by Cooperation Canada | Dec 21, 2022 | CSO Partnership Policy, export, News, Policy
On December 12-14, 2022, governments, civil society organizations (CSOs), and businesses gathered in Geneva, Switzerland, for the 3rd High-Level Meeting (HLM) of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC or Global Partnership), also called the Effective Development Co-operation Summit. Established at the 2011 Busan Forum on Aid Effectiveness, the Global Partnership is a multistakeholder network of countries and organizations united around four foundational principles of effective development co–operation: country ownership, focus on results, inclusive development partnerships, and transparency and accountability. Departing from previous aid effectiveness commitments made in Rome (2003), Paris (2005) and Accra (2008), Busan shifted the focus from traditional aid to development co–operation, recognizing the important roles of diverse development actors.
The development co–operation landscape has significantly changed since the Busan Forum. The adoption of the Sustainable Development Agenda in 2015 stressed the importance of tackling global challenges by using development assistance in a more “catalytic” way. However, global efforts to drive sustainable development are facing profound headwinds, from growing inequality to escalating conflicts compounded by climatic shocks. The 2022 Summit participants recognized that development co–operation must continue to take place under increasingly challenging circumstances and converged on the value and relevance of the four effectiveness principles. They also pointed to the need to attend to development co–operation trends and varied country contexts. In his opening address, Mr. Ignazio Cassis, President of the Swiss Confederation said that what differentiates us should not divide us: “Common values and a mutual respect are our compass. We must take responsibility and act together. This is the raison d’être of the Global Partnership.”
Civil society delegates, represented through the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness, condemned the dwindling of development resources and the slow pace of collective action. They voiced the sector’s positions about conflict and fragility, climate finance, and shrinking civic space at the Unmet Gala, a parade highlighting unmet commitments towards sustainable development goals. CSOs also acknowledged the Summit gains, including the emphasis on building trust to make development cooperation more effective, and the momentum in favor of a revised national monitoring framework. Beginning in 2023, the 35 countries that subscribed to the new monitoring framework should drive enhanced accountability, encourage inclusive and evidence-based dialogue, including with the private sector, and promote behavior change.
Following the Summit, the CSO Partnership vows to further promoting multi-stakeholder initiatives that enable civil society to play its role in effective development. Here at home, Cooperation Canada will continue to consult with the CSO Partnership and work with its members and the Government to boost Canadian leadership in favor of the SDGs and in support of country ownership of global solidarity initiatives. Cooperation Canada welcomes Canada’s endorsement of the Donor Statement on Supporting Locally Led Development released during the Geneva Summit and looks forward to collaborating with the Government around effective and coherent approaches to advance development, humanitarian, and peacebuilding efforts. Canada’s feminist leadership can and will make a difference in turning words into the global action called for by multiple commitments, including the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (2011), the Agenda for Sustainable Development (2015), the Grand Bargain (2016), and the OECD-DAC Recommendation on Enabling Civil Society in Development Co-operation and Humanitarian Assistance (2021).
Policy Lead, Cooperation Canada
by Cooperation Canada | Oct 27, 2021 | Feminist International Assistance Policy, International Development, News, Policy
Cooperation Canada congratulates the members of Canada’s 44th Cabinet under the leadership of Justin Trudeau who were sworn in yesterday. We look forward to working with cabinet ministers and their staff as they address the urgent, yet complex, challenges of ending the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring a strong economic recovery, while addressing the gaps in social safety nets that the pandemic has highlighted, and mitigating the ongoing climate emergency.
Our sincere gratitude is extended to the outgoing Minister Karina Gould, an unwavering believer in international cooperation and solidarity, whom we wish all the best in her new mandate of advancing social prosperity in the domestic context. We are looking forward to working with Minister Harjit Sajjan, who will be taking on the international development portfolio. This is a critical time for international cooperation, and we are excited to support the Honourable Sajjan in his efforts to ensure Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy is prioritized, adequately resourced, and strategically implemented.
