Cooperation Canada at the Forus General Assembly Meeting in Gaborone

Cooperation Canada at the Forus General Assembly Meeting in Gaborone

From May 13th to May 17th, 2024, Cooperation Canada participated in the Forus General Assembly meetings in Gaborone, Botswana. Forus is the primary international network exclusively federating national and regional CSO networks, of which Cooperation Canada has been a member for five years. Recently, Cooperation Canada joined the Forus council, becoming one of 15 organizations tasked with shaping the strategic direction of this network, which represents over 22,000 organizations across Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America, and the Pacific.

The General Assembly brought together over 90 regional and national platform representatives to connect, collaborate, strategize together, reflect on past activities and plan for the future.

The week was dedicated to important discussions around localization, shrinking civic space, receding democracy, elections, the 2030 Agenda, digitalization and artificial intelligence, inclusive leadership, and the future of global cooperation.

In discussions on locally-led development, participants explored how Global North and Global Majority actors can collaborate to strengthen linkages and promote effective interventions. Strategies discussed to empower local organizations included enhancing leadership capacity, financial autonomy, and independence, while ensuring that CSO leaders can stand firm and dictate the terms of their partnerships rather than being mere rule takers.

On the issue of shrinking civic space, the conversation revolved around the identity crisis many civil society organizations face globally due to receding democracy, repression of rights and freedoms, and changing values. The group discussed the growing disillusionment vis à vis with democracy and electoral disenchantment worldwide and questioned the effectiveness and resilience of the current global governance system.

The collective identified several specific challenges, such as the rise of multiple concurrent crises, reductions in funding, the spread of misinformation and disinformation, and a general decline in trust in institutions.

To address these issues, the group underscored the importance of educational initiatives and the creation of reflective spaces. They highlighted the need for online pedagogical training programs in resource mobilization, digital literacy, policy engagement, crisis management, resilience-building, future preparedness, as well as robust knowledge-sharing platforms as essential tools. These initiatives were deemed crucial for equipping CSOs with the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate these challenges, improve their advocacy strategies, and ensure the sustainability of their operations.

The General Assembly concluded with a plenary session on the future of global cooperation, led by Cooperation Canada’s Research and Program Officer, Andy Ouédraogo. Andy presented the results of the Futures Initiative and facilitated a panel discussion with five leaders of regional and national CSO platforms from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Pacific. Panelists discussed the major drivers of change and potential disruptors identified in the project and provided insights on emerging issues in their respective regions.

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.

Empowering Communities: ACTED Canada’s Triple Nexus Approach in Afghanistan

Empowering Communities: ACTED Canada’s Triple Nexus Approach in Afghanistan

This story is part of Cooperation Canada’s Triple Nexus Spotlight Series

 

ACTED Canada, as part of a global network, is dedicated to a unique approach known as ‘Triple Nexus.’ This approach combines three critical areas: humanitarian aid, development initiatives, and peace-building efforts. The goal is to create sustainable and impactful programs in challenging environments. ACTED’s commitment is reflected in its 3ZERO vision, which aims for Zero Exclusion, Zero Carbon, and Zero Poverty. This vision underlines our dedication to inclusive and sustainable development and maintaining peace. By working closely with Canadian and international partners, ACTED Canada plays a significant role in advancing the Triple Nexus approach globally. 

 

AGORA’s Role in Implementing the Triple Nexus 

 AGORA, a strategy developed by ACTED, is central to implementing the Triple Nexus approach effectively. It is an area-based method that focuses on integrating local knowledge and needs into program planning and execution. This involves identifying local areas, engaging community members to understand their needs, and then addressing these needs in a way that fits the local context. AGORA helps ACTED effectively respond to immediate humanitarian crises, support long-term development, and contribute to peacebuilding in areas with complex challenges. 

 

Case Study: Sustainable Rural Development in Afghanistan 

 In Afghanistan, AGORA’s implementation within the Triple Nexus framework was critical in creating sustainable, peaceful communities. Focusing on local areas known as “manteqas,” the program integrated humanitarian aid with development and peacebuilding efforts. For example, in agricultural improvement projects, AGORA ensured that the initiatives addressed not just food insecurity but also contributed to managing conflicts related to resources. This holistic approach was vital in addressing immediate needs and building long-term resilience. 

 

Challenges and Lessons from the Triple Nexus Implementation 

 Although highly effective, the application of a Triple Nexus approach through AGORA in Afghanistan highlighted several challenges: 

  1. Inclusive Engagement: Engaging diverse and marginalized groups in decision-making was complex, often impacted by cultural and societal barriers. This is amplified when working across the development, humanitarian, and peace sector.  
  2. Balancing Immediate and Long-term Needs: It was challenging to manage resources effectively for immediate humanitarian needs while also focusing on long-term development and peacebuilding. 
  3. Adapting to Security Situations: The evolving security scenarios in Afghanistan required constant adaptation of interventions. 

These challenges emphasize the need for strategies that are adaptable, context-sensitive, and heavily involve the community for effective implementation. 

 

Broader Implications for a Triple Nexus Approach 

 The success of the Sustainable Rural Development Program in Afghanistan serves as a testament to the effectiveness of a Triple Nexus approach. It demonstrates how approaches that are participatory and localized can address complex challenges encompassing humanitarian aid, development, and peacebuilding. This case study provides a blueprint for applying similar strategies in other complex environments. 

