Fourth Edition of Progressing National SDGs Implementation

Fourth Edition of Progressing National SDGs Implementation

“Progressing National SDGs Implementation is the fourth in a regular series of reports commissioned by civil society. The report provides an independent analysis of the 47 English, French, Spanish, Russian and Arabic Voluntary National Review (VNR) reports submitted in 2019 to the UN’s High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).


Prepared by the Canadian Council for International Co-operation, the report identifies ten key pillars that we believe are essential to the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It also recognizes emerging good practice and sets out a range of conclusions and recommendations with respect to how countries can both improve their implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and use the HLPF as an opportunity for mutual peer learning, knowledge exchange and support. Importantly, the review also provides a comparative assessment of how VNR reporting is evolving over time through a comparison of analysis of the VNRs in 2016, 2017 and 2018 with findings for 2019.


This year’s report showcases positive trends with respect to reporting on leaving no one behind and stakeholder engagement. However, it also underlines the continued silence by Member States in Voluntary National Review reports on closing of the civic space and discusses how this impacts the ability of all stakeholders to engage and implement the sustainable development goals.




Humanitarian Discussions, Policy, and Funding

Humanitarian Discussions, Policy, and Funding

HRN Heads of Agencies Meeting

Leaders from members of the Humanitarian Response Network of Canada (HRN) met on September 30th in Montreal at the HRN Heads of Agency Meeting (HoA). This annual event convenes Executive Directors and CEOs of HRN members, their senior humanitarian staff, and Government of Canada representatives to discuss their collective experience in humanitarian response. The meeting contained rich discussions on a variety of topics within the theme of “The role of organisational leadership in strengthening the Canadian humanitarian system”.

The day started off with presentations from leaders on key issues affecting the sector as a whole. Humanitarian policy and funding, charitable regulations, and localization were brought forward as key issues to be tackled by the leaders in the room. A panel discussion was also held to dig deep into the nuances of working in the humanitarian-development-peace nexus, exploring how to uphold the humanitarian principles of impartiality, neutrality, independence, and humanity while integrating more sustainable, long-term, resilience-building, and gender-responsive solutions into responses to protracted crises and conflicts. Following the panel, 29 leaders of Canada’s humanitarian organisations signed a joint statement confirming their commitment to work in an integrated, inclusive and principled approach to enable better collaboration between the humanitarian, development and peace sectors. The statement, a first of its kind made by a group of heads of agencies in Canada, affirms that sustainable solutions for crisis-affected people must be the ultimate objective of all integrated approaches.

The afternoon was focused on organisations themselves, building on the policy and programming focus of the morning discussions. Sessions were held to encourage leaders to think about how to support a more diverse and inclusive sector, and an employer’s responsibility to take all steps reasonably possible to ensure the health, safety, and wellbeing of employees. The day ended with an inspiring keynote speech from Solange Tuyishime, CEO of Elevate International and UNICEF Canada ambassador. Overall the day was full of opportunities for leaders to connect with one another – a unique moment for the sector.


I found the topics quite relevant and believe that there was a lot there that could be taken back to my organization and followed up on. The diversity session was particularly useful for pushing us to think more about inclusion.

Participant feedback

Humanitarian Policy

At the meeting, CCIC presented a review of recent developments in humanitarian policy and funding. Below are the key messages:

After months of consultation through a far-reaching and highly consultative International Assistance Review, Canada launched its new Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP) in June 2017. Humanitarian assistance was integrated within this Policy, grouped alongside health and nutrition and education as part of the “Human Dignity” action area.

Yet while humanitarian assistance was in some sense subsumed within the FIAP framework, it stood out in terms of implementation. Some two years later, in April 2019, Canada launched its Policy on Gender Equality in Humanitarian Action as the first of a set of policies on each of the action areas in the FIAP.

The story behind the leadership of the humanitarian sector in FIAP implementation is one of civil society engagement. At the end of 2017, as soon as the government announced that it would develop a suite of policies to guide the FIAP, the Humanitarian Policy and Advocacy Group at the Canadian Council for International Co-operation prepared a substantial and comprehensive joint submission proposing principles and activities for a feminist humanitarian policy. This followed up on the longstanding civil society ask for a defined Canadian humanitarian policy – something that, in the context of the FIAP, Global Affairs Canada (GAC) appeared prepared to deliver. In its submission, the humanitarian sector asked for an emphasis on an intersectional approach to humanitarian assistance that recognizes the nexus between humanitarian response, development, and peacebuilding.

After more than a year of back-and-forth between ministerial and bureaucratic staff at GAC, the humanitarian team there reached out in early 2019 to the Humanitarian Policy and Advocacy Group and the Humanitarian Response Network of Canada for input on a draft humanitarian policy. The humanitarian sector gave substantial feedback, noting opportunities to enhance rights-based language, clarify the scope, and strengthen the focus on intersectional nexus programming.

