CCIC monthly e-bulletin: May - June 2012                                             About CCIC     |     Contact Us
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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



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.


CCIC welcomes UN human rights expert Olivier De Schutter

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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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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CCIC Members in Action

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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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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Worth a Look

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