Anti-racism, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Justice – Strategy and Action Plan

Anti-racism, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Justice – Strategy and Action Plan

Cooperation Canada’s new anti-racism, equity, diversity, inclusion and justice (AEDIJ) strategy and action plan are now available.

The AEDIJ Strategy and Action Plan will guide the organization’s journey, including the principles that guide our work, our key objectives and the concrete measures we will take in operations and administration, communications and the implementation of programs and activities.

Eighth Edition of Progressing National SDGs Implementation

Eighth Edition of Progressing National SDGs Implementation

Progressing National SDGs Implementation is an independent analysis of the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) presented to the UN’s High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) each year. It is developed by a group of civil society organisations, including Cooperation Canada, working together to drive forward progress on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Now in its eighth edition, Progressing National SDGs Implementation aims to provide useful insights and recommendations on the VNR reports presented at the HLPF, in order to inform discussions on SDG delivery and help guide improved implementation and reporting on the 2030 Agenda.

 

2023 Key Insights

 

1.  Many countries continue to face entrenched challenges to civic participation, especially marginalized groups. Irrespective of political context, all countries and regions can do more to strengthen transparency, accountability, and inclusivity in their 2030 Agenda policy frameworks to ensure that diverse voices are heard and integrated into efforts to achieve the SDGs.

2. While acknowledging the importance of policy coherence for sustainable development, no country provides a comprehensive assessment of progress along all eight domains called for in the composite SDG indicator for policy coherence. With many countries highlighting the role of climate change action as a central connector across sectors and scales, this offers one potential entry point for policy coherence in SDG actions from national to the local level.

3. While some countries have made progress in collecting disaggregated data, no single country has a full picture of who is left behind or at greater risk of falling behind in SDG efforts. The bulk of reporting countries still need to substantially improve disaggregated data collection- including on gender, multidimensional poverty, domestic inequalities, and specific vulnerable or excluded groups such as persons with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples, migrants, ethnic minorities and diverse gender identities.

 

Read the Eighth Edition of Progressing National SDGs Implementation.

Futures Initiative Reflection Report 2023

Futures Initiative Reflection Report 2023

One year has passed since Cooperation Canada embarked on its first ever strategic foresight project, the Futures Initiative. Since then, significant strides have been made, and in this report, we reflect on our journey, showcasing our advancements to date, insights gleaned from employing strategic foresight, and the methodologies instrumental in studying the global landscape, and identifying emerging trends, signals, and drivers of change within the international cooperation sector. The report underscores the indispensable role of foresight in navigating the complexities of the international development sector. It is our aspiration that this reflection report not only offers valuable insights but also serves as a guiding resource for organizations embarking on their own foresight endeavours. 

Reflecting on the Past Year Navigating Cooperation Canada’s First Strategic Foresight Project

Reflecting on the Past Year Navigating Cooperation Canada’s First Strategic Foresight Project

A Conversation with Cooperation Canada’s Research and Program Officer, Andy Ouedraogo.

Andy Ouedraogo is the Research and Program Officer for Cooperation Canada’s first strategic foresight project, the Global Cooperation Futures Initiative, funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). One year after the launch of the project, Andy recounts how far she’s come and presents a new report, the Landscape Analysis of the International Cooperation Sector.

You joined Cooperation Canada as Research and Program Officer to lead our first ever project on strategic foresight funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). Now, a year in, where are we at?

It has been quite the journey and I’m happy to say that one year in, we have achieved quite a few milestones including the recent conclusion of our research-intensive phase commemorated with the launch of a Landscape Analysis of the International Cooperation Sector; a scan of emerging trends and drivers of change. We’ve also engaged close to 220 Canadian and global international development actors in our workshops, focus group discussions, and surveys, with a view to co-create knowledge and include as many voices and perspectives as possible.

Can you tell us how you managed to navigate the complex landscape of foresight?

Anticipating the future can be daunting. Leading this project feels like building a car while driving it. We are not only steering and navigating the vehicle but also installing components, fine-tuning the engine, and adjusting the design—all while on the move. During the first few months, the fear of not getting it right loomed like a shadow over my eager enthusiasm. Anticipating the future? Who, me? But I’ve learned to shift my focus away from achieving pinpoint accuracy and towards embracing the iterative process of refining strategy, incorporating new insights as they surface, re-assessing methodologies and course correcting where needed.

Futures don’t follow a script, and plans will inevitably change. Rigid timelines and linear approaches are not the most responsive to change and would limit one’s ability to identify new trends and emerging issues that could potentially be disruptive. Being adaptable and working with a strategic foresight partner who embraces flexible and agile methodologies has been key to navigate uncertainties and keep our project on course.

I will also add that good foresight hinges on the diversity of the data set, including input from a wide range of stakeholders. By engaging diverse voices and perspectives, we gain a more comprehensive understanding of potential future trajectories. An example of how Cooperation Canada did this is through our regional dialogues, organized in partnership with regional networks of CSOs in five different regions. These dialogues were instrumental in validating existing domains based on regional nuances, challenges, and future aspirations for the sector. Moreover, they enabled us to incorporate intra-personal observational knowledge, derived from participants’ firsthand observations of local change and their perceptions of the future of development influenced by local and regional events and trends.

Any lessons you could share or pieces of advice for CSOs seeking to venture into foresight?