This feedback was quite well reflected in the final version of the policy presented at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings in April 2019. The Humanitarian Policy and Advocacy Group made a joint statement in response to the launch.

As the strong commitments in the FIAP and the humanitarian policy are further implemented through internal guidance and plan, these should be developed jointly by GAC and civil society and informed by both policy and practice.


Humanitarian Funding

The change in Canadian humanitarian policy coincides with changes in Canadian humanitarian funding. These trends are presented in a new analysis from CCIC that was presented to the Humanitarian Response Network at the Heads of Agencies meeting and is now being shared publicly.

Please read this analysis here:  Humanitarian Spending 2019




 Aislynn Row is the Coordinator of the Humanitarian Response Network of Canada.



Gavin Charles is the Policy Team Lead at the Canadian Council for International Co-operation.

Cooperation Canada Releases Recommendations to Improve the Regulatory and Legislative Framework for Canada’s Charitable Sector

Cooperation Canada Releases Recommendations to Improve the Regulatory and Legislative Framework for Canada’s Charitable Sector

Ottawa, ON (15 OCT 2019) – Cooperation Canada released a policy brief today showing that Canadian charities working internationally are governed by a set of provisions that restrict their ability to partner effectively in the delivery of their charitable mandate. Titled “Directed Charities and Controlled Partnerships,” the brief examines two regulatory and legislative elements: “direction and control” provisions and anti-terror legislation.

To download the full brief, visit Cooperation Canada’s web site here: Directed Charities and Controlled Partnerships

The brief includes recommendations that are informed by a literature review, a survey of Canadian charities, and comparative research including interviews with national charity coalitions from other high-income countries. Cooperation Canada also provides recommendations for how the Government of Canada can improve the regulatory and legislative framework for Canada’s charitable sector.

This analysis provides a unique perspective on this issue specific to the international cooperation sector. It includes input from the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) which collaborated on the section concerning anti-terrorism legislation.

This policy brief was produced with the financial support of the Muttart Foundation.


Canadian charities working internationally are required to exercise an extremely high level of operational control in their work. Unfortunately, this can undermine principles of effective development and good partnership. Fortunately, there are ways to improve, and we can draw on the experience of other countries and the expertise within Canada’s charitable sector.

Gavin Charles

Policy Team Lead, Cooperation Canada

Canadians expect humanitarian organizations to provide essential and live-saving support wherever it is needed, but they are being hindered in their work, despite their best efforts, by vague, broad and unnecessary anti-terrorism laws that do more to put people at risk than prevent violent crimes. Future governments should take decisive action to fix these troubling laws.

Tim McSorley

National Coordinator, International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group

Canada’s “direction and control” provisions governing Canadian charities are unusual and unique among peer countries. These rules impose a high transaction cost to Canadian funding to projects around the globe and undermine partnership relations with others. We invite the Government of Canada to engage in dialogue and consultation with Canadian charities working internationally to ensure its policy on oversight of charitable resources reflects Canada’s commitments to partnership and localization in development cooperation and humanitarian assistance.

Nicolas Moyer

President and CEO , Cooperation Canada


  • In 2016, Cooperation Canada (then CCIC) made a submission to the Canadian Revenue Agency’s consultation on charities’ political activities. The report is titled “Modern Charities, Ancient Policies: Public policy and Canada’s development sector” and available here.
  • In September 2018, Cooperation Canada made an oral testimony as part of the consultations in Advance of the 2019 Budget. One of the themes covered was the key role charities play in both the economic and societal success of Canada. The testimony is available here.
  • In May 2019, Cooperation Canada made a submission with a list of recommendations to the Senate’s study on the charitable sector. The document is available here.

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About Cooperation Canada: Since 1968, Cooperation Canada (formerly known as the Canadian Council for International Cooperation) has brought together more than 90 organizations working in the international development and humanitarian sector. Cooperation Canada is an advocate for these groups by convening sector leaders, influencing policy and building capacity. Together, Cooperation Canada works with partners inside and outside Canada to build a world that’s fair, safe, and sustainable for all.  To learn more, visit


Media Contact:

Kat Guerin Communications Manager

Phone: (613) 241-7007 ext. 343 

APG Annual Report 2018-2019

APG Annual Report 2018-2019

APG 2018-2019 Annual Report


It has been an amazing year for the Americas Policy Group (APG) and its members. As such, we are proud to present the APG 2018-2019 Annual Report highlighting the work of its 29 members. It includes the group’s main activities, list of members and financial report.


