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Headlines
November 24, 2010

1. Canada’s “Responsible Mining Act” Defeated, but Momentum Grows

 

The narrow defeat of the “Responsible Mining Act” – Bill C-300 – in the House of Commons in late October was blow for civil society advocates. The legislation would have required extractive companies operating in the developing world to meet basic international human rights and environmental standards in order to qualify for support from Canadian trade missions and Canada’s Export Development Corporation.  The private Member’s bill was defeated 140-134 amidst an intense lobbying campaign which pitted corporate accountability advocates against national mining organizations. According to the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA), the traction achieved by this legislation was due to immense support from committed Canadians and from mining-affected communities around the world. CNCA says that despite the narrow defeat, momentum to regulate destructive Canadian mining practices has reached a new level in Canada.    

2. Building International Consensus for Human Rights Impact Assessments for Trade Agreements

 

A new report setting out key issues and methodologies for conducting human rights impact assessments (HRIAs) for trade and investment agreements is now available on the CCIC website. There have been widespread calls for States to undertake such HRIAs as due diligence before concluding trade agreements, but limited international consensus on how to do so.  The report reviews the conclusions of a recent international expert seminar on the issue convened under the auspices of the UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter. The seminar, held in Geneva in June 2010, was jointly organized by CCIC, the South Centre, Misereor, the Berne Declaration and others. Professor De Schutter released the seminar’s conclusions at a roundtable hosted this month by the University of Ottawa’s Human Rights Centre and CCIC. The Special Rapporteur will be promoting the adoption by UN bodies of a set of expert guiding principles to establish minimum standards for HRIAs, which will be a resource and reference for governments and CSOs around the world. CCIC will be conducting a special briefing on the Report and Seminar at the Department of Foreign Affairs later this month. (DFAIT will be responsible for ensuring that a HRIA report on the Canada-Colombia Trade agreement is prepared for 2012.)  Click on the following links to read the new report in English, French or Spanish.

3. Canadian Launch of the 2010 Reality of Aid Report: a Success!

 

CCIC and the School of International Development and Global Studies launched the 2010 Global Reality of Aid Report before approximately 80 Canadian CSO representatives and University of Ottawa students. The launch featured a keynote address by Tony Tujan, past Chairperson of the Global Reality of Aid Network, and Gerry Barr, President and CEO of CCIC.  "Aid is not dead, as some commentators claim, but it certainly is in a poor state of health."  In making this diagnosis, the Report presents development effectiveness as an alternative approach that puts the rights of poor and marginalized people, and their empowerment to claim these rights, as the organizing principle for development cooperation. Among the 36 contributions from CSOs across the globe, Brian Tomlinson from CCIC’s Policy Team contributed three chapters:  one on trends in the practices of Canadian aid, a second on the implications of the ODA Accountability Act for a human rights approach to Canadian aid, and a third on global aid trends (on behalf of the global Reality of Aid Management Committee).  The full report as well as individual chapters are available at http://www.realityofaid.org/roa-reports/index/secid/375/part/1

4. Preparations Underway for 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness

 

CCIC attended a series of meetings at the end of October revolving around the Working Party on Aid Effectiveness, in Paris at the OECD.  The Working Party has a multi-stakeholder membership, including representatives of civil society, international financial institutions, member states and developing countries. The objective of the Working Party meeting was to kick-start the planning process for the Fourth High Level Forum on aid effectiveness (HLF4). HLF4 will take place in December 2011 in Busan, South Korea. The 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness expires at the end of 2010, and CSOs need to push donors to greater ambition for a post-Paris Declaration in Busan. The global civil society BetterAid Coordinating Group, of which CCIC is a member, wants an agreement at HLF4 on a more holistic view of aid, based on the principles of development effectiveness. The focus would not be on the technical aspects of the delivery of aid, but on the impact of aid delivery on the ground. BetterAid presented an overview of its agenda for Busan in a Discussion Paper, "Development Effectiveness in Development Cooperation". For more information on CSO initiatives for HLF4, visit the BetterAid web site at www.betteraid.org, and read the Discussion Paper. Also check the HLF4 web site.

5. Open Forum Launches Process to Consider Draft International Framework

 

Following the adoption of the Istanbul Principles on CSO Development Effectiveness, at the first Open Forum Global Assembly in September, a Draft International Framework on CSO Development Effectiveness was revised accordingly.  Over the next 10 months, the Open Forum is encouraging national platforms and CSOs to seek endorsement of the Istanbul Principles and to discuss approaches and conditions for their implementation.  The Draft Framework sets out areas for CSOs to consider in implementing the Principles, but also important areas for donor and developing country government laws and policies to consider if CSOs are to be able to implement these Principles.  CCIC will be undertaking processes with Canadian CSOs and CIDA to consider the Draft Framework in the lead-up to a Second Open Forum Global Assembly in mid-2011, prior to the presentation of the Framework at the Busan High Level Forum.  The Istanbul Principles and the revised Draft International Framework for CSO Development Effectiveness can found on the Open Forum web site at www.cso-effectiveness.org.

6. Update on Americas Policy Group meeting

 

CCIC’s Americas Policy Group (APG) met on October 28 and 29. The group discussed the emerging challenges and trends of democracy efforts in Latin America with Victor Armony, Director of the Observatoire des Amériques and Professor at the Department of Sociology, Université du Québec à Montréal. Building on its Honduras: Democracy Denied report (April 2010), the APG reiterated its commitment to closely monitor the situation in Honduras and the two truth commissions (the government Truth Commission and the civil society True Commission). Having argued, during the negotiations for the Canada- Colombia free trade agreement, the need for Canada to adopt a rights-based approach to trade policy, the APG also decided to continue to keep a close eye on the human rights situation in Colombia and to engage in a public dialogue on Colombian realities.

 

7. UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Now the Real Work Begins

 

The Government of Canada’s recent endorsement of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – over three years after it was adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2007 – was welcomed by most Indigenous groups as a small but positive step towards an improved relationship with Indigenous peoples in Canada. The Assembly of First Nations said the endorsement signals the start of “a new era of fairness and justice for First Nations” and a stronger Canada “guided by the Declaration’s core principles of respect, partnership and reconciliation.” While there was disappointment with the Government’s decision to repeat some of its concerns about parts of the Declaration, including provisions that address lands and resources and “free, prior and informed consent,” Indigenous peoples and their allies are emphasizing the need for the Government to work collaboratively with Indigenous peoples to ensure that the Declaration is implemented and used to reform domestic laws and policies that do not meet international human rights standards. 

Upcoming Events

 

8. Free Webinar Series on Capacity Building

 

CCIC, MCIC, OCIC and AQOCI are collaborating to offer a series of Webinars on the Public Engagement Hub. The PE Hub is a free, dynamic online space for the sharing of information, good practices, and capacity-building resources between staff, Board, and key volunteers of international development organizations working in PE, communications, and fundraising.

 

Webinars

Fair Trade in Your Province: Principles, Promotion, and Procurement
Nov 26, from 1-2pm (EST)

 

L'AQOCI donne suite à l'approche de financement de l'ACDI avec des pistes d'actions concrètes (in French)
Nov 30, at 12 pm (EST)

 

Engaging Inner-City and Diaspora Youth
December 7th from 1-2pm (EST)

 

Public Engagement in Challenging Times: The current socio-political context and a critique of CIDA’s new Partnerships with Canadians approachDecember 9, from 1-2pm (EST)Click here for more information.

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

 

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