As traditional foreign and national priorities increasingly overlap, Canada’s international cooperation is emerging as a core pillar of the country’s future prosperity, impacting our health, economy, and our ability to help solve our environment and humanitarian crises such as the one in Afghanistan. We look forward to working with ministries whose work spans across all pillars of Canada’s global engagement, including those of climate justice, human rights, racial and gender justice, refugee protection, diplomacy, defense, equitable international trade, and environmental sustainability. We also look forward to working with Ministers Chrystia Freeland, Mona Fortier, and Diane Lebouthiller to ensure Canada’s global engagement is fair and backed by sufficient resources, enabling legislative and regulatory frameworks and civic space.
As a national association of organizations working in international development and humanitarian contexts, Cooperation Canada has informed Canada’s global engagement for over fifty years. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with political leaders in this pivotal moment of Canada’s history, which calls on investing in solutions to global challenges that affect us everywhere.
by coopcanada2020 | Jul 27, 2021 | News, Policy
Why are we talking about the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act?
Canada’s international assistance is legislatively outlined in the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act (ODAAA). In force since 2008, ODAAA sets the terms for the eligibility of funding considered as the Official Development Assistance (ODA) and applies to all relevant federal departments. As such, the ODAAA is of instrumental value for all Canadian organizations engaged in international cooperation, many of which were a part of the co-construction process that led to the bill’s adoption.
Multiple amendments of significance have been made to the ODAAA since it was adopted. One has changed the very definition of ODA already, while Private Members’ Bill C-287, presented by the Conservative Party’s Opposition Critic for International Development, Garnett Genuis, seeks to further edit the provisions of the ODAAA. To cast light on this bill and its importance for our sector, the impact of the recent legislative amendments, and the proposed changes, Cooperation Canada has prepared this short guide.
What does the ODAAA entail?
The bill protects the integrity of ODA, understood as funding “with a central focus on poverty reduction and in a manner that is consistent with Canadian values, Canadian foreign policy, the principles of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness of March 2, 2005, sustainable development and democracy promotion and that promotes international human rights standards”. ODA is therefore interpreted in section 1 as the funding:
- Aimed at “promoting the economic development and welfare of developing countries” in a concessional character, meaning that at least some portion (in this case 25 percent) must be in the form of a grant, as per the three-point criteria outlined below; and
- Is aimed at humanitarian assistance.
Development (understood very broadly as non-humanitarian assistance) ODA must meet the three-criterion test, which suggests that ODA-eligible funding must be:
- Contributing to poverty reduction;
- Taking into account the perspectives of the poor; and
- Consistent with international human rights standards.
In this way, Canada’s legislation guarantees a human-rights-based approach to international assistance, which must be applied regardless of any institutional policies. Global Affairs Canada guidance documents offer instruments for the interpretation of all three criteria items.
The bill requires government reporting on ODA, including the Report to Parliament on the Government of Canada’s Official Development Assistance (which is generally co-produced by the Minister of International Development and the Minister of Foreign Affairs) and the Statistical Report on International Assistance, published by Global Affairs Canada for each fiscal year.
Recent changes to the ODAAA
In 2019, the ODAAA was amended to align with the ODA definition “published on the website of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development [OECD].” In force since June 2021, this amendment changes the calculations from the new grant equivalent measure. While the past OECD guidance and the original text of the ODAAA both referred to ODA with a grant equivalent of at least 25 percent (calculated at a rate of discount of 10 percent), the current Development Assistance Committee (DAC) consideration of ODA-eligibility based on the grant element is more complex, varying across countries’ economies and type of assistance, as outlined here.
The updated version of this bill, however, still protects the three-point criteria outlined above and other reporting requirements and other elements of this bill. Additional amendments (since 2013 and 2018) have further repealed some provisions relating to the reporting requirements pertaining to Canada’s influence on the Bretton Woods Institutions and resulted in a single report outlining Canada’s assistance across various multilateral and bilateral channels. Additional changes have eroded the transparency of Canada’s ODA reporting, particularly around the transparency of official development assistance and the predictability of the base levels of the international assistance envelope.
