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Flash

September 28, 2007

Headlines

  1. Throne Speech Priorities: The Speech from the Throne on October 16 should address three critical foreign policy priorities: accelerating global poverty reduction, redefining Canada's mission in Afghanistan and promoting fair global trade policies, all in the context of respect for human rights and sustainable development. CCIC stressed these points in a recent letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper (see www.ccic.ca/e/home/index.shtml ). CCIC members are encouraged to send their own letters to remind the Prime Minister that ending global poverty is still a Canadian priority.

  2. First licence Granted to Export Generic AIDS Drugs to Africa: The first licence to produce generic drugs for export to countries without drug production capacity has been issued in Canada. This comes four years after a WTO decision allowing compulsory licencing to export essential medicines and three years after Canada's law implementing that decision. The Canadian Commissioner of Patents, on September 19, issued the licence using Canada's Access to Medicines Regime [a.k.a Jean Chrétien Pledge to Africa Bill]. The licence was issued after Rwanda notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) of its intent to import generic HIV/AIDS drugs from Canada. The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, while welcoming the licence, noted that "this is not the 'rapid' response that is needed to address the lack of access to affordable medicines in developing countries." For more information see www.aidslaw.ca/publications/publicationsdocEN.php?ref=705.

  3. Civil Society and Aid Effectiveness Consultations: The Advisory Group to the Working Party on CSOs and Aid Effectiveness, hosted at the OECD-DAC, is launching five CSO/government consultations in the South and a consultation in Brussels for Northern-based International CSOs. In support of these consultations, the Advisory Group, chaired by Canada, has written concept and issues papers on CSOs and Aid Effectiveness. The consultations will focus on seven areas: recognition for CSOs as development actors; strengths and limitations of the Paris Declaration for addressing CSO aid effectiveness; and case studies and lessons related to five CSO relationships (with CSO constituencies, in coalition with each other, North/South, with government, and with donors). CCIC's Africa Canada Forum, at its upcoming symposium, will address some of these questions. A CCIC Leadership Forum/National Consultation on these themes will take place January 17 and 18. The Advisory Group papers and consultation schedule are posted on CCIC's web site at www.ccic.ca/e/002/aid.shtml . For more information contact Brian Tomlinson at btomlinson@ccic.ca.

  4. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the UN General Assembly: CCIC's Asia-Pacific Working Group is critical of the Government of Canada's decision to vote against the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the 61st session of the General Assembly. After being an early proponent of the Declaration, Canada has the distinction of being one of four countries opposed to its adoption. This, despite the fact that the Declaration was strongly supported by the Canadian Civil Society, the Assembly of First Nations, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Métis National Council. The Declaration was also publicly supported by all three opposition parties with the Parliamentary Committee on Aboriginal Affairs twice calling on the government to support the Declaration.

  5. Shake Up in Public Service Senior Ranks: John McBride is the new Executive Vice-President of the Canadian International Development Agency. McBride comes to the position after spending more than two years as the President of the Canadian Commercial Corporation. Robert Fonberg is the new Deputy Minister of National Defence. Diane Vincent, who was the Executive VP at CIDA moves to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal as Vice-Chairperson.

  6. NetCorps Volunteer Placements: NetCorps placements are an opportunity for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) specialists aged 19 to 30 to share their skills on six-month overseas placements in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Eastern Europe. NetCorps placements are coordinated by nine Canadian non-governmental organizations, including four CCIC Members (Canadian Crossroads International, Oxfam-Québec, the Canadian Society for International Health and VSO Canada) and is funded by the Canadian International Development Agency. To learn more about volunteering with NetCorps visit www.netcorps-cyberjeunes.org .

Setting our Sites

  1. Launch of development website: BetterAid.org is designed as both an information and organising tool for individuals, communities, social movements, development activists, civil society organisations, governments, media and international institutions - in short anyone interested or involved in working on development issues. The website is designed to provide information and to involve users in discussions. It has with links to various civil society organisations, activities and events related to aid issues. For more information, see http://betteraid.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1&Itemid=2.

Ethics in a Flash

  1. Dear Ms Ethics: Does CCIC's Code of Ethics require organizations to make public (to employees and the public at large) the minutes from board of directors' meetings? Noteworthy

    Dear Noteworthy: There is no specific wording in the Code to tell organizations to make public to employees and the public the minutes of board meetings. There are, however, requirements for organizations to be committed to values of transparency, confidentiality and respect for privacy (3.2.7 and 3.3.1). These values may seem to conflict, but the objective is to ensure that organizations are transparent, except for cases where there is very good reason to do otherwise (i.e. cases that require confidentiality or privacy). Minutes of board meetings, for example may discuss confidential information such as staff performance which would involve the need to respect privacy and confidentiality. The default position for organizations is to be transparent and then to think about, and provide a good reason why it may not be transparent in a particular situation. Examples of this in practice include writing a summary of topics discussed and action items, without going into the details. Having a policy on transparency allows organizations to reflect on what to include and exclude, and helps ensure consistent application throughout the organization.
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