Implementation Plan: Canada’s Civil Society Partnerships for International Assistance Policy – A Feminist Approach

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Objective 1: Empower women and girls, promote gender equality, and reach the poorest, most vulnerable and most marginalized as the most effective means to eradicate poverty

Recognizing that women and girls are diverse and powerful agents of change, Canada’s partnerships aim to support and build on their strength and innovative contributions to reduce poverty for all. Canada will work with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), including local women’s organizations and other partners, to tackle the root causes of gender inequality and address the systemic discrimination that prevents women and girls from realizing their human rights and reaching their full potential, recognizing that inequalities exist along intersectional lines.

To reduce poverty and ensure sustainable and transformative change, all members of society must be empowered to reach their full potential and exercise their human rights. Greater gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls can deliver strong economic growth, reduce chronic hunger, help cut down extreme poverty, lead to longer-lasting peace, benefit entire families and help empower those who face discrimination. Men and boys must also be engaged in the fight for greater gender equality, take opportunities to advocate and lead by example by respecting the rights and interests of women and girls. Civil society provides a vehicle for the voices of the poorest, most vulnerable and most marginalized–including children and youth, seniors, persons with disabilities, refugees, internally displaced people, Indigenous peoples, religious groups, ethnic communities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, two-spirit and intersex (LGBTQ2I) people–to be heard by their governments and for individuals to hold their leaders to account.

Action area 1.1

Global Affairs Canada will work with CSOs and other partners to empower citizens to participate in and assume ownership of their civil, political, social and economic development and protect and promote their human rights

Key Activities/Milestones

Global Affairs Canada will:

Action area 1.2

Global Affairs Canada will ensure that closing gender gaps and overcoming barriers for women and girls as a means to eradicate poverty and achieve Canada’s feminist international assistance goals are key considerations in the selection of the Department’s partners and program investments and at all stages of the programming process

Key Activities/Milestones

Global Affairs Canada will:

Action area 1.3

CSO partners will ensure that:

  1. Women and girls are consulted and engaged at all stages of program design, implementation and evaluation;
  2. Decisions on project focus respond to their specific inputs; and
  3. Women are actively involved and participate in implementation and decision-making

Key Activities/Milestones

CSOs will:

Action area 1.4

Global Affairs Canada will collaborate with partners to pilot, design, and champion new and innovative ways of working with women’s organizations and movements to advance women’s rights

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Global Affairs Canada will:

Action area 1.5

Global Affairs Canada will support women’s organizations and movements of various sizes, particularly in activities that contribute to raising the leadership, visibility, influence, capacity and access of women and girls in the context of international assistance

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Global Affairs Canada will:

Action area 1.6

Global Affairs Canada will work with CSOs to address the specific challenges women and girls face, including support for the meaningful participation of women, women’s organizations and networks in conflict prevention, conflict resolution, post-conflict state building and preventing and addressing sexual and gender-based violence, as described in Canada’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (C-NAP)

Key Activities/Milestones

Global Affairs Canada will:

Objective 2: Facilitate a safe and enabling environment for civil society

In Canada and other countries, an empowered civil society is a crucial component for championing positive transformative change, including gender equality, inclusion, respect for diversity and human rights, peace and security, and development. The sustainability of international assistance investments, and consequently effective contribution to poverty reduction, depends on the ability of populations to hold governments to account over the long term. For civil society to thrive, it must operate in a safe and enabling environment that promotes inclusive, transparent and accountable institutions, respects human rights and where the rule of law protects and promotes the freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly. Increasingly, it is important that this enabling environment extends from physical to online spaces as well, which are often the locus of public debate and mobilization. Many actors, including governments, have a role to play in creating an enabling environment for civil society to operate effectively and independently. This includes understanding and mitigating the distinct barriers and risks faced by civil society entities, including human rights defenders and women’s, LGBTQ2I, youth and Indigenous organizations and networks.

