Letter From The Executive Director - December 2019
A message from Jennifer Sloot, ACIC executive director:
Dear ACIC members, friends, and partners,
A warm greeting to you as we move from a productive and eventful fall into winter!
Throughout the fall, ACIC and ICN staff here in the Halifax office have been heavily involved in finalizing our new contribution agreement with Global Affairs Canada, including receiving financial training from GAC on new government reporting policies and fine-tuning our project implementation plan (PIP) and the associated performance management framework (PMF).
With these frameworks in place, ACIC plans to measure new indicators and meet new targets in our work, including a renewed and reinvigorated focus on youth and Indigenous groups in the Atlantic. We will also work closely with the Inter-council Network and other provincial and regional councils to support small and medium organizations (SMO) through the FIT and SPUR programs.
During this time, we’ve also been busy planning and hosting some of our annual, member-driven events. In early October, over 40 ACIC members convened in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, for a Symposium entitled “Gender Equality: the Power of Storytelling to Build Relationships and Collaboration.” Members enjoyed a keynote speech from Sister Lissy Chacko of the Good Shepherd Sisters, Bangalore, who was invited to Canada by our member Chalice making use of ACIC’s Southern Speakers Fund.
Over the two days of the Symposium, members received training through capacity building workshops around the theme of gender equality, ranging from Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy to Understanding Sex Work and Sex Workers’ Needs to supporting refugee women and girls in Canadian models of sponsorship and resettlement.
Board and Staff Retreat
After the Symposium, ACIC board and staff members met for a day-and-a-half retreat in St. John’s to build capacity and to discuss updates to policy, including revising the membership strategy and application process. Staff gave updates on their work, board members delivered reports and commented on the status of several committees, and longer-standing board members had a chance to meet and form connections with newer ACIC staff in a collaborative environment.
Adoption of new PSEA Policy
Notably, ACIC’s staff and board have been developing policy to meet new requirements set out by Global Affairs Canada around the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA), and during October’s board meeting, our new sexual violence policy was approved and adopted. Meeting and responding to national standards on PSEA is part of ACIC’s ongoing commitment to gender equality, and safe workplaces and international volunteer & work experiences for staff and participants alike.
A4GC Youth Conference
A month later, in early November, nearly 40 youth gathered at the Tatamagouche Centre in Nova Scotia for the ACT 4 Global Change Youth Conference, a popular annual event for ACIC’s youth network where high school-aged youth convene to learn about social and climate justice and sustainable futures.
This year, new funding has allowed ACIC to hire year-round provincial coordinators for all four Atlantic provinces. While many of you may have heard from these staff already, we’re thrilled to introduce: Sam E. Morton, Newfoundland and Labrador; Martine Panzica, Nova Scotia; Ross Kinney, New Brunswick; and (reintroduce) Selvi Roy, Prince Edward Island. These four provincial coordinators have been busy from August and September onward, and we’re especially thankful to Sam Morton for her hands-on help in organizing the Symposium in St. John’s.
International Development Week 2020
Looking forward to the New Year, February 2nd-8th will mark the 30th anniversary of International Development Week, which ACIC takes a leadership role in organizing alongside our members and partners in the region. A planning committee made up of ACIC staff and members has been meeting regularly to organize efforts leading up to the week-long celebration of the impact that Canadians are having in the international cooperation sector, and ACIC will join the seven other provincial and regional Councils in a coordinated, country-wide live event on February 6th . Details of the event—on which Global Affairs Canada is taking the lead—and calls for members’ participation will be made public in the coming weeks.
ACIC part of Beijing+25 CSO Advisory Committee
Every year, representatives of Member States, United Nations entities and non-governmental organizations gather at United Nations Headquarters in New York for the Commission’s annual session. The session provides an opportunity to review progress towards gender equality and the empowerment of women, identify challenges, set global standards and norms and formulate policies to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide.
As well as being part of the Beijing + 25 CSO advisory working group, ACIC nominated a youth in our network, Katherine Dibbon, who was selected to be part of the Beijing+25 Youth Task Force.
Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC) Summit
On November 27-28, 2019, the first-ever Summit on Canada’s Global Leadership brought together policy leaders from all sub-sectors of Canada’s foreign policy. In the Fall 2019 post-election context, this Summit provided an opportunity to understand where Canada stands at the nexus of international trade, security, diplomacy, development and humanitarian assistance and set the stage for building a comprehensive foreign policy for the future.
ACIC joined more than 500 people from across the country at this event, which provided for interesting dialogue with top-notch speakers, and a variety of workshops and networking events.
Task Force on Improving Effectiveness (TaFIE)
ACIC recently joined the Task Force on Improving Effectiveness (TaFIE), which was created in response to the feedback received by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) during the International Assistance Review that measures needed to be taken to streamline how GAC operates and engages with partners. The role of the TaFIE is to examine ways to simplify and streamline the processes and mechanisms, which guide how GAC and partners work together to deliver international assistance programming and advance the objectives of the Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Task Force on Improving Effectiveness is composed of two distinct bodies with representatives from Global Affairs Canada and partner organizations, the steering committee and solutions teams. TaFIE most recently recruited interested parties to join two new solutions teams – the Solution Team on Monitoring and the Solution Team on Evaluations.
Global Affairs Canada (GAC) dialogue
On November 29, 2019, ACIC participated in the annual GAC-led dialogue. The theme for this year was civic space and the civil society enabling environment in Canada and globally. The dialogue offered an opportunity to learn about Canada’s efforts globally and engage with Global Affairs Canada on the implementation of Canada’s Policy for Civil Society Partnerships for International Assistance. Much progress has been made to operationalize this policy, including through the Civil Society Policy Advisory Group. There was interesting discussion on how Canada and its partners can address closing civic space globally and the next steps as the implementation of Canada’s policy for civil society partnerships continues.
With our new contribution agreement and five-year plan, ACIC, since June, has taken on a leadership role as host council of the Inter-Council Network (ICN). We are excited to be working with the eight provincial and regional councils to undertake this important work, which consists of advocacy, capacity building, youth engagement and thought leadership.
Edmonton Face-to-face meeting
In mid-November, the eight executive directors of the ICN met for its second face-to-face meeting, this time in Edmonton in advance of the ICN-led Spur Change National Conference. The ICN comes together to meet regularly as a way to deepen connections between councils, to collaborate on joint activities and to support the planning and implementation of ICN programming.
Spur Change Conference
This two-day, interactive, bilingual national conference took place from 20 to 22 November 2019 in Edmonton, Alberta.
In order to reinforce the capacity of SMOs and educators, the Spur Change national conference convened over 130 representatives of SMOs, as well as educators, from coast-to-coast-to-coast. Participants learned from experts, and shared expertise, approaches and good practices for inclusive, gender transformative, sustainable development; to identify and form partnerships; and strengthen the sector’s collective work to more effectively engage all Canadians as global citizens.
There were a number of delegates from Atlantic Canada, including representatives of small and medium organizations, teachers and youth. It was a wonderful opportunity to connect with educators and civil society from across the county to learn and build relationships.
Fund for Innovation and Transformation RFP
The Fund for Innovation and Transformation (FIT) is currently open to applications from small and medium organizations (SMO) for its second Concept Note intake. Submissions are due January 9th, 2020 at 12 noon CST. Eligibility criteria and more information about the application process can be found at www.fit-fit.ca.
Youth Delegation to CSW64 / Beijing+25
Every year, representatives of Member States, United Nations entities and non-governmental organizations gather at United Nations Headquarters in New York for the Commission’s annual session.
In March 2020, the ICN will be sending youth delegates, with one selected by each council, to represent young Canadians in development at the session. The call for delegates will be shared from the ICN in the coming weeks.
Hiring new Policy Officer
The ICN is seeking a part-time Policy Officer (bilingual preferred) to be based in the Halifax Office of the Atlantic Council for International Cooperation. The ideal candidate will have expertise in policy analysis, international development, and be equipped to take a lead on providing research and analysis of ICN priority areas.