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Flash

March 31, 2006

Headlines

  1. Terminator Seeds Rejected: Governments gathered in Brazil last week for the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity agreed to reject language that would have undermined the existing moratorium on Terminator Seeds. Terminator or GURTS (Genetic Use Restriction Technologies) allow companies to introduce seeds whose sterile offspring cannot reproduce, preventing farmers from re-planting seeds from their harvest. A broad coalition of farmers, indigenous peoples and civil society had been working to ban Terminator technology. Francisca Rodriguez of Via Campesina, a worldwide peasant farmers' movement said, "This is a momentous day for the 1.4 billion poor people worldwide who depend on farmer saved seeds." For more information go to the Ban Terminator web site at www.banterminator.org.

  2. Make Poverty History Action Alert on Speech from the Throne: Make Poverty History sent an action alert on the Speech from the Throne to its supporters on March 23. Consider sending a notice to your contacts and encourage them to send a message to the Prime Minister and MPs. The action alert is available at
    www.makepovertyhistory.ca/e/take-action/e-alerts/2006-03-23.html.

  3. NGO Meeting on Afghanistan: CCIC convened a meeting last week on the development and human rights aspects of Canada's Afghan mission. The purpose of the meeting was to share perspectives on appropriate military involvement, the blurring of lines between humanitarian and military operations and the long term development prospects. Groups agreed to continue dialogue and work towards common analysis though an e-mail list, future meetings, and collective statements. For more information, contact Erin Simpson at esimpson@ccic.ca.

  4. Ministerial Roundtable on WTO Doha Negotiations: International Trade Minister David Emerson and Minister of Agriculture Chuck Strahl hosted a full day roundtable with major industry stakeholders, producer groups and civil society in Ottawa on March 14. The Ministers heard a range of concerns from different sectors. There were mixed messages on what level of "ambition" Canada should seek for the Round. Some sectors emphasized the need for new market access for Canadian exports. Others wanted to ensure that Canada protects supply management and prevents further damage to the Wheat Board. CCIC, represented by Gauri Sreenivasan, and Oxfam Canada, represented by Mark Fried raised development issues, which should be at the heart of these negotiations, but which have been sidelined as negotiations intensify for the closure of the Round this year. For more information contact gauri@ccic.ca.

  5. Global Youth Fellowship: The Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation Global Youth Fellowship program is targeted towards emerging, young Canadian leaders who demonstrate potential to enhance Canada's role on the world state. The Fellowships will provide a cash award of $20,000. To be eligible, applicants must be Canadian citizens or landed immigrants between 24 and 35 years old with previous international work experience - paid or volunteer. The application deadline is May 15. More information and eligibility criteria can be found at www.gordonfn.org or by e-mailing Marjan Montazemi at marjan@gordonfn.org.

Worth Looking At

  1. New CCIC Briefing Notes: As the Conservative government is about to announce its priorities with the Speech from the Throne next week and the Federal Budget soon to follow, CCIC produced two new briefing notes: "A Legislated Mandate for Foreign Aid" and a "Pre-Budget Background Note". Both are available on CCIC's web site at www.ccic.ca.

Upcoming Events

  1. CCIC Members' Meetings: CCIC's President-CEO, Gerry Barr and Deputy Director, Esperanza Moreno will be holding CCIC Members' Meetings to share information and gather input on CCIC's strategic plan and directions for 2007 to 2012; the 2006 plan of action for the Make Poverty History campaign; and other major CCIC events planned for the coming months. Members are encouraged to invite regional Make Poverty History partner organizations. All meetings are scheduled from 10:00am to 3:30pm. Locations include: Ottawa: March 29, CCIC, 1 Nicholas St. Suite 300; Toronto: March 31, CESO, 700 Bay Street, Suite 700; Vancouver: April 3, Location to be confirmed; Winnipeg: April 5, Super 8 Hotel, 1714 Pembina Highway; Halifax: April 7, World Trade and Convention Centre, 1800 Argyle Street; Montreal: April 12, CECI, Salle Jean Bouchard, 3000 Omer-Lavallée Street.

  2. Amartya Sen on Identity and Violence: Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen has re-shaped how we think about poverty and development. As part of the IDRC Speaker Series, he will be in Ottawa on April 12 at the IDRC Auditorium, 250 Albert Street, Ottawa from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. His new book is Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny. Dr. Sen will explore how one-dimensional stereotypes such as "the Muslim world" and "the Western mind" invariably foster and perpetuate conflict and violence. Seating is limited. For reservations contact Isabelle Lacroix at (613) 236-6163, ext. 2244 or at ilacroix@idrc.ca.

  3. Spring Reading: World Literacy of Canada is holding its Spring Reading series on April 19 at 6:30 at the R.O.M. in Toronto. The featured authors are Catherine Gildiner, Governor General Award winning author Leon Rooke and poet and novelist Helen Humphreys. Tickets are $40 and include drinks, hors d'oeuvres, readings and book signings with a tax receipt of $25. For more information call (416) 977-0008 or e-mail Rachel@worldlit.ca.

  4. Tsunami Conference: The tsunami of December 26, 2004 had an impact on many Asia Pacific Working Group (APWG) members and their partners in the region. The APWG is hosting a conference in Ottawa on May 1-2, 2006. It will be an opportunity for in-depth discussion on key issues that affect civil society and the response to the tsunami. In particular, four themes will be examined: 1) the challenges and opportunities of disaster relief and development in tsunami-affected conflict zones, and the changing prospects for peace; 2) the ongoing transition to longer-term development, the link between poverty and vulnerability, and the need for disaster risk reduction; 3) the interplay between government, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and the media in the response; and 4) the institutional and organizational impact on CSOs, and lessons learned. Future opportunities and recommendations for policy will also be identified. For registration packages or more information, contact Sara Kemp at skemp@ccic.ca or (613) 241-7007 ext. 316.
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