CCIC - Flash
A semi-monthly electronic bulletin

October 9, 2009

1. Human Rights Impact Assessments Debated at WTO Public Forum

The World Trade Organization (WTO) recently held its annual public conference on the theme “Global Problems, Global Solutions: Towards Better Global Governance”. One session focused on the growing global interest in Human Rights Impact Assessments (HRIA) as a tool for improving trade governance.  The demand from Canadian parliamentarians and CSOs for an HRIA as an essential step of due diligence before ratification of the Colombia-Canada FTA was highlighted by several speakers as an important development. The session looked at HRIA experiences in Thailand as well as the European Community’s approach to mandatory sustainability impact assessments.  The session was organized by the Geneva based organization 3D, and moderated by Gabrielle Marceau , Counsellor with the Office of the WTO Director-General. Audio files of this and other sessions from the conference are available.


2. Future of Canadian ODA Conference Audio Files Available


Audio files are available from the recent conference on “The Future of Canadian ODA: Putting the ODA Accountability Act into Practice”. Listen to CCIC President and CEO, Gerry Barr explain the context and purpose of the conference, CCIC’s Gauri Sreenivasan talks about the Accountability Act and its implications, Giorgiana Rosa of Amnesty International looks at international co-operation and international human rights standards, Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada helps us understand the practical implications of human rights standards for Canadian ODA content and Ed Broadbent sums up lessons from the conference for strengthening Canadian ODA.

Upcoming Events

3. Power Shift Canada

Power Shift Canada is a national youth summit on the green economy and climate change hosted by the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition. On October 23 to 26, 2009, young people from across the country will converge on Ottawa to take the message of bold, comprehensive and immediate federal climate action to Parliament Hill. 

4. C-Day – Fill the Hill


On the International Day of Climate Action, October 24, “C-Day”, or the “Fill the Hill” event on Parliament Hill will gather Canadians, in solidarity with millions of people in cities around the world, as part of a global call for fair and binding climate agreements in Copenhagen.

5. MP Meeting Days – Save the dates

CCIC will hold its annual Members/MPs Meeting Days on November 25 and 26. An agenda and registration process will be posted in Flash in the coming weeks.

6. Reminder – Asia-Pacific Working Group Fall Symposium


The “Convergence of Crises: Impacts of the Financial, Food, and Climate Crises in Asia” will be the focus of the Asia-Pacific Working Group” (APWG) Fall Symposium on October 19. For more information see the agenda. Register online by October 12, 2009.

7. Reminder – Africa-Canada Forum Colloquium – Africa in Canadian Foreign Policy


Africa and the global economic crisis, agriculture, sustainable rural development and CIDA’s priority for food security, and Canada’s role in supporting women’s empowerment will be the issues discussed at the Africa-Canada Forum (ACF) colloquium in Ottawa on October 27 and 28. For an agenda and to register, contact ACF’s Sylvie Perras.

8. Reminder – Climate Justice Speaking Tour

Bollywood celebrity, Oxfam Ambassador and climate activist Rahul Bose and Solomon Island teenager, Christina Ora will be touring the greater Toronto (October 15 to 20) and Vancouver (October 22 to 24) calling for a fair, ambitious and binding agreement at the climate summit in Copenhagen.  For information contact Lauren Drainie at Climate Action Network.

Worth Looking At


9. CSOs and the Accra High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness


CCIC, CIVICUS and IBON Foundation (Philippines) co-published Strengthening Civil Society’s Role and Voice: Reflections on CSO Engagement with the Accra Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness. The book documents the experience and impact of CSOs in organizing for the September 2008 Accra High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness.  It also draws lessons from a series of interviews with key stakeholders in the Accra process. The book is currently only available in English.  A French translation is underway through CIVICUS.

10. Implementing the ODA Accountability Act

The Halifax Initiative has prepared an Issue Brief, Official Interpretations of the “ODA Accountability Act” − One Year Later, on the implementation of the ODA Accountability Act based on documents received under a Freedom of Information Request.  This Issue Brief complements the presentation by officials from CIDA and DFAIT at the recent CCIC-organized conference on the Future of Canadian ODA. 

11. Right to Education

The ODA Accountability Act and the Right to Education: Implications for Canadian Aid to Education provides a detailed description of internationally recognized human rights standards in education and an analysis of Canada’s current policies and strategies related to education. The paper was written by Kim Kerr of Save the Children Canada and Nhung Truong of OISE/University of Toronto on behalf of the Canadian Global Campaign for Education Aid Monitoring Working Group.

12. Promoting Gender Equality


The Informal Working Group on Women’s Rights response to the evaluation of the implementation of CIDA’s 1999 “Policy on Gender Equality”  Strengthening Canada’s International Leadership in the Promotion of Gender Equality) is now available online. 

Ethics in a Flash


13. Dear Ms Ethics


Dear Ms Ethics:  Our overseas work includes funding student resources for public schools.  The bible is required for some schools.  Some people in our organization say that using a bible as a study tool discriminates against students of other faiths and we shouldn’t fund this practice.  What advice would you give us to ensure we are considering the ethics of this situation?  Resourcefully yours.


Dear Resourceful:  Start by identifying the local factors involved in this situation, including any rules and values.  How is the bible used (i.e. to teach Christianity or as a literary work)? Were the parents engaged in decisions about the education of their children and requested the bibles?  Is the bible one of the only available, or affordable, texts written in the community’s local language?  Then identify desirable and undesirable consequences for your possible action.  Would the refusal of your funds mean students couldn’t attend school at all?  There is potential discrimination in this scenario, but the community may well have weighed the issue and decided that the bible is an acceptable resource for their children’s education.  Or they may not have considered that the impact would be creating barriers to non-Christian children’s education.  Before reaching a conclusion, discuss your questions with your partners and listen respectfully to how they work within the local context.  This is a good opportunity to implement the partnership principles by learning how your partners see the situation.  There are many ethical issues to consider here, but one thing is certain, cutting your partner off “cold turkey” from funding is bad practice.  Ms. Ethics advises that you leave the cold turkey for your lunch the day after Thanksgiving.

If you have an item for Flash, send it by e-mail to Katia Gianneschi. Please note that Flash items should be no longer than one paragraph.


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