Among all the milestones that we have reached, we can highlight the following collective work of the APG:


Government relations & policy advocacy:

  • Ongoing monitoring, policy recommendations and advocacy for sustainable development, human rights and social justice in Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Colombia and Haiti;
  • Held eight (8) consultation and briefing meetings with Global Affairs Canada’s Americas Branch and its North America, Central America, Latin America & Caribbean Bureaux;
  • Held four (4) briefing meetings with diplomatic representatives from Canadian missions in Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru & Bolivia while in Canada;
  • Guatemala: sent a letter of concerns to Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs regarding the alarming government’s withdrawal of the UN International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and on the disturbing escalation of assassination of land and human rights defenders;
  • Honduras: denounced the situation of prisoners and human rights crisis in Honduras;
  • Mexico: participated in consultation with Global Affairs Canada’s North America Strategy Bureau regarding the “Canada-Mexico Human Rights Bilateral Dialogue” for the upcoming 3rd edition to be held in Ottawa in 2019. Recommendations include proposals to increase Mexican CSOs participation in the process. Click here to read the APG 2019 recommendations;
  • Colombia: engaged with Global Affairs Canada’s South American bureau and strongly recommended for the reform of the “Canada-Colombia FTA Human Rights Report” ;
  • Haiti: participated with AQOCI on a regional forum on Haiti to enhance greater coordination with the APG on policy and advocacy. Held an introduction meeting with GAC’s Haiti division;
  • Facilitated the APG perspective to Global Affairs Canada ongoing consultation on its “Voices at Risk –Canada’s Guidelines on Supporting Human Rights Defenders”.

Parliamentary relations

  • Hosted a roundtable with Members of Parliament of the Canadian section of ParlAmericas and Women land defenders resisting extractivism in Latin America.
  • APG co-chair, Steve Stewart, testified at the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration as an expert witness on migration in Latin America. Listen testimony here or Read transcript here.

Member-led Annual Meeting & Activities

  • Held its general meeting in Montreal, attended by 35 participants from 25 organizations;
  • Launched a new subgroup on Haiti;
  • Supported the launch of the training manual “Implementing a Human Rights Based Approach” with CCIC and Equitas.

Sector-wide campaign


Click here to download the APG 2018-2019 Annual Report.


Thank you for your continued support and engagement!


CCIC Regional Working Group Coordination Team.

ACF Annual Report 2018-2019

ACF Annual Report 2018-2019

It has been an amazing year for the Africa-Canada Forum and its members. As such, we are proud to present the ACF 2018-2019 Annual Report highlighting the work of its 42 members. It includes the group’s main activities, list of members and financial report.


Among all the milestones that we have reached, we can highlight the following collective work of the ACF:


Academics Collaborations & Learning activities:

Member-led Annual Meeting:

  • Organized the Annual General Meeting, with 49 people from 34 organizations. Key presentations focused on the situation of Human Rights defenders, in particular the rise of attacks targeting feminists and LGBTQI+ communities in Africa; and on the challenges in the field and at home of working in fragile and conflict-affected contexts.


Government relations & policy advocacy:

  • Organized the highly successful Joint Dialogue between the Africa-Canada Forum Dialogue and Global Affairs Canada, with the participation of 90 people, including 45 ACF members. The main goal of these exchanges is to create a space where ACF and GAC can discuss and collaborate on issues related to Africa, leveraging expertise on both sides. A joint ACF-GAC report was published following the dialogue. Download the report here.

Sector-wide campaign


Click here to download the ACF 2018-2019 Annual Report.


Thank you for your continued support and engagement!

CCIC Regional Working Group Coordination Team.

APWG 2018-2019 Annual Report

APWG 2018-2019 Annual Report


It has been an amazing year for the Asia-Pacific Working Group and its members. As such, we are proud to present the APWG 2018-2019 Annual Report to its 24 members. It includes the group’s main activities, list of members and financial report. 

Among all the milestones that we have reached, we can highlight the following collective work of APWG:


 Academic collaborations & learning activities

  • Launched collaborative research between the APWG-Philippines subgroups and the University of Toronto;
  • Held the documentary screening and panel discussion “Five Years After the Storm: The Humanitarian-Development Nexus in Practice”, in partnership with Development & Peace, and the CICC-CASID Next Generation Program;
  • In collaboration with the CCIC-CASID Next Gen program, held a joint learning event on “Humanitarian Aid & Development in Palestine”;


Government relations & policy advocacy:

  • Ongoing policy recommendations and advocacy regarding the deterioration of human rights in the Philippines and the rise of extra-judicial killings and militarisation of the country;
  • Ongoing discussions with GAC’s Asia-Pacific Branch and its Southeast Asia bureau to determine the framework and themes for the upcoming APWG-GAC Joint Dialogue scheduled for June 25 & 26 2019;


Sector-wide campaign

  • Actively supported the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability and the campaign calling for the creation of an independent human rights Ombudsperson for Canada’s international extractive sector.


Click here to download the APWG 2018-2019 Annual Report.