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Flash

March 3, 2006

Headlines

  1. CCIC Assesses Conservative Aid Commitments in Pre-Budget Backgrounder.
    The Conservative Government's budget is expected early in the new parliamentary session, likely mid April. The Council has assessed the Conservative pledge to honour the Liberal aid commitments and add $425 million as well as their stated goal for Canadian aid to approach the OECD donor average performance. Check out CCIC's pre-budget backgrounder at www.ccic.ca. For more information, contact Brian Tomlinson on the Policy Team at btomlinson@ccic.ca.

  2. CCIC Flags Poverty and Human Rights Concerns to New Foreign Affairs and International Trade Ministers. CCIC has written to the Hon. Peter MacKay, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Hon. David Emerson, Minister of International Trade congratulating them on their new appointments and flagging key areas of concern. CCIC emphasized the priority members place on addressing global poverty and the promotion of human rights as overarching goals that must guide foreign and trade policy. In international trade, CCIC noted the disappointing direction of current negotiations at the WTO and urged the new government to develop a more proactive role for Canada in pursuing a development agenda for trade, building on strong shared interests with developing countries for fairer trade. In foreign policy, CCIC underscored a number of key areas for Canadian action. These include: leadership at the UN to pursue an agenda for peace and human rights in the critical months of UN reform ahead; the need to pursue a human rights approach to violent conflicts and weak governance; and the opportunity to develop new policy to improve accountability for companies operating in developing countries. For further information contact: Gauri Sreenivasen gauri@ccic.ca.

  3. OECD Aims to Finalize Policy Framework for Investment: NGOs Voice Concern. For over a year, a task force of 60 government officials from OECD and non-OECD economies has been developing a "Policy Framework for Investment". It is anticipated that the OECD Council of Ministers will adopt the Policy Framework for Investment in May 2006. The Policy Framework is supposed to provide "a non-prescriptive checklist of issues for consideration by any interested governments" if they are seeking ways of attracting domestic and foreign investors. In particular, the Framework aims to become a reference point for donors assisting developing country partners in improving the investment environment. NGOs and Labour Unions are concerned about the draft policy in many respects including the overall balance between the rights and responsibilities of investors, and the lack of input from civil society groups. CCIC has signed on to a letter from NGOs from around the world detailing these concerns. To see the draft Policy framework go to www.oecdwatch.org/docs/OECD_Policy_Framework_for_Investment.pdf
    To see the letter of concern from NGOs go to www.oecdwatch.org/docs/OW_Policy_Framework_Investment_NGO_letter.pdf

  4. Involve a Classroom in the Education for All Campaign. Canadian organizations working with schools in Canada, teachers and parents are encouraged to become involved in the Canadian Global Campaign for Education which brings together 20 organizations in Canada working to highlight issues on the right to education for every child. The coalition aims to recruit 1000 Canadian teachers and NGO facilitators to undertake a two-hour activity in elementary classrooms across Canada during April and May. Check out www.campaignforeducationcanada.org to register for a kit. For more information contact Natalie Poulson at OISE at sendateacher@gmail.com.

  5. Make Poverty History Campaign to Continue Until the End of 2007. On February 16, the Make Poverty History Steering Committee decided to recommend continuing the MPH campaign until the end of 2007. In 2006, the Make Poverty History campaign will continue with one staff person based in Ottawa. Web-based campaigning will be a major tool for the campaign and will be a springboard for on-the-ground events and advocacy with politicians across Canada. The campaign will continue to depend on local groups organizing their own activities. Since the Global Campaign for Action Against Poverty will also continue until the end of 2007, the Canadian campaign will participate in one annual international White Band Day, likely on October 17th (International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.) The major focus of the campaign in coming weeks will be the Speech From the Throne (April 4) and the federal budget. Discussions are ongoing within CCIC on the role of the Secretariat in the future of the campaign. For further information contact: Joe Gunn, jgunn@makepovertyhistory.ca or Kristen Ostling, kostling@ccic.ca.

  6. Terminator Seed Technology and Global Food Security. A major battle on suicide seed technology is scheduled to take place at the upcoming UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meetings in Curitiba, Brazil as thousands of people around the world mobilize to ban Terminator seeds once and for all. Terminator technology is a form of genetic-engineering designed to produce plants with sterile seeds, forcing farmers to buy seeds every year. 1.4 billion people around the world depend on farmer-saved seed, and Terminator technology is a direct threat to this cornerstone of food security. A global de facto moratorium on testing and commercialization of Terminator technology has been in place at the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity since 2000. However, in February 2005, the Canadian government tried to overturn this moratorium at CBD meetings in Bangkok. Decisions regarding the future of Terminator will be made at an upcoming meeting of the CBD, which will take place March 20th to 31st in Brazil. The Ban Terminator campaign is calling on individuals and organizations to send a strong message to the Canadian government to work with other countries to push for a global ban on Terminator technology. For more information: www.banterminator.org.

Upcoming Events

  1. Public Forum: Terminator on Trial. The Ban Terminator Campaign is holding a public forum on March 20th from 7:00-9:30 pm at the Ottawa Congress Center where suicide seed technology will be put on trial. Key witnesses include Dr. Vandana Shiva and Percy Schmeiser. The event will be co-hosted by CBC's Bob Carty. CCIC's Gerry Barr will act as "judge" and the audience will be the jury. The event will also feature a live-link to a UN meeting in Curitiba Brazil where the fate of Terminator seeds (seeds that are genetically modified to be sterile at harvest) will be debated. For more information about the event or the campaign, please contact: contact@banterminator.org; www.banterminator.org; Tel: (613) 241-2267

  2. Mark Your Calendars: CCIC International Symposium on organizational change,
    May 25-27.
    In recent years, international cooperation organizations and wider civil society actors and social movements have been faced with and an increasingly complex working environment. This has had important repercussions for how CCIC members and other civil society organizations structure and manage themselves, and for their ways of working internally and with others. The symposium, following CCIC's 2006 AGM, will provide a rare opportunity to exchange experiences, lessons and perspectives and to determine critical paths of action towards ensuring relevance, resilience and capacity to achieve our development goals. In addition to CCIC members, Southern partners, philanthropic foundations; and government departments as well as actual or potential youth leaders are invited to participate. For further information contact od@ccic.ca.

Worth Looking At

  1. Changes to the Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists and the Lobbyist Registration Act. On February 6, the new federal government announced the transfer of the Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists from the Industry portfolio to the Treasury Board portfolio as a stand-alone office, to increase its independence while the government works to further revise and strengthen the Lobbyists Registration Act. In June 2005 the Act was changed in a number of ways including the introduction of clearer definition of "lobbying" and the requirement that all categories of lobbyists to update or renew their filings every six months. For a Power Point presentation by by lawyer Guy W. Giorno, about the changes to the Lobbyist Registration Act, check out
    www.fasken.com/WEB/fmdwebsite.nsf/AllDoc/5486EA64F01E91BF852570890052EE90/$File/CHANGESTOLOBBYISTSREGISTRATIONACT.PDF. The full text of the Act and process for registration can be found at Industry Canada
    http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/epic/internet/inlobbyist-lobbyiste.nsf/en/Home

 

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