in the international aid context involving: traditional donors’ disengagement from Africa; ongoing and recurrent food, climate, economic and financial crisis; emerging donors’ new ways of doing business; the growing presence of and governmental push for the private sector in aid; and the Istanbul principles for development effectiveness for CSOs. See Richard and Fraser’s power point presentations and also Richard’s final speech at CCIC’s AGM on the CCIC blog.

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Weak effort in federal report on human rights impacts of Canada-Colombia FTA

The Canadian government’s first annual report on the human rights impacts of the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement was tabled in Parliament on May 15, 2012. The report was met with concern by opposition MPs and civil society organizations, due to its lack of content on the human rights situation in Colombia. The Standing Committee on International Trade studied the report on June 7th and June 12th. Several CCIC and APG member organizations testified, including Amnesty International, the Canadian Labour Congress and MiningWatch Canada. A representative of a group of Colombian civil society organizations that has prepared a shadow report on the FTA also testified. To learn more, read Postmedia News and Canadian Press  articles, listen to radio interviews on June 6th and June 13th (see CCIC in the news, sidebar), and read reactions to the report by  MiningWatch Canada, Amnesty International, Co-Development Canada, Common Frontiers, and the Council of Canadians.

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New CIDA report points to future directions

CIDA’s has announced the direction and shape of its future agenda following the news on the budget and country cuts with its new 2012-13 Report on Plans and Priorities - launched in early May. This year’s report keeps CIDA’s three thematic priorities at the heart of its interventions, with more focus on health system strengthening and integrated interventions at the local level, accountability for health care interventions, access to basic education, and laws and interventions to protect children and at-risk youth. In terms of growth, it continues its strong push on the extractive sector both in terms of investments and the establishment of the Extractive Sector Institute, but also targets domestic resource mobilization, and seems to give more attention to promoting micro, small and medium enterprises, women entrepreneurs, smallholder farmers, value chains, and vocational and skills training. For food security, it focuses on access to supplies, markets, new plant varieties and technologies, nutrition, and most notably signals a shift from emergency food assistance to environmentally sustainable agriculture. Haiti and Afghanistan see a shift in the focus of their programs towards longer term development and education, health and human rights, respectively.

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Canada and G8 put more weight behind Food Security, Nutrition and the Private Sector

The New Alliance for Food and Nutrition Security was the big news story at the May G8 meeting in Washington. It continues a process started at the L’Aquila G8 Summit in 2009, with a $3 billion pledge to boost the Scaling Up Nutrition movement, drive agricultural production technologies and innovation, and enhance growth in Africa through support for national agricultural plans and infrastructure projects. The pledge is matched by $3 billion in investments from 45 private sector companies. Canada’s support focuses on allowing African farmers to improve their yields and sell their crops, implementing food security initiatives in Ghana and Ethiopia, and developing a new Canadian-led initiative on innovative nutrition research and technologies. But in the context of recent aid cuts around the world and the shortfall by many G8 countries in meeting their L’Aquila pledges, many CSOs questioned how donors will realistically sustain their investments in food security, Canada included. Canadian CSOs including World Vision, Oxfam, and Save the Children also released statements questioning whether the initiative will prioritize external private sector interests and approaches to agriculture over the needs and strategies of local smallholder farmers, particularly women. Many African economies are showing strong growth, but increased levels of inequality, and some Canadian groups also urged G8 leaders to put as much emphasis on growing healthy citizens as on healthy economies through clear targets to reduce chronic malnutrition. Read the Open letter to the G8 from African civil society, and the April 2012 declaration signed at a Committee on World Food Security Consultation for African civil society groups.