The bill also calls for government consultations on ODAAA (which are organized by the Ministry of Finance every two years – Cooperation Canada’s latest submission is here) and the Statistics Report. The recent amendments stand the chance of loosening up criteria for ODA (by reducing the threshold for grant-equivalent percentage of the funding), this can only happen through broader erosion of ODA criteria at the OECD DAC level. With the latest amendments in mind, the coordinated action of civil society at the OECD DAC level, as well as with the Global Affairs Canada teams informing Canada’s position at this global forum, assume great importance.
Don’t fix what’s not broken? Implications of Bill C-287 proposed changes
In April 2021, MP Garnett Genuis tabled Bill C-287, which aims to add additional elements to the three-point criteria outlined above, which would prevent Canada’s ODA from being allocated to foreign governments that have arbitrarily detained Canadian citizens or permanent residents, or have “engaged in a crime against humanity, genocide or a war crime.” Lastly, an additional criterion proposed in C-287 requires ODA to be consistent with Canada’s broader efforts of international peace and security.
Cooperation Canada welcomes all conversations and legislative changes that can improve the effectiveness of Canada’s international assistance. While we believe that great strides can be made around the predictability, transparency, inclusivity, and broader scale of Canada’s international assistance, the proposed bill does not reflect the current priorities of Cooperation Canada.
Canada’s international assistance is, to a significant extent, dedicated to humanitarian assistance, which follows global humanitarian principles of impartiality and neutrality, prioritizing the lives and livelihoods of crisis-affected populations (civilians who, according to the international conventions, cannot be held accountable for the actions of their governments) over political interests of any such actors.
While we agree with the importance of ensuring ODA reflects normative stances of Canadians and international commitments, the existing criteria already protect the human rights standards of ODA, as well as the broader category of poverty alleviation, which is contingent on the cessation of conflict and the achievement of international peace. Lastly, Canada’s ODA is largely allocated through multilateral organizations that depend on flexible funding to direct international assistance to those where it is most needed. As such, Canada, much like other countries contributing to multilateral arenas, cannot exercise undue influence on these organizations and earmark countries where Canada’s assistance can and cannot be deployed. The effectiveness and the efficiency of multilateral institutions are also protected by global governance frameworks of the OECD DAC and the UN, which would make ODAAA criteria incompatible with Canada’s global commitments.
Interested in learning more about ODA?
Canadian civil society has weighed in on approaches to ensuring that Canada’s international assistance respects the provisions of ODAAA. A Time to Act report outlines key insight based on discussions organized by the Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC, now Cooperation Canada).
A broader case for Canada’s Official Development Assistance is presented in the Together Project, which outlines the achievements of Canada’s global engagement and traces a way forward for a strategic scale-up aimed at solving global challenges affecting us everywhere. The Together Project also outlines strategic areas of intervention across 11 thematic areas.
The Together Project amplifies the voice of the entire sector, calling for increased international assistance. Despite the long-standing international commitments, Canada contributes less than half of its global fair share, investing only 30 cents for every $100 of its national income in solutions to global challenges such as poverty, inequality, climate emergency, and global pandemics. Using an evidence-based approach, the Together Project urges the country’s leaders across the political spectrum to commit to sustainable increases of Canada’s international assistance that reflects the urgency of our global challenges.
