July 19, 2010
1. CCIC’s Funding Situation
Last July 15th, CCIC’s funding agreement with CIDA expired. The uncertainty about the new funding proposal presented by CCIC in October 2009 continues. The Secretariat is in active discussion with the office of Minister Oda to set a date for a meeting about CCIC’s funding future.
2. Skepticism on Impacts of G-8 /G-20 Summits
The G-8 and G-20 summits held in Muskoka and Toronto drew to a close June 27 amidst mixed reviews on their political achievements, and widespread Canadian concern with the impact of security operations on citizen rights. The overwhelming police presence and crack-down on demonstrators became the centre of the media coverage, overshadowing the important ideas and alternative proposals discussed by civil society groups at the People’s Summit and parallel events. For a sampling of CSO releases and more detailed coverage on both the G-8 and G-20 summits, see the Halifax Initiative Issue Update and The Sherpa Times .
3. Disappointing “Accountability Summit”
The Canadian government’s commitment that this G-8 would be an Accountability Summit went unanswered. A new Accountability Report was released documenting the spotty progress made by the G-8 against previous commitments, but it produced no action to address the gaps, including on core commitments such as basic education and funding for HIV/AIDS treatment. CSO networks around the world were particularly concerned that the G-8 Communiqué was silent on the 2005 promise to double aid to Africa and did not advance climate financing. The flagship initiative on maternal, newborn and child health was criticized heavily for its low ambition, although some commentators still underscored the important attention the Summit had given this pressing development issue.
4. Unambitious G-20
The G-20’s major outcome was simply an agreement to set deficit and debt reduction targets for member countries, tailored to country contexts. The G-20 also maintained commitments to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, but there remains considerable work to bring transparency to these amounts. CSOs were disappointed at the lack of progress made to implement a global financial transaction tax (FTT). Still, the G-20 Communiqué references the need to consider innovative ways to finance climate change and development, opening discussions for an FTT at a later date. The G-20 has also indicated that next summit in Seoul in November 2010 will have a strong development focus.
5. New Coalition Launched to Defend Democratic Space
A new coalition, Voices-Voix, is sounding the alarm about threats to the quality and health of democratic life in Canada. Voices-Voix released its “Raise Your Voices” Declaration just ahead of the G-8/ G-20 meetings. The declaration is signed by a wide spectrum of human rights, women’s, labour, environment, student, faith-based and development organizations. It speaks to growing concerns that the space for dissent and debate in Canada is rapidly shrinking, and calls on the government to respect the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, act in accordance with Canada’s democratic traditions and values and be transparent. Visit the Voices website to read and sign the Declaration..
6. Geneva Human Rights Impact Assessment Seminar
On June 23 -24 CCIC participated in an expert seminar in Geneva on human rights impact assessments for trade and investment agreements (HRIAs). The seminar was hosted under the auspices of the UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food and jointly organized by CCIC, the South Centre, Misereor, the Berne Declaration and others. It was held to advance methodologies and thinking on HRIAs, building on lessons of past assessments and laying groundwork for future pilots. There have been widespread calls for States to act on their obligations and undertake such HRIAs as due diligence ahead of concluding trade agreements, but there has been a lack of rigour and understanding in past attempts. A report on the Seminar will be available in the Fall and posted on the CCIC website. For more information contact Gauri Sreenivasan.
7. Academic Collaboration: IDRC wants to hear from you!
The International Development Research Centre's (IDRC) Canadian Partnerships program is conducting research on knowledge-oriented collaborations for international development between Canadian universities and civil society in Canada. The study focuses on types of collaboration, enabling conditions, results and factors of success or failure. To share your experiences of collaborating with Canadian universities or individual academics on international development research, contact Elena Chernikova before August 16.
8. September Consultations on CCIC Vision
CCIC is seeking members’ input to a new vision for the Council. Options and recommendations from the visioning committee that was announced at the AGM in May will be presented to leaders of member organizations in a series of one-day meetings with Council Chair of the Board Karen Takacs and President-CEO Gerry Barr. Proposed changes to the CCIC membership fee structure will also be discussed at this time. Please reserve these dates: Toronto: Wednesday, September 8; Montreal: Thursday, September 9; Ottawa: Friday, September 10; Winnipeg: Monday, September 13. Conference calls may also be organized with members in other locations on request. The agenda, a background paper and the venues will be circulated in advance of the meetings. To RSVP or for information, contact Esperanza Moreno.
Worth Looking At
9. New CRA Guidelines
Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has issued its new Guidance on Canadian Registered Charities Carrying Out Activities Outside Canada. It replaces Guide RC4106, Registered Charities: Operating Outside Canada.
10. Civil Society Reaction to Colombia Trade Deal
On June 30, the Canadian government announced the controversial Canada-Colombia free trade deal had received Royal Assent – the final stage in any piece of legislation. Read the Statement put out by the Canadian Labour Congress and commentary by the Council of Canadians.
Note: Flash is now on a summer schedule. The next Flash will be sent out in August.