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Towards an International Arms Trade Treaty? UN conference in July brings hope of an effective treaty

Each year, millions of people are victims of serious human rights abuses and war crimes by perpetrators using a wide range of arms supplied by irresponsible traders and governments. The arms trade is also closely linked with development issues, since money spent on arms by governments is money that is not being allocated to social services, for example. Although elaborate rules exist for the selling all sorts of goods, there is no solid, legally-binding regulatory framework for the international trade in arms. From July 2-27, the UN hosts a Diplomatic Conference with the aim of adopting an International Arms Trade Treaty.  The Control Arms campaign calls on the member states of the United Nations to deliver a strong and effective Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) to help save lives, prevent human rights abuses, and protect the livelihoods of people around the world. Since 2006, Canada has been a consistent supporter at the UN of a strong Arms Trade Treaty, but has deferred to other states on leadership of the ATT process. Up until now, neither the Prime Minister nor the Minister of Foreign Affairs have made a public statement in support of a robust ATT. The Canadian Coalition for an Arm Trade Treaty is currently promoting the Speak Out: Control Arms Now! campaign, where a petition can be signed.

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Climate Finance and the Inter-American Development Bank
The Canadian government has announced $250 million in support for the Canadian Climate Fund for the Private Sector in the Americas to be managed by the Inter-American Development Bank. The fund will finance private sector climate mitigation and adaptation projects by mobilizing private sector investment in clean technologies in Latin America and the Caribbean that need concessional financing to become viable. This announcement follows in the wake of a series of initiatives at the World Bank to support work by the private sector on climate and agricultural issues.

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Member Profile: L’Œuvre Léger

For over 60 years, L’ŒUVRE LÉGER  – generally referred to in English as the Léger Foundation, has worked to promote human dignity, by supporting and reinforcing community initiatives carried out by organizations that work alongside the most marginalized populations, while facilitating public participation and maximizing the impact of donations. This month’s member profile looks at one of Léger Foundation programs with a partner in India, and we hear from Executive Director Norman MacIsaac on the current wave of activism in Quebec. You can read the full interview with Norman MacIsaac on CCIC’s website.

The focus of the Léger Foundation’s programs in Asia is child protection, specifically children and young women who have been victims of sexual exploitation and human trafficking. One of the many important partnerships for the Léger Foundation is with Prajwala, an NGO based in Hyderabad. Prajwala is an organization that works with girls and boys who have been rescued, often via police raids, from sexual exploitation. Prajwala’s strategic approach encompasses rehabilitation, re-insertion in the community, education, and health care (including addressing the effects of HIV/AIDS), as well as countering societal prejudice towards child victims of sexual exploitation. Since this issue is not easily isolated to a small geographic area, Prajwala ‘s work involves policy and attitudinal changes, and involves regional coordination, as does the Léger Foundation. . As Norman MacIsaac explains: “Prajwala also works with regional partners, who have become Léger’s partners, because we are looking to expand with them, in order to address the issue at a regional level”.

And to demonstrate the importance of collaboration and partnership, both overseas and here at home, the Léger Foundation is also engaged in multiple campaigns and partnerships here in Canada. Based out of Montreal, Léger is keenly aware of the rising civic engagement in that part of the country. One benefit of the current student movement in Quebec, MacIsaac notes, is that the public will never again see today’s youth as apathetic. But for the Léger Foundation, after working with youth in Quebec and around the world for decades, this comes as no surprise. MacIsaac explains, “We knew that this generation is extremely active, extremely demanding”. The Léger Foundation has programs to promote youth involvement, including a program called Jeune citoyen engagé (Young Engaged Citizen), which gives Canadian youth small grants to finance their own projects, in Quebec or around the world. Last year 168 applications were received for this program. The Léger Foundation also has an internship program, in collaboration with Quebec organization Forces AVENIR. There is also Léger’s recently launched HD campaign, which stands for human dignity. It is a play on words of the concept of HD (high definition) television, and in this case refers to HD development, or development through the lens of human dignity. MacIsaac is happy to report that this HD campaign has really caught the attention of youth, and has sparked their action and creativity.

Regarding CCIC membership, Norman MacIsaac notes that in this challenging period for the sector, solidarity among NGOs is vital. He notes that CCIC is in a transition phase, but is demonstrating “strong leadership” and a “good dynamic team”. MacIsaac also point to CCIC’s important role in helping the public to assess the work of international development CSOs. Going forward, MacIsaac sees the potential for CCIC to offer the public the tools to ask the necessary questions in order to be able to recognize and support high quality CSOs. Growing into this role, through collaboration with CSOs and other coalitions, CCIC will provide support and leadership to the community.