*Cooperation Canada is grateful to Brian Tomlinson (Aid Watch Canada) for his insight and guidance throughout this analysis.
by Cooperation Canada | Apr 30, 2021 | CPAG, News, Policy
Global Affairs Canada and Cooperation Canada are co-Chairs of the Civil Society Policy Advisory Group (CPAG), which aims to advance to achievement of objectives outlined in Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP) and the related GAC CSO Partnership Policy. The group supports the implementation of the CSO Partnership Policy Implementation Plan, focused on nine action areas:
- Empowering women and girls, promote gender equality, and reach the poorest, most vulnerable and most marginalized as the most effective means to eradicate poverty
- Facilitating a safe and enabling environment for civil society
- Protecting human life and dignity
- Fostering CSO leadership in innovation
- Integrating the role of CSOs as independent actors into international assistance programming
- Establishing more predictable, equitable, flexible, and transparent funding mechanisms
- Fostering multi-stakeholder approaches to international assistance
- Engaging Canadians as global citizens in international assistance
- Promoting sustainability, transparency, accountability, and results
CPAG is comprised of GAC and CSO representatives specializing in the above-outlined action areas, but also representing sector diversity in terms of areas of professional specialization, organizational type and size, and geographic location, as well as individual identity factors such as gender, age, race, geographic and linguistic backgrounds etc. GAC Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) for the Partnership for Development Innovation Branch oversees the strategic direction of the group, which continuously engages a broader set of sector experts to inform their work.
Building on commitments of membership rotation, inclusivity and diversity, CSO members of CPAG now invite CSO sector specialists to express interest in serving on CPAG for a two-year term. Interested colleagues are required to commit approximately up to 10 hours a month to ongoing work, and to attending bilingual quarterly calls. The group will at all times aim to ensure intersectional approach to all areas of work.
The Call for Expressions of Interest can be found here. Colleagues are asked to answer a set of questions to support the membership selection process, which will be conducted by current CSO members. The deadline to submit applications is the end of day 17 May 2021. Applications will be anonymized to minimize bias, but only fully completed forms will be considered. We are determined to ensure CPAG is a safe and inclusive environment for all. Section decisions will be made by June.
To learn more about CPAG and the CSO Partnership Policy, please click here. Thank you very much for considering contributing to this vital advisory group.
With best wishes,
CSO CPAG Members
by Cooperation Canada | Apr 19, 2021 | Feminist Foreign Policy, News, Policy, Responding to Covid-19
Keeping Canadians safe is the most important role of the government. That means eradicating COVID-19 from around the world, urgently addressing the climate crisis, and ensuring an equitable pandemic recovery. Our economy is global, our population is multicultural, and we cannot solve global challenges in isolation. Canada will not recover until the world recovers.
Today, the Government of Canada announced budgetary measures aimed at eradicating COVID-19. This includes $375 million towards the global pandemic response – a critical contribution that will save lives. Yet this modest figure stands in contrast with the Government’s commitments last year, amounting to an estimated $1.2 billion and does not reflect or respond to the dire humanitarian needs around the globe: with 97 million people pushed to extreme poverty and 270 million facing acute hunger. COVID-19 is not a fleeting crisis. It calls for political leadership and strategic investments to make up for the 25 years of human development progress lost in the first 25 weeks of the global pandemic. Today’s budget is a missed opportunity to demonstrate such political leadership.
Women and girls, marginalized communities and historically disadvantaged countries are bearing the brunt of the harshest economic, social, and health effects of the crisis. Securing their futures requires ambitious action. This is why the international development sector has been calling for the government to invest 1% of its COVID response to support the global response and recovery. Today’s Budget provides for $375 million in COVID-19 global response, encapsulated in a $1.4 billion increase in international assistance, spread over five years. Such an increase emerges as insufficient against the backdrop of the biggest global crisis in a generation and the need for long-term investments in mechanisms of global health, social protection and economic collaboration on which depends our ability to recover from COVID-19 and prevent and mitigate future crises.
Canada is currently contributing far below its global fair share and its international commitments, investing only 30 cents in international assistance for every 100 dollars in gross national income. Despite an increase last year, Canada continues to perform below the average of donors of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Low levels of funding, exacerbated by unpredictable new allocations that follow political trends and media attention instead of the humanitarian needs and development strategies, are threatening the achievement of the government’s own Feminist International Assistance Policy.
