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Member Profile September 2016



Robin Montgomery delivers a joint Civil Society Organization Statement during the 38th meeting of the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) in June 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland. The statement calls on Member States and UNAIDS to ensure sexual and reproductive health and rights are protected as we work towards ending HIV by 2030.

This month CCIC met with Robin Montgomery, Executive Director of the Interagency Coalition for AIDS and Development (ICAD) to discuss Canada's Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria leadership, a new project with CARE Canada, the top 3 international development issues and much more!

CCIC - On September 16th Prime Minister Trudeau announced a total pledge of 12.9 billion USD at the Global Fund Replenishment Conference in Montreal. What does this funding mean for HIV, TB and Malaria? And what more needs to happen? 

Robin Montgomery - The Fifth Replenishment Conference was a powerful show of Canadian leadership. Canada brought world leaders together to pledge almost $13 billion, allowing the Global Fund to continue its important work scaling up access to life-saving prevention, treatment, care and support services for the most vulnerable and marginalized around the world.

In many ways, this 5th replenishment of the Global Fund has been a litmus test -- not only in terms of our global commitment to meeting the 2030 goals, and the UNAIDS Fast-Track targets more immediately; but also to our global commitment in how we are going to get there. I’m meaning here, global endorsement of the policies and programming tenets that are advanced by the Global Fund and many of its partners. Policies and programs that see human rights, gender equity, robust and well-funded community systems, and key and vulnerable populations empowered as leaders and agents of change. These are the quintessential ingredients for global progress and are fundamental to meeting the ambitious global goals set before us.

Despite the positive outcome of this Conference, we see this as just the beginning with much more needing to happen. We’re calling on Canada and the world to recall that the $13 billion replenishment target is but the floor, and not the ceiling. Continued resource mobilization is a pressing priority.  The global resource gap remains significant if we are to reach our collective targets for AIDS, TB and malaria. And funding is not all that is required to meet the global goals—we need political will, we need a commitment to having key populations at the forefront of the response, and we need a response that is guided by human rights. Canada has demonstrated impressive leadership in mobilizing partners around this conference and around these pressing issues, but much more is needed here at home in Canada and in communities abroad.


CCIC - We understand that you will soon be launching a new program with CARE Canada 'SANI: the Southern Africa Nutrition Initiative'. Could you tell us a little bit about this exciting new initiative?

Robin Montgomery - CARE Canada is leading the Southern African Nutrition Initiative (SANI), and ICAD is excited to be partnering on this project, along with CUSO International and McGill Institute for Food Security. SANI is a four-year project, funded by Global Affairs Canada, aimed at improving the nutrition of women of reproductive age (15-49 years) and children under five years old in Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia.

Within the SANI project, ICAD is leading a capacity-building training and twinning initiative that will strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations in Canada, Malawi and Zambia to address the intersections between gender, nutrition, food security, sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and HIV. ICAD has a long history of leading programmes that contribute to building strong, diverse civil society and community responses. Programs, such as SANI, allow us to embrace and further the sharing of knowledge, capacity, lessons learned and best practice approaches across partners in different sectors, geographies, countries and communities. We are really looking forward to delving back into twinning and focusing on the linkages of these critical issues.


CCIC - The International Youth Internship Program (IYIP) is designed to provide Canadian post-secondary students with professional experience, skills and knowledge through international development work. ICAD is a long-standing IYIP partner. Why is this program important to ICAD and your partners?

Robin Montgomery - ICAD has been sending interns overseas through IYIP for about 10 years now. ICAD has always delivered IYIP in partnership with our Canadian members and it’s been an incredibly valuable opportunity for many reasons. Through the internship program, ICAD and its members have been able to develop and strengthen partnerships with organizations in the South that are doing similar work to us. The organizations we work with have benefitted from the many cohorts of talented youth interns they have hosted. And ICAD and its members have been able to support youth to become engaged globally and to understand HIV, global health and international development from the organizations working at the frontlines of the epidemic.


CCIC - 2017 is an important moment for Canada and Canadians as we celebrate 150 years as a country. It also provides a unique opportunity to raise awareness amongst Canadians of Canada’s global contributions and our international development and humanitarian efforts. What are the top three issues or messages you would like to share with Canadians?

Robin Montgomery - There are three key issues that are top of mind for ICAD right now. One is Canada’s role in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), both in terms of setting and reaching targets domestically, and in contributing to international efforts to meet the SDGs. Canada’s international contributions require that cuts to ODA are immediately reversed and that a plan is put in place to reach our 0.7 % target. In order to meet the HIV and TB targets, Canada really needs to be addressing HIV and TB as a cross-cutting issue across other SDGs as being both a leading cause and a consequence of poverty. This requires the fostering of innovative cross-sectoral partnerships and evidence-based action that supports and builds the resilience of communities and community systems across Canada and globally.

Another critical issue in terms of Canada’s contributions to international development and the HIV response is gender equity. We welcome Canada’s renewed focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights and see an opportunity and obligation for Canada to show leadership in setting a truly transformative agenda when it comes to gender. This agenda needs to look at ways of meaningfully engaging men, and needs to focus in on particularly vulnerable groups including adolescent and young women and transgender men and women.

Finally, for all of this to happen, we need a robust and well-resourced civil society response. We encourage Canadians to be a part of advocacy efforts to ensure this is a reality. Communities are at the forefront of the progress being made globally and they need to be supported to continue this work.


CCIC - ICAD is a longstanding and engaged CCIC member. Can you share one membership highlight from the past year?  

Robin Montgomery - There have been many highlights over the years. One was in November 2015, when ICAD joined with CCIC to present to its membership the experience of moving to a virtual office. We really appreciate the opportunity to reflect on and share our own transition to a virtual model, and we were able to learn a lot from CCIC and other presenters and participants.

With the dramatically shifting landscape for civil society organizations over the past decade, the sector has really started to explore different and innovative ways of working, both in terms of internal operations and collaborative models with partners externally. Having the opportunity to discuss ICAD’s move with colleagues in the development field was really valuable. Since we transitioned to a virtual office environment 2 years ago, there have been a lot of learnings and shifting in our ways of doing things to ensure that we expand our programming and continue to deliver high-quality results. We are eager to share our perspective and lessons learned with others who might be considering a similar approach.



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