Over the past several years, the role of the private sector in development, particularly how these actors can address global development challenges, has garnered increased attention. As a result, donors and many civil society organizations (CSOs) are considering how to engage the private sector to achieve various development objectives.
In anticipation of what this latter trend may mean for the future of the international development CSO community in Canada, the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) launched a research project in 2013 to explore how Canadian CSOs are engaging the private sector. To capture this information, CCIC canvassed members of the CSO community.
Drawing on the results of a comprehensive survey, this report provides a broad overview or map of how the 62 CSOs who responded to the survey are currently engaging the private sector, what the key dynamics are of this engagement, and what organizations are planning to do in the future.
On November 15, 2013, CCIC responded to the government’s invitation to submit inputs to its process of assessing the CSR strategy for the extractive sector, adopted in 2009. The document formulates four key recommendations:
1.Re-engage with and support a multi-stakeholder forum that brings together industry, civil society and government voices with the specific objective to tackle the real challenges that the industry faces on the taxation, transparency, labour, human rights and environmental fronts.
2.Create the mechanism of an extractive-sector Ombudsman in Canada. This mechanism needs to have the power to receive complaints, undertake independent investigations to determine if a company has acted inappropriately and, if so, to make recommendations to the company and to the Canadian government in order to remedy the situation.
3.Legislate access to Canadian courts for people who have been seriously harmed by the international operations of Canadian companies. Canadian courts have been reluctant to hear cases brought forward by foreign plaintiffs. As a result, there have been very few court cases in Canada concerning Canadian companies and overseas human rights abuse, despite a growing number of allegations.
4.Re-consider the recommendations of the Round Table process of 2005 and update them as needed with the support of the multi-stakeholder process described in point 1) above. Most importantly, work towards mandatory regulation and away from voluntary standards that, though effective in raising awareness about the issues at stake, have been proven to be ineffective in raising the competitiveness of the industry as a whole.
This is a new paper published by The North-South Institute and CCIC. Over the past few years, members of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (OECDDAC)—the forum through which donor countries coordinate their aid efforts—have renewed their focus on economic growth and the private sector as driving forces behind development. Despite these trends, donor policies for promoting economic growth and the private sector have received very little comparative analysis.
This paper seeks to address that gap with an initial mapping and exploratory assessment of bilateral donor strategies on the private sector and economic growth. The paper is based on an examination of publicly available OECD-DAC donor policies reviewed between January and June of 2012, including websites, strategy papers, policy documents, and donor commitments at HLF4 and in other multilateral fora. Taking a framework analysis approach, the objective of the paper is to identify emerging themes in donor policies around growth and the private sector by comparing and contrasting different elements of donors’ strategies.
On November 7, 2012, the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development (FAAE) tabled its report on the role of the private sector in achieving Canada’s international development mandate, following a series of hearings the Committee held to study the theme over the past year. Entitled “Driving inclusive economic growth: the role of the private sector in international development”, the report provides a summary of the range of views that were presented at the hearings, and a series of recommendations to the Canadian government, and more specifically to the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).
This brief analysis of the report aims to identify the gaps in the report and some of the areas that require more attention and reflection, and also addresses some of the recommendations the Report makes to CIDA.
On Nov.23, 2012, the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, presented a keynote address to the Economic Club of Canada. His speech included new directions for CIDA to engage with Canadian businesses. The Minister also took the opportunity to announce that the University of British Columbia (UBC), working in collaboration with Simon Fraser University (SFU), has been selected to operate the new Canadian International Institute for Extractive Industries and Development.
In early May 2012, CCIC was invited to submit comments to CIDA to “help define thefocus and activities of the International Institute for Extractive Industries and Development leading to a call for proposals to choose a Canadian university to host the Institute”. While welcoming the opportunity to contribute comments to the process, CCIC requested that a formal multi-stakeholder consultation process, with more directed questions and with a clear mechanism for recommendations to be considered in the final design of the Institute, be included in the start-up phase of this endeavor.
Dialogue on Development and the Mining Sector
On May 22, 2012, CCIC convened a dialogue of 20 people from 14 organizations on the mining sector and development focussing on NGO partnerships and engagement with mining companies. The group identified some common starting points, which are explained in this one-pager.
Reconciling Trade and Human Rights: The New Development Agenda.
The report from the human rights and trade, development and poverty eradication conference is now available. This two-day international conference was co-hosted in May 2007 by the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) and Rights & Democracy. The report is also available in Spanish. (September 2007) (PDF 1 Mb)
Global Trade/Global Poverty - NGO Perspectives on Key Challenges for Canada
Global Trade/Global Poverty: NGO Perspectives on Key Challenges for Canada, is a series of policy papers that take an in-depth look at issues of trade and poverty from several thematic and sectoral vantage points. The papers aim to frame and synthesize the experience, analysis and concerns of Canadian NGOs regarding the implications of international trade agreements for global poverty and recommendations for Canadian action. The papers focus on areas of expertise of Canadian NGOs and their partners, such as in rural development, food security, health, labour rights and democratic development. Other papers in the series are forthcoming and will be posted here.