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IMPRIMER

Member Profile November 2015

CoDev

 

Development and Peace

Credit : Juan-Manuel Lobaton. CEPROSI Partner
Harvesting quinoa grains in the outskirts of La Paz, Bolivia

This month CCIC met with David Leduc, the Executive Director of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace to discuss their longstanding humanitarian response work, the ‘Create a Climate of Change’ campaign, the reason international development CSOs need to be part of the climate change movement and much more!

 

CCIC - For over 40 years the Canada Catholic Organization for Development and Peace has been delivering community development programs and emergency relief. Based on your experience, where would you like to see the new Canadian government and Canadian CSOs focus more attention? What is the most pressing gap?

David Leduc - It is civil society actors that have the tools to work towards the establishment of inclusive, autonomous communities, each free to express religious, cultural and national aspirations. Over the last decade the Canadian government has significantly reduced its support of civil society-driven organisations, and in so doing, affected our collective ability as CSOs to respond and contribute to both local and global issues of critical concern. I have always believed that Civil society must work in parallel and in support of local, national and international government efforts, but also with the investment and support of these same governments to help civil society organisations and affected citizens reach deep into communities not only to undertake needs assessments, but much more importantly, to undertake skills assessments.  It is the skills of local people that will lead to creative grass-roots solutions and to participatory processes that are required to bring about lasting change in our societies.

The Liberal government’s intention to initiate a greater process of consultation with CSOs as part of a reframing process for Canada’s International Development priorities is very welcomed and it will be our collective responsibility to ensure that such consultation not only takes place but also is reflected in policy.  Our response to humanitarian aid, as a nation and as CSOs more generally must to be driven by a methodology that places affected communities and individuals as central actors in defining their needs and as active participants in the elaboration of strategies.

 

CCIC - Create a Climate of Change' is one Development and Peace's current campaigns. Can you describe the campaign's objectives as well as any significant results you have already witnessed?

David Leduc - Our Create a Climate of Change campaign was officially launched on September 1st on the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation declared by Pope Francis. This campaign, which is being led as part of an international alliance calling for Joint Action for a paradigm shift, focusses on what Canadian citizens and governments need to do to work towards climate justice. Drawn from an in-depth report we published called Feeling the Heat: How Climate Change is Driving Extreme Weather and Recommendations for Action in Canada, the campaign material reveals the impact of climate change on communities where we have projects in the Philippines, Honduras, and Ethiopia.

Over 380 000 action cards have been distributed by our members across the country, and are en-route to parliament as a demonstration of Canadians’ commitment to reduce their carbon footprints and ensure that our government strongly considers the issues being faced by our brothers and sister in the Global South that are suffering the greatest consequences of Climate Change.

Between October 23-25, over 30 climate vigils were organized by Development and Peace members across the country. More climate vigils are continuing as throughout November in the lead-up to the COP21 conference in Paris, which begins on November 30th.

 

CCIC - As you know environmental sustainability and climate change is one of the three themes of CCIC's Do Better 2015 campaign. In your opinion why must Canada 'Do Better' in this area and why is it important for international development and humanitarian CSOs to join the movement?

David Leduc - Canadians need to engage in real discussion around the post-2020 objectives for the intended nationally determined contributions (INDC), particularly with regards to establishing precise and ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. The provinces also need to decide on how to eliminate subsidies to the fossil fuel sector, no later than 2025, and redirect funds towards research and the promotion of clean energies. 

Countries such as Ethiopia, Honduras, and the Philippines which have tiny carbon footprints relative to Canada's experience the most devastating effects of climate change, whether through severe drought or typhoons. These are just a few examples, but they stress the need to explore public finance mechanisms to help communities adapt to climate change.

Ultimately, it is a question of equity. Canada as a whole must contribute to achieving greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and phasing out fossil fuels. It is an opportune moment to initiate discussion on a national energy policy and the involvement and role of CSOs will be imperative in ensuring this takes place. 

 

CCIC - You joined Development and Peace as Executive Director in August 2015. What has been most interesting and rewarding about your first few months?

David Leduc - When I was presented with the opportunity to join the Development and Peace family last year, I jumped at the chance. My spirits have been lifted by the thousands of inspiring women and men from every corner of the country who work tirelessly to bring positive change in countries of the Global South, as well as here in Canada. Although I joined the organization near the end of the fiscal year, it has been an eventful time, bringing both hope and challenges to which Development and Peace will have to respond and adapt.

Witnessing this citizen-driven organisation in action has been eye-opening and has only reconfirmed to me how lucky I am to represent such a far-reaching base. Knowing that beyond this, we also work with over 160 Catholic organizations as the Canadian member of Caritas Internationalis, as well as with a network of 150 civil society organization in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, leaves me very confident in our ability to respond and rise to the challenges that lie ahead.

 

CCIC - Development and Peace is a longstanding member of CCIC. In your opinion, what are the three most important reasons for being a CCIC member?

David Leduc - No issue of concern can be resolved alone, and as global strategists and international governments have come to realise, the power of working with and across networks is not only self-evident but proven to be a necessity in our global community.  As a sector, we have to often had to stand up to justify and legitimize our role in advancing individual, communal and societal development in the regions we are committed to. The CCIC provides an avenue to pool our resources, our expertise, and our shared convictions to bring CSOs to the center stage of important discussions and to better understand to overall effectiveness of our sector.

Finally, each organisation is its own living entity and can quickly become all-consuming.  We wrap ourselves in strategic plans, orientations and the numerous programs and projects we are invested in on a daily basis.  To often we lose sight of the formidable work that is being done around us.  The CCIC provides a cross sector perspective that offers a wider lense through which to consider issues that are relevant to us all.  We are, as they say, stronger together than we are apart.

 

 

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