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Flash

November 9, 2007

Headlines

  1. Civil Society Groups Give Advice to Manley Panel on Canada's Afghanistan Mission: Representatives of almost a dozen Canadian CSOs with interest or involvement in Afghanistan spent two hours with the Panel on a Saturday morning (the 27th of October). The main thrust of the presentations was to present the panel with arguments for widening the scope of its study to include non-military options - options that stress a greater investment in diplomacy in search of a political settlement and a lasting peace, better development efforts and real security for Afghans. The panel heard practical suggestions from human rights organizations, humanitarian and development groups and experts in conflict resolution. The groups called for a clear separation between military actions and humanitarian and development efforts, arguing that strategic use of development projects by the military has made Afghanistan a much less secure place for both civilians and humanitarian workers. The delegation offered to provide in-country contacts for the Panel's coming visit to Afghanistan and asked for another opportunity to speak with the panel on its return.

  2. Manley Panel Calls for Public Submissions: The Panel has opened its website at www.independent-panel-independant.ca/. Public submissions should be written and submitted on-line. Submissions should not exceed 10 pages in length and "should take into account the same considerations and options as those outline in the panel's terms of reference/mandate, or propose alternative considerations." Deadline for submissions is December 1, 2007. For more info: www.independent-panel-independant.ca/submissions-eng.html

  3. Horizons of Friendship Brown Bag Lunch, Nov. 21st: You are invited to a brown bag lunch with Transito Ruano, Director of the PASSOS Education and Training Centre in San Salvador, El Salvador, November 21st in the CCIC Boardroom, 1 Nicholas St., 3rd Floor (presentation with Spanish and English interpretation). Youth of San Salvador and other cities throughout El Salvador, are increasingly at risk of involvement in violent and gang-related activity. They live in situations of extreme poverty and social exclusion. Drug and alcohol dependency, sexual exploitation, abandonment and abuse, homelessness, dysfunctional families and absence of opportunities for positive socialization increase youth vulnerability. Community organizations and government entities are trying to address the problem of social exclusion and violence, but they often lack trained personnel who can offer a constructive and integrated approach to violence prevention among youth. PASSOS' work specifically addresses this gap with the establishment of a School for Youth Violence Prevention to train community outreach workers and increase awareness of viable solutions among local leaders. Ms. Ruano is in Canada as part of a speaking tour across Ontario. She will discuss the current socio-political climate in 
    El Salvador and the work of PASSOS within this context.

  4. CCIC Pre-Budget Brief Sets Timetable to Achieve 0.7% Aid Goal: In its pre-budget brief to the Finance committee, CCIC highlights the importance of setting a realistic timetable to achieve a level of aid spending equal to 0.7% of our Gross National Income (GNI) in the next ten years. To do so, Canada will have to increase its Official Development Assistance budget by 15% a year for the next decade. The brief also argues that the time has come to ensure government is accountable for the aid it provides and that our assistance focuses exclusively on poverty reduction. This will be achieved if Bill C-293, now in the Senate, is adopted. CCIC calls on the government to support it. You'll find a detailed situation analysis and what we'll be looking for in the 2008-2009 federal budget at: www.ccic.ca/e/home/index.shtml

  5. The Impact of Climate Change on Southern Farmers: The Taking the Heat Forum, December 4th, will explore how African farmers and rural communities are coping with the impact of climate change. It's a problem, of course, that Canadians have helped to create. The forum will hear what solutions Africans have to offer and how Canadians can help. The evening will feature dialogue with farmers from Mali, Kenya and Malawi. Among the guests is Mamby Fofana of Mali, former Director of USC's Seeds for Survival program. The forum starts at 7 pm, December 4th at the Bronson Centre, 211 Bronson Avenue in Ottawa. Admission is free. For more info, visit http://usc-canada.org/?page_id=19

  6. Canadian Foundations and International Development: An Examination: In a paper in the latest issue of The Philanthropist (Volume 21), Esperanza Moreno, CCIC's Deputy Director, and Betty Plewes, a former President/CEO of CCIC, explore the nature and scale of the international activities of Canadian foundations, and compare them to their American and European counterparts. The authors focus on granting related to poverty reduction, human rights, strengthening of civil society and humanitarian assistance. They find the extent of international engagement by Canadian foundations is quite limited. They conclude, however, that the foundation sector is growing and the barriers can be overcome. They argue that the experience and knowledge of Canadian international CSOs would benefit foundations and philanthropists and propose more communication between the two sectors. For the full paper, visit www.ccic.ca/e/docs/002_voluntary_sector_2007-10_intl_foundations.pdf

  7. New Chair of the Advisory Group on Civil Society and Aid Effectiveness: Steven Wallace, currently Vice President of the Afghanistan Task Force at CIDA, has been appointed Chairperson of the Advisory Group on Civil Society and Aid Effectiveness. The Group will advise the Working Party on Aid Effectiveness, at the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), on issues relating to CSOs and the review of the Paris Declaration at the High Level Forum in Accra, Ghana, in September 2008. Mr. Wallace replaces Mme Diane Vincent, who has accepted a position in the civil service outside CIDA. He has a long history of engagement with Canadian international CSOs as Vice President of CIDA's Africa Branch and Policy Branch. He will chair his first Advisory Group meeting in Paris on November 5th and 6th. CCIC is a member of the Advisory Group and documentation on its work can be found in the aid section of CCIC's web site: www.ccic.ca/e/002/aid.shtml#RoA.