 

Conclusion 

 ACTED Canada’s application of the AGORA methodology in Afghanistan is a prime example of the innovative and transformative potential of the Triple Nexus approach. Their work goes beyond addressing immediate needs; it sets the foundation for a future that is resilient, peaceful, and sustainable. This approach can serve as a model for integrated development efforts across the globe. 

 

 

This piece is authored by Aaron Brown, Project Development Officer, Acted Canada 

Statement on Canada’s Support for a Humanitarian Ceasefire in Gaza

Statement on Canada’s Support for a Humanitarian Ceasefire in Gaza

Cooperation Canada welcomes Canada’s support on 12 December 2023 of a UN General Assembly resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza. We stand alongside other Canadian organizations, including several Cooperation Canada members, who have been calling tirelessly for the protection of civilians and upholding of legal and humanitarian obligations. 

Since the horrific Hamas-perpetrated attacks on 7 October 2023 that claimed the lives of 1,200 largely Israeli civilians and led to the abduction of over two hundred persons, many of whom continue to be held hostage, Cooperation Canada has been observing the escalation of conflict, onslaught on civilians, breakdown of humanitarian systems, and profound disrespect for both international law and international humanitarian law in Gaza, West Bank and Israel. Based on United Nations data from 11 December 2023, there have been over 18,000 casualties in Gaza, with additional reported injuries amounting to nearly 50,000, and almost 1.9 million people, or nearly 85 percent of the population, are estimated to be internally displaced. It is estimated that approximately 70 percent of casualties consist of women and children. There has also been an escalation of violence in the West Bank. 

The change in Canada’s position in favor of a ceasefire sends a strong message to the international community that bilateral relationships cannot and should not supersede international humanitarian law and international human rights law. More importantly, it means a chance at life for women, children, and young people living in catastrophic conditions. While the humanitarian pause of 24-30 November 2023 allowed an increase in the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza, indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas and infrastructure resumed quickly thereafter. This resumption of violence strongly suggests that a long-term ceasefire is needed to prevent the continued mass tragedy suffered by the Palestinian civilians.   

To reiterate our statement issued on 13 October 2023, we recognize the Government of Canada’s funding for humanitarian assistance to address urgent needs stemming from the crisis in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Israel and neighbouring areas. While humanitarian organizations can now expect to soon resume their work to rescue, care for, and save human lives, Canada should continue to engage diplomatically to ensure a sustainable ceasefire and lasting peace in Gaza, West Bank and Israel. 

Launch of the Global Humanitarian Context: A Landscape Analysis

Launch of the Global Humanitarian Context: A Landscape Analysis

The Humanitarian Response Network of Canada (HRN), Nexus Cooperation and Cooperation Canada are proud to launch The Global Humanitarian Context, a new report providing a landscape analysis to better understand the dynamic humanitarian context shaping the operations of Canadian organizations. 

As humanitarian needs around the world have been increasing significantly over the past years, this landscape analysis seeks to offer vital insights into the challenges and opportunities facing Canadian humanitarian organizations, highlighting the importance of adaptation, innovation, sustainable financing, and a commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, and justice in responding to evolving global crises and making a meaningful impact on those in need. To facilitate Canadian humanitarian organizations’ initiatives and strategic programming, this analysis concludes by presenting a comprehensive roster of humanitarian networks they can actively engage with and learn from. 

Second Meeting of the Global Cooperation Futures Initiative’s Strategic Advisory Committee

Second Meeting of the Global Cooperation Futures Initiative’s Strategic Advisory Committee

Our latest gathering of the Strategic Advisory Committee for the Futures Initiative was convened on October 11th, 2023, to deliberate on the project’s progress, discuss challenges and opportunities, as well as provide feedback on the project’s deliverables. This group plays a critical role in guiding Cooperation Canada’s research team and advising on the project’s strategic orientations including project’s process, development, and implementation. The meeting was the opportunity for the project lead, Andy Ouedraogo, to review the project’s goals and methodology, revisit the structure, and present the achievements.

The committee’s structure, mission, and objectives were revisited leading to a major decision to consolidate the two governance bodies into one to maximize efficiency. The Committee agreed to absorb the Core Advisory Group, a subset of the Strategic Advisory Committee which mandate was to provide guidance on projects inputs and outputs. With this mandate now sitting under the Strategic Advisory Committee, the number of meetings will increase from 3 to 5 throughout the lifespan of the Futures Initiative.

The committee members also engaged in discussions around the milestones reached since the inaugural meeting. Accomplishments include research activities such as focus group discussions, an environmental scan report, as well as Canadian and Global workshops. The environmental scan provided a global inventory of events and trends in development cooperation and is informing our foresight processes. A workshop was organized with the Humanitarian Response Network (HRN), a coalition of Canadian organizations working in the Humanitarian sector, to understand growing signals of change and emerging challenges. Similarly, we have rolled out five regional dialogues in Africa, Asia, the Caribbeans, Latin America and the Middle East and North Africa regions to survey civil society actors on emerging issues, signals of change, priorities as well as their vision of the future of development cooperation. A reflection piece on the latter will be published in the coming weeks so stay tuned.

The Committee provided constructive feedback on the environmental scan undertaken as part of the project’s research activities, with recommendations on how best to improve its structure and ensure that the report remains both relevant and innovative. The meeting concluded with mentions of what is to come, with action items set forth.