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Flash

December 9, 2005

Make Poverty History

  1. Bono Rocks Ottawa: Bono, in Ottawa for a U2 concert on November 25, appeared with Make Poverty History Co-chair Gerry Barr at a Press Conference on Parliament Hill. Bono said he was "not just disappointed" but "crushed" by Canada's lack of progress in reaching the internationally agreed to target for aid spending of 0.7% of Gross National Income. Bono, also noting that a federal election was imminent, said that he "would beseech the Canadian people, as their politicians meet them on their doorsteps, to say… this is the kind of Canada the world needs now." After the press conference, Bono met with a number of political leaders from all the parties where he continued to deliver the message that world leaders must act now to end global poverty.

  2. Election Time - Decision Time: It's election time and the message to political candidates is simple: Make Poverty History. Make Poverty History is calling on all candidates to pledge to support the Make Poverty History goals and to work towards achieving them if elected. A new election page is now on the Make Poverty History web site (www.makepovertyhistory.ca/e/elections)

  3. Ending Poverty Should be on the Election Agenda According to Stephen Lewis: Stephen Lewis, who helped launch Make Poverty History in Canada, has called for all political leaders to support the Make Poverty History goals and for the election platforms of all the political parties to clearly state a commitment to reaching 0.7% of GNI for aid. Speaking at Carleton University in Ottawa on November 22, Lewis said that "There is every reason in the world for every one of us, including our political leaders, to embrace the targets of the Make Poverty History campaign. This issue needs to be raised at every all-candidates' meeting, in every riding, and in every possible fashion, to get Canada to embrace a schedule by which the 0.7% target will be reached." For more information see the news release at www.makepovertyhistory.ca.

  4. CCIC and Make Poverty History Testify before Parliamentarians on WTO: CCIC and Make Poverty History recently gave an overview of Canada's role and CCIC's recommendations for the upcoming World Trade Organization meeting. Gerry Barr, President and CEO of CCIC and Make Poverty History Co-chair, said that there are strategic areas of mutual concern between Canada and developing countries, which Canada could champion. In particular, Canada should back the ability of developing countries to use of one of their last remaining tools-tariffs-which are crucial to supporting local industry and agriculture. Barr also pointed out that despite claims that the greatest poverty benefits lie in greater market opening, the World Bank has recently downgraded its predictions of gains to developing countries from opening borders through the Doha Round to, at best, a penny per person per day. Barr, Gauri Sreenivasan of CCIC and Mark Fried of Oxfam Canada presented to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade (SCFAIT) on November 24.

  5. Trade Justice Actions: In the lead-up to the World Trade Organization meeting in Hong Kong this December 13 to 18, Make Poverty History activists across Canada are calling for Canada not to sign on to any agreement that does not contribute to ending poverty. On December 7 Make Poverty History delivered petitions and postcards to the Prime Minister urging him to ensure trade justice. On December 10, the third international White Band Day, millions around the world will be reminding world leaders that they are still watching and waiting for trade justice to make poverty history. For more information go to the Make Poverty History White Band page at www.makepovertyhistory.ca/e/take-action/white-band-day-3.html.

Headlines

  1. Roundtable on Trade and Development held with NGOs: Ministers Jim Peterson and Aileen Carroll hosted a roundtable with about 40 organizations November 23 in Ottawa on the Doha Development Agenda. After short statements from both Ministers outlining how Canada will pursue development in the negotiations, each organization was invited to make a quick comment. Unfortunately there was little time for dialogue with the Ministers. However, the concerns from participants were overwhelmingly consistent that the current offers on the table for Hong Kong fall far short of a development round and indeed can undermine efforts to end poverty. NGOs raised concerns regarding the Canadian position in agriculture, NAMA and services, and pushed for stronger leadership from Canada in key areas such as human rights, health policy, and access to medicines.

  2. Stabilization and Reconstruction Taskforce (START): CCIC and the Canadian Peacebuilding Coordinating Committee (CPCC) sent a joint letter to Ministers Pettigrew, Graham and Carroll regarding the newly created START. The letter, and accompanying briefing note, emphasized the importance of human rights, humanitarian and peacebuilding principles in guiding the policies and programs of a whole-of-government approach to states experiencing conflict and weak governance. Contact Erin Simpson at esimpson@ccic.ca for more information or a copy of the letter and principles document.

  3. CCIC Presents on "fragile states": Participating in a conference hosted by the Centre for Global Studies at the University of Victoria, CCIC presented a paper entitled "Is Coherence a Trojan Horse for Politicization?". The conference, Fragile, Dangerous and Failed states: Implementing Canada's International Policy Statement, brought together academics, civil society and officials from CIDA, FAC and DND to discuss a range of issues relating to "fragile states", including gender dimensions, the Responsibility to Protect, policy coherence and nation-building. According to CIDA officials, the Agency is the midst of finalizing Guidelines for Engagement in Fragile States. The conference papers are available at http://www.failedstates.org/papers.php.

Worth Looking At

  1. Transparency Report Card on Canadian clothing retailers released: The Ethical Trading Action Group (ETAG) has released the study, "Coming Clean on the Clothes We Wear: Transparency Report Card." The Transparency Report Card assessed and compared 25 major retailers and brands selling apparel products in the Canadian market in terms of their efforts to address worker rights issues in their global supply chains and on how and what they report on those efforts. The Report found that none of the companies surveyed are providing sufficient information to consumers and investors to allow them to make ethical choices. It also noted certain brand-name companies that have been the target of anti-sweatshop campaigns over the past decade are now disclosing more information to the public on their labour standards policies and programs. The report charged that Canadian companies are generally disclosing less information than major US brands on their labour standards policies and programs. The full report is available on the Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN) web site at www.maquilasolidarity.org.

  2. Network on Global Security and Development: Recognizing the need for information-sharing and global advocacy on evolving security and development issues, CCIC recently took on the task of co-coordinating a monthly e-update called the Global Security and Development Network (GSDN) Update. Examples of relevant issues include "failed and fragile" states, International Financial Institutions and peace-building, the new Peace-building Commission, impacts of the "Global War on Terror" in developing countries, and Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs). CCIC members are urged to join the network and contribute to the information-sharing by sending short news pieces. To contribute or subscribe, contact Erin Simpson at esimpson@ccic.ca.

  3. Corporate Accountability: The summary of the Civil Society analysis of the Government's Response to the SCFAIT report on Mining and Corporate Social Responsibility is now available on the CCIC web site www.ccic.ca. Contact Erin Simpson at esimpson@ccic.ca for more information.
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