Canadians understand the need for a bold budget with robust measures to address the crisis within and beyond our borders. While Canada grapples with its own vaccine roll-out, many lower-income countries have not received a single dose, endangering lives, and threatening the health and economic recovery everywhere.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how important it is to address global crises in a timely manner,” said Nicolas Moyer, CEO of Cooperation Canada. “Canada’s international development and humanitarian sector has been calling on the Government to commit to a strategic, long-term investment in global solutions to the multiple concurrent crises affecting us everywhere. This Budget missed an opportunity to answer those calls.”
Today was also not the day Canada presented a vision for addressing international climate challenges. Looking forward, the Government must tackle the climate crisis with determination. This means allocating Canada’s fair share of the global climate finance commitments, which corresponds to $1.8 billion in annual contributions, on top of the current international assistance levels. Our global crises cannot be solved in isolation. Climate adaptation and mitigation, humanitarian interventions and development efforts are mutually reinforcing and as such deserve comprehensive and strategic investments that match the severity and the urgency of the crises we are facing everywhere.
Canada has an opportunity to do better later this year at the G7 Summit and the Paris Climate Conference (COP21) with a chance to invest in progressive and principled global development, that is in everyone’s interest. It is time to commit meaningfully to effective efforts to build back healthier, safer, more equitable and sustainable communities for us all.
About Cooperation Canada
Cooperation Canada brings together and advocates for Canada’s international development and humanitarian organizations by convening sector leaders, influencing policy and building capacity. Together, we work with partners both inside and outside Canada to build a world that’s fair, safe and sustainable for all.
by Cooperation Canada | Mar 25, 2021 | News, ODA Advocacy, Policy
In a virtual town hall on foreign policy on March 16, Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole shared his vision for Canada’s engagement on the international stage. Cooperation Canada welcomes his reversal during this event of a Conservative Party election platform policy during the last federal election to cut Canada’s official development assistance (ODA). Canada is already contributing less than its fair share globally: Canada’s ODA levels are below those of other peer countries, currently at their lowest point in 50 years.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic ravages lives, devastates economies and increases inequalities around the globe, Canada has an important role to play in contributing to a global recovery that is inclusive for everyone,” said Nicolas Moyer, CEO of Cooperation Canada. “Canada must do more on the global stage, not less, if we are to see the kind of global recovery that reflects Canada’s values and principles of human rights, equality and inclusive progress.”
As the current crisis shows, our economy is global, our population is multicultural, and we cannot solve global challenges in isolation. Canada will not recover until the world recovers. Mr. O’Toole recognized this and assured Canadians that the Conservative Party’s approach to global engagement would be predictable, strategic and impact-oriented, while enabling civil society actors to support the most marginalized communities through equitable partnerships in Canada and abroad.
We welcome these vital positions shared by Mr. O’Toole, including his pledge to reform the Canada Revenue Agency’s severely outdated ‘direction and control’ regulations, which hinder the ability of Canada’s charitable actors to establish equitable partnerships with communities and actors in Canada and abroad. Senator Ratna Omidvar’s Bill S–222, tabled before the Senate, represents a collectively devised solution to this urgent issue for Canadian charities, including those working internationally.
Under the Together Project, Canada’s international cooperation sector is calling on all parties to commit to long-term increases of ODA and global climate finance mechanisms needed to meet our country’s fair share for global solutions that will benefit us all. More specifically, our sector is asking that 1% of Canada’s COVID-19 response and recovery budget be allocated towards global solutions. We thank the Hon. Erin O’Toole for engaging in a conversation with us and look forward to further discussing these urgent yet strategic investments.
Cooperation Canada with the Business Council of Canada, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Global Affairs Institute, Canadian International Council and Global Canada convened the March 16 Foreign Policy Town Hall discussion with the leader of the Conservative Party.
We look forward to convening similar conversations in the future as we strengthen collective forums for inclusive discussions on key global challenges. As our town hall has demonstrated, the interlinkages between all aspects of Canada’s global engagement, including international trade, diplomacy, development assistance and security, are crucial in solving global challenges.