Read the full interview with Norman MacIsaac online.

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Worth a Look

CCIC Annual Report 2011-12

CCIC launches Annual Report 2011-2012

Last week CCIC released its 2011-2012 Annual Report, which features highlights from the past year, updates on the coalition work CCIC is undertaking, reports from the three regional working groups, a framing message from the Board Chair and President-CEO, an array of photos from the past year, as well as some bite-sized metrics that express the activities of CCIC in numbers.

 

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CJFE review of Free Expression

For the third year in a row, the federal government received failing grades from Canadian Journalists for Free Expression in a report card on freedom of expression in Canada. The report card, included in the annual Review of Free Expression in Canada, highlights how access to information at the federal level is marred by secrecy and delays - the federal government continues its stonewalling tactics to deter journalists, muzzles scientists from speaking to media about their research, and is failing to do its part to protect our digital rights, according to this CJFE report.

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CIVICUS Report on State of Civil Society

For the first time, CIVICUS has released an extensive report of the state of civil society, which features five thematic chapters with salient contributions from an array of civil society constituents and 30 country profiles produced together with CIVICUS partners.

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Canadian International Development Platform

The North-South Institute has launched the Canadian International Development Platform (CIDP), a unique data and analytical platform on Canada’s engagement with the developing world. This open data initiative is an incredible tool for research and analysis. The CIDP’s interactive dashboards are freely downloadable in a variety of formats for up-to-date development data that is easy to organize and interpret.

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Report on CCIC’s Sustainable Economic Growth workshop

Following up on CCIC’s workshop on “The Elusive quest for pro-poor growth? A discussion of CIDA’s Sustainable Economic Growth Strategy” held in January 2012, a report is now available online which captures the key highlights and conclusions from the afternoon discussion, outlines the next steps for moving the discussion forward, and projects a timeline for achieving outcomes.

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New Report from Oxfam Canada - The Devil is in the Detail: The importance of comprehensive and legally binding criteria for arms transfers

This new report shows the extent to which states have been systematically ignoring the 26 UN, regional or multilateral arms embargoes in force since 2000. Oxfam is calling on the international community to create an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) which include legally binding criteria that prevent arms transfers to abusers of human rights or into situations where there is a substantial risk that they will undermine development or exacerbate armed violence.

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Inter-Council Network results of poll on Canadian engagement on global poverty issues

Canadians are more optimistic about the impact of global poverty reduction than their US and UK counterparts, rank global poverty among their top three concerns and believe there is a human rights obligation to addressing this, according to a poll released by the Inter-Council Network in Mid-May and conducted by Vision Critical through the Angus Reid Forum. Furthermore, more than half of Canadians think the Federal Government is most responsible for addressing global poverty, and an overwhelming majority feel they should be supporting public awareness of these issues. Finally, while 70% of Canadians are supportive of the government matching donations of private citizens for global poverty reduction work, and think it should support civil society in this work (65%), a slightly higher number (72%) do not support government funding of multinational corporations (business/private sector) for development.

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World Economic Forum on Africa:  Shaping Transformation: Africa’s Rising Leaders

Around the globe, companies and countries increasingly link their growth aspirations to the promise of Africa's resource wealth, retail markets and talent pools. What are the hopes and aspirations of Africa's rising leaders for the region's transformation? 

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The 2012 Africa Progress Report

"Jobs, Justice and Equity. Seizing opportunities in times of global change" recently launched by the Africa Progress Panel, warns that “Africa's strong economic growth trajectory is at risk because of rising inequality and the marginalization of whole sections of society”.  Kofi Annan, Chair of the Africa Progress Panel, states in the report that, "Disparities in basic life-chances - for health, education and participation in society - are preventing millions of Africans from realizing their potential, holding back social and economic progress in the process."  The report calls for renewed focus on jobs, justice and equity to ensure that Africa's impressive economic growth is translated into shared growth for all Africans.

 

 

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