Thursday, June 3, 2010

CCIC -- CIDA defunding news release

Canada's Foreign Aid Community Risks Losing Strong Voice for World's


Attached and below is a news release from the Canadian Council for International Cooperation stating that CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) is in process to discontinue financial support to the Council. As the coordinating body and voice of Canadian civil society engaged in international development, CCIC has received funding from CIDA over a period of 42 years, from the time when both organizations were created. This support has been a symbol of the cooperation between government and civil society, even when there are differences in views from time to time. Its termination sadly represents a hit at the democratic space for intelligent discourse on Canada's role in global development. As a former Executive Director of CCIC, I am deeply troubled about the direction signaled by this and
similar actions taken by our government for apparently purely political reasons. It not only lowers the level of public discussion and engagement in our country but diminishes Canada's contribution to the
elimination of poverty in the South.

Please share this news release with others and I apologize for any cross-posting.

Richard Harmston
South Asia Partnership Canada
1 Nicholas Street, Suite 1210
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 7B7 Canada
Tel (1) 613 241 1333
Fax (1) 613 244 3410

News Release
For Immediate Release - June 1, 2010

CIDA Funding to CCIC Threatened

Canada's Foreign Aid Community Risks Losing Strong Voice for World's

CIDA funding to the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC), Canada's pre-eminent coalition to end global poverty, is in doubt. A critical and well-respected voice for the world's poor risks being silenced if funding to CCIC is cut off.

CCIC's three-year contract with CIDA ended on March 31, 2010. Two months into a three-month temporary extension of CCIC's contract and no word yet from CIDA on the contract's renewal. In July, CCIC will start operating with no CIDA funds.

"Unfortunately, it's hard not to see de-funding as yet another example of the 'political chill' message this government has been sending to the development community," says Gerry Barr CCIC's President and CEO. "What
we're experiencing here is punishment politics. Speak out against government policy and risk losing your funding."

CCIC has a long history of development work and CIDA funding and collaboration. Established in 1968, CCIC has been monitoring and analyzing federal policies on foreign affairs, aid, trade and peacebuilding. CCIC regroups approximately 90 Canadian non-profit organizations working both in Canada and overseas. Among them are religious and secular development groups, professional associations,
co-operatives, labour unions and groups devoted to literacy, education and youth.

CCIC has given notice of layoff to all but 8 staff and has taken steps to liquidate its resources, including selling its office space, in order to meet costs associated with severance and near-term operations.

"This is extremely disappointing news," says Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. "De-funding CCIC would mean
that the government is shutting down diversity. Without a diversity of voices you will have weakly-debated public policy increasing the likelihood of bad public policy."

"This would be a loss to the development community," says Jim Cornelius Executive Director of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank and CCIC member. "CCIC is a strong advocate for the world's poor. Here in Canada, the development community looks to CCIC for leadership on issues of trade, aid and humanitarian assistance.'

"We call on CIDA to continue its support for CCIC," says Robert Fox, Executive Director of Oxfam Canada and a CCIC member. "CCIC is exactly
the type of organization CIDA should fund. Aid policies and programs will suffer if CCIC is not doing what it does best - analyze, critique and advocate for the world's poor."

Gerry Barr, Alex Neve, Jim Cornelius, Robert Fox and CCIC's Chair of the Board Karen Takacs are all available for interviews.

For more information contact:

Katia Gianneschi
Media Relations
Canadian Council for International Co-operation
613-241-7007 ext. 311

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