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Flash

May 26, 2006

Headlines

  1. Afghan Debate Should Focus on Mandate: Canadian NGOs, in advance of the debate on extending the Canadian mission in Afghanistan, called on the government to focus attention on the mandate of the Canadian mission in Afghanistan and not make pre-mature decisions about extending the mission. "What is lacking and desperately needed is a mandate for the mission that is clearly focused on civilian protection and peace-making." said Gerry Barr President and CEO of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC). There is also a need for clarity about the roles and responsibilities of military and development actors. The military should do security, not reconstruction and development. When aid is used for military purposes, both the recipients of aid and aid workers are put at risk. Read the full news release at www.ccic.ca.

  2. "Failed and Fragile" States: In response to an Ottawa Citizen editorial stating that "failed and fragile" states are a threat to Canada's security and need to be "fixed", a CCIC letter to the editor was published May 20. CCIC critiqued the threat-centred approach to "fragile states" and argued that Canada needs to take a human rights based approach to states with weak governance and mired in violent conflict. For more information, contact Erin Simpson at esimpson@ccic.ca and to read the letter to the editor visit www.ccic.ca.

  3. Platform for Action on AIDS: The Global Treatment Access Group (GTAG) has developed a common "civil society platform for action" highlighting four areas of action for Canada to help address the global AIDS crisis. In early August, in the lead-up to the AIDS 2006 conference, the platform will be launched and presented to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. GTAG is a working group of international development, human rights, humanitarian and AIDS service organizations, trade unions and faith-based groups seeking to improve access to essential medicines and other aspects of care, treatment and support for people living with HIV/AIDS in developing countries. GTAG is accepting platform endorsements until July 14. For a copy of the platform go to www.aidslaw.ca/Maincontent/issues/cts/GTAGplatform2006.htm.

  4. Public Engagement Reference Group Launched: The newly formed CCIC Public Engagement Reference Group met early in May to provide strategic input on CCIC's future role and activities to support members' work in public engagement and active global citizenship. Members also helped to map key factors influencing work in this area (eg. participation in Make Poverty History, issues related to infrastructure and resources, etc.) and highlighted evident weaknesses, strengths and potential areas to build on in the next year and beyond. The group will serve as a consultative body for CCIC. For further information contact Sue Cass at scass@ccic.ca.

Make Poverty History

  1. Mark Your Calendars: Make Poverty History days of action for 2006 will include: June 29 - Anniversary of Live 8 and G8 report card; August 13 to 18 - HIV/AIDS conference in Toronto; and September 16 to October 17 - White Band international month of action culminating on October 17, United Nations Day for the Eradication of Poverty. More information will be available soon at www.makepoverthistory.ca.

Upcoming Events

  1. Results Based Management: Are we there yet? It has been ten years since CIDA adopted Results Based Management (RBM). What has been learned to make better use of RBM in reporting, strengthening partner organizations, working with communities and in seeing greater impact on the field? In November 2005, a workshop explored the challenges, opportunities and ways forward in working with RBM. On Friday, June 2 from 9:00am to 10:30 at the Voluntary Centre in Ottawa, Anna Miller of the Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief, Donald Nseljani of the University of Toronto and Will Postma of World Vision will present their reflections on the November workshop. The workshop report will be available as of May 29 from www.arewethereyet2005.com.

Worth Looking At

  1. Killing the Messenger: Sandra Rodriguez's book Solidarités renouvelées. Faut-il tuer le messager? explores the difficulties of mobilizing and engaging civil society, particularly youth. Rodriguez argues that although there is an interest in international issues among youth, NGOs need to re-think how they communicate to more effectively bring them into their organizations. Solidarités renouvelées is published by Presses de l'Université du Québec. To order on-line go to www.puq.ca.

Ethics in a Flash

  1. Dear Ms Ethics: Recently our Board received a letter about staff-Board relations. If the letter is discussed at a Board meeting, should it be made available to members or the general public if someone requests it later? What does the Code of Ethics say about secrecy of information of Civil Society Organizations? Being transparent


  2. Dear Transparent: Public trust is a core asset of organizations. Board transparency is key to maintaining trust - Code of Ethics section 3.3 "the affairs of the organization shall be conducted with integrity and transparency". Transparency through disclosure is a good default position because of the principles of respect/truth-telling (to donors, government, and beneficiaries) and trust (in organizations). But what about respect for the people named in a letter? Is there good reason for not disclosing information? A letter's content is key, as is the question: what are the chances of causing undue harm or compromising someone's legitimate privacy? Imagine a letter challenging the integrity of an employee is later determined to be unfounded and that the organization's policy renders the letter, as part of its board proceedings, public. Later, a potential employer Googles the name, reads the allegation and decides not to hire the applicant. Boards must balance truth-telling and trust, with possible harm and respect for privacy. There is no prescription for what is right in every situation, but starting with transparency, and allowing exceptions only where there is reasonable likelihood of causing undue harm or compromising legitimate privacy, may be a useful approach.
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