The realization that the future doesn’t have to be a single fated outcome has been profound. Recognizing this plurality has broadened my perspective and highlighted the complexity of plausible future scenarios and so my first piece of advice would be to embrace the plurality of the future.

Then, I would say scope wisely to ensure relevance, actionability, and impact. Future studies could easily take you in so many directions, especially when looking into global systems. You quickly realize how interconnected the world is and may end up trapped in a giant spider web not knowing in which direction to go. By defining clear boundaries and objectives, not only have we been able to tailor the foresight process to suit our specific needs and context, but we were also able to choose appropriate methodologies, approaches, and tools that are best suited to the Futures Initiative.

My final piece of advice would be to opt for an iterative approach and emphasize process over precision. It is so crucial to allow space for continuous learning, experimentation, and improvement to ensure the relevance of the outcome.

The fun of strategic foresight isn’t just in the outcome; it’s in the process. It’s in the laughter during brainstorming sessions, the “aha” moments when a trend clicks, and the shared excitement when a foresight exercise sparks creativity. So, embrace the process.

What does the future look like for you?

Well, the future is much closer than you would imagine. With just two workshops remaining, I look forward to co-creating three transformative scenarios for international cooperation with CSOs and other development actors, as well as studying and discussing their implications for the next 7-10 years.

Click here to register for our scenario creation workshop!

 

Navigating Emerging Trends in International Cooperation: Strategies for Civil Society Organizations

Navigating Emerging Trends in International Cooperation: Strategies for Civil Society Organizations

The outlook for international cooperation actors for the coming decade is both uncertain and turbulent. That is the conviction behind our newly launched Landscape Analysis of the International Cooperation Sector, a scan of emerging trends and drivers of change, and an output of Cooperation Canada’s Futures Initiative. The Report links emerging trends and challenges with direct implications for international cooperation actors.

Rather than feeling overwhelmed by those implications, Civil Society organizations (CSOs) can equip themselves to effectively navigate this increasingly volatile environment and adopt innovative strategies that not only address emerging trends but also empower them to prepare for a range of plausible futures. Let’s explore four key strategies a Civil Society organization (CSO) can use to navigate uncertainty.

 

Strategic Foresight

Strategic foresight is a systematic approach to exploring alternative futures, anticipating potential challenges, and identifying strategic opportunities for action. Unlike traditional planning methods, which often rely on past trends and linear projections, strategic foresight embraces uncertainty and complexity, empowering organizations to navigate ambiguity and make informed decisions in the face of uncertainty. In another blog, I dive deeper into the importance of strategic foresight for CSOs, click here to read more.

 

Integrative Thinking

Integrative thinking is the ability to bridge siloes, forge links, and overcome the imperative of making unpleasant choices by mapping out and leveraging the interdependencies within and between systems for long term impact and resilience. Integrative thinkers refrain from binary choices and instead embrace the complexity of issues by synthesizing intuition, reason, and imagination. By building comprehensive models that consider various variables and causal relationships, CSOs can develop holistic approaches that engage diverse stakeholders and systems. Integrative thinking allows organizations to creatively resolve tensions and uncover opportunities that may have been overlooked. Embracing this mindset can enable CSOs to tackle multifaceted challenges with agility and effectiveness.

 

Impact Communication

With shrinking funding pools, CSOs must increasingly demonstrate their impact and effectively communicate their results. Merely showcasing the worthiness of a mission is no longer sufficient; donors increasingly demand evidence of tangible outcomes and social returns on their investments. CSOs need to invest in impact communication, where resonant storytelling plays a pivotal role. By sharing compelling narratives that illustrate how their work confronts inequity and drives positive change, CSOs can cut through the noise and inspire meaningful engagement from donors and stakeholders. Transparency, authenticity, and empathy are key elements of impactful storytelling that resonate with audiences and foster trust in the organization’s mission.

 

Diversification of Revenue Streams

In today’s ever-changing economic landscape, it’s imperative for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to take proactive steps in diversifying their revenue sources to bolster financial resilience. Our comprehensive landscape report underscores a growing trend among organizations, as they turn to digital currencies and explore private financing options to mitigate financial risks and drive innovation and adaptability. This strategic move towards revenue diversification gains heightened significance in the face of challenges such as the sovereign debt crisis, diminishing contributions from Official Development Assistance, and the shrinking civic space.

 

In conclusion, navigating the evolving landscape of international development cooperation requires CSOs to embrace innovation, resilience, and accountability. By adopting integrative thinking and foresight, diversifying revenue streams, and prioritizing impact communication, CSOs can proactively address emerging trends and drive sustainable progress in their communities. As agents of change, CSOs have the opportunity to lead by example and shape a more equitable and inclusive future for all.

Launch of the Global Landscape Analysis of the International Cooperation Sector

Launch of the Global Landscape Analysis of the International Cooperation Sector

Cooperation Canada is proud to announce the launch of our Global Landscape Analysis of the International Cooperation sector, a report of the Global Cooperation Futures Initiative funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). 

 Drawing from a year of extensive research and insights from experts, our report provides a panoramic view of the challenges, trends, and emerging issues impacting international cooperation. As we stand on the cusp of unprecedented change, this analysis offers invaluable insights into the pressing issues facing the international community. From geopolitical shifts to economic warfare, climate change, and the digital divide, this report highlights the interconnectedness across and between issue areas and their implications for international cooperation actors.