  8. Selection of CCIC Members to Participate in February 2008 International Forum on Civil Society and Aid Effectiveness: The Advisory Group on Civil Society and Aid Effectiveness, of which CCIC is a member, is holding consultations in various countries and regions across the world on issues relating to the Paris Declaration, roles for civil society in development and issues in aid effectiveness. Results will be brought to an International Forum, organized by CCIC for the Advisory Group, in Ottawa from February 3-6, 2008. The Forum brings together an equal number of stakeholders -- southern CSOs, northern CSOs, donors and developing country governments. Hence, participation will be limited to guarantee that outcome. We expect that there will be places for 8 to 10 Canadian CSOs to participate. We are therefore seeking expressions of interest from members. In putting your organization forward, please indicate work you have recently undertaken, reflecting on your role and development relationships that might be relevant to discussions at the Forum. The Forum is not intended for those who are entirely new to the process and many participants will have participated in a consultation. Please send your expression of interest by e-mail to Brian Tomlinson (btomlinson@ccic.ca). The Secretariat's selections will be submitted to December's CCIC Board meeting for ratification (and choice, if more apply than spaces available). Please note that CCIC is also organizing a Canadian Consultation and Dialogue with CIDA on the same themes on January 17/18, teamed with the 2008 CCIC Leadership Forum. For more information on the Leadership Forum/Canadian National Consultation please contact Esperanza Moreno at emoreno@ccic.ca

  9. Canada Moves Up the Ranks of Military Spenders - New Report: Canada's military spending is at its highest level since the Second World War, according to a new study written for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives by Steven Staples and Bill Robinson of the Rideau Institute. Among the findings; Canada's military spending will reach $18.24 billion per year in 2007-2008, a 27% increase since 9/11. In 2007, Canada moved from 16th to 13th among the world's highest military spenders, and from 7th to 6th among NATO countries. As of the end of March 2008, Canada will have spent $7.2 billion on the military mission related to Afghanistan since the invasion in 2001. For the full report: www.policyalternatives.ca/documents/National_Office_Pubs/2007/More_Than_the_Cold_War.pdf

  10. Canada World Youth is Recruiting: Canada World Youth (CWY) offers international educational programs to young people aged 17 to 24 in Canada and in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe and Latin America. Groups consist of 9 Canadians and 9 participants from a partner country, along with a supervisor from each country. The group spends 3 months in a Canadian community, followed by 3 months in a community in the partner country. Each youth is paired with a partner from the partner country and the two live together in a host family in Canada and abroad. During the week they work as volunteers on a selected project. Candidates who register before January 15th, 2008 will have priority for 2008-2009 programs. For more info: www.canadaworldyouth.org or 
    1-866-786-9243.

  11. Guatemalan Indigenous Rights Leader To Speak on Canadian Mining Activities in San Marcos: Javier de Léon is a Mayan community leader from Guatemala. Mr de Léon collaborated in the 2005 popular consultation on mining exploration and exploitation in Sipakapa, San Marcos, as a member of the indigenous rights organization, Achjmol,. He currently works with ADISMI, a community development organization based in San Miguel Ixtahuacan, the location of an open-pit gold mine owned by Montana Exploradora, a subsidiary of Goldcorp. Mr. de Léon took part in the Second Indigenous Dialogue on Mining in Colombia this past summer. He is coming to Canada with Project Accompaniment Québec-Guatemala and the Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network, members of the Coordination for International Accompaniment in Guatemala (CAIG). The CAIG offers international accompaniment to local human rights defenders and has accompanied both Achjmol and ADISMI. Mr. de Léon will speak in the CCIC Boardroom, 1 Nicholas St., Floor 3, Ottawa, ON, from 2:15pm - 3:45pm on November 21, 2007. For more information, please contact Karen Hamilton, paqg@paqg.org, (514) 495-3131, or Dana Stefov, dstefov@ccic.ca, (613) 241-7007, extension 357.

  12. On-line Video of Government 101 Webcast - How Government Works: CCIC's first-ever online webcast, "Government 101", on September 27 was a big hit according to the many members who took part. You can now see it on-line along with Amanda Sussman's Power Point presentation on the topic at http://portal.videoarch.com/ccic/vidlib/en/index.asp. In this webcast, Amanda speaks on how to use your limited time and resources in a way that has maximum impact on government policy. In an overview of how government decisions get made, she talks about defining clear advocacy objectives, running effective meetings with government, and choosing advocacy tactics. Viewers can select the segment that is of most interest by clicking on the various slides of the Power Point. Ms. Sussman is a past policy advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. Her book, The Art of the Possible was released in October.

Ethics in a Flash

  1. Dear Ms Ethics: The finances section of the Code tells us "the organization…shall prohibit any unaudited transactions or loans to Board members and to staff" (standard 3.4.7). Since the audit takes place after the transaction has occurred, should the wording be "unauthorized" instead of "unaudited"? Would we be in compliance if we used "unauthorized"? Purse-strings

    Dear Purse: It is already presumed that no loans or transactions should be unauthorized. An unauthorized transaction or loan would be illegal and in violation of recognized principles of accountability. The Code aims to go beyond the bare minimum of the law. This clause, therefore, goes one step further and requires that all transactions and loans be documented and thus subject to audit. The purpose of the clause is to ensure that there are no "off-the-book" loans - i.e. loans that are made in good faith on a verbal understanding. Verbal understandings and loans based on trust (even though almost always paid back) are not sufficient for CCIC members to meet standards of accountability to donors, government and the public. Loans to Board members could place them in a conflict of interest since they are ultimately responsible for the organization's expenditures, and would in this case be authorizing expenditures for their own benefit.

    The key ethical principle for organizations to aspire to here is transparency. You have raised a very good point about the wording "unaudited transactions". Most audits are done on a test basis, and not all transactions are necessarily tested by the auditor. If our goal is transparency and proper tracking and recording of transactions, it may be more accurate to say that the transaction or loan should be authorized, documented and subject to audit rather than be audited itself.
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