Action area 2.1

Global Affairs Canada will work, within the scope of the Department’s mandate, to engage a wide array of new, existing and non-traditional Canadian, international and local stakeholders to facilitate an enabling environment for civil society

Key Activities/Milestones

Global Affairs Canada will:

Global Affairs Canada and Civil Society will:

Action area 2.2

Global Affairs Canada will work, within the scope of the Department’s mandate, to facilitate a safe and enabling environment for women’s organizations and women’s rights defenders

Key Activities/Milestones

Global Affairs Canada will:

Action area 2.3

Global Affairs Canada will leverage the full scope of Canada’s diplomatic assets to promote and protect an enabling environment for civil society, particularly for women’s organizations, including through advocacy and public mobilization activities

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Global Affairs Canada will:

Action area 2.4

Global Affairs Canada will take leadership in promoting and protecting an enabling environment for civil society, for example, through its participation in the Community of Democraciesand other forums

Key Activities/Milestones

Global Affairs Canada will:

Global Affairs Canada and Civil Society will:

Action area 2.5

Global Affairs Canada will identify trends and potential areas for positively influencing the enabling environment for civil society as part of its regular country human rights reporting

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Global Affairs Canada will:

Action area 2.6

Global Affairs Canada will work to ensure that the Policy informs other relevant departmental policies and programs

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Objective 3: Protect Human Life and Dignity

Global Affairs Canada’s humanitarian assistance programming aims to save lives, alleviate suffering and maintain the dignity of people affected by conflicts, acute food insecurity and natural disasters by providing principled, timely and needs-based responses. Global Affairs Canada recognizes the need for complementarity between security, humanitarian action and development programming in protracted and complex crises. The Department also recognizes the importance of international humanitarian law and the humanitarian principles of neutrality, impartiality, independence and humanity.

Humanitarian CSOs are an essential element of Canada’s response to humanitarian crises around the world, and women’s organizations play a unique role in addressing the needs and rights of women and children, and their communities, in humanitarian situations.

Action area 3.1

Global Affairs Canada will work with humanitarian CSOs to promote and protect humanitarian principles collectively, and address key humanitarian policy and operational issues, including gender-based violence and sexual and reproductive health and rights

Key Activities/Milestones

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Action area 3.2

Global Affairs Canada will increase the proportion of Canada’s humanitarian assistance that is provided through local and national CSOs, including local women’s organizations, using mechanisms such as country-based pooled funds, in line with Canada’s Grand Bargain commitment to support the “localization” of humanitarian assistance

Key Activities/Milestones

Global Affairs Canada will:

Global Affairs Canada and Civil Society will:

Action area 3.3

Global Affairs Canada will work with humanitarian CSOs to invest in and report on sex and age disaggregated data and analysis to deliver more effective responses to humanitarian crises

Key Activities/Milestones

Global Affairs Canada will:

Action area 3.4

Global Affairs Canada will work with humanitarian CSOs to integrate gender equality and human rights-based approaches in humanitarian assistance to support community preparedness for, and ensure effective responses to, humanitarian crises, while responding to the specific needs of women and girls

Key Activities/Milestones

Global Affairs Canada will:

Action area 3.5

Global Affairs Canada will facilitate capacity building and organizational development and learning among humanitarian partners

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Objective 4: Foster CSO leadership in innovation

Innovation Footnote 1 presents significant opportunities to maximize the impact of Canada’s work in international assistance and advance shared priorities for Global Affairs Canada and its partners. Global Affairs, therefore, seeks to collaborate with Canadian civil society organizations (CSOs) and other key partners to identify and adopt innovative approaches to international assistance, and deliver results more effectively and efficiently, particularly where pressing development challenges would benefit from new or improved innovative solutions. This includes CSOs at the local level, given their important role in generating locally driven, innovative solutions that reflect local priorities and approaches and are, therefore, often most enduring.

Action area 4.1

Global Affairs Canada will work with CSOs and other partners, through programming, to incubate innovative ideas, test promising initiatives, adapt, replicate and scale up those solutions with the potential for widespread impact and effectiveness, while accounting for the gender dimensions of innovations

Key Activities/Milestones

Global Affairs Canada will:

Action area 4.2

Global Affairs Canada will adapt mechanisms to facilitate innovation through modernized business tools and processes with a range of CSO partners

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Global Affairs Canada will:

Action area 4.3

Global Affairs Canada will work with CSOs and other stakeholders to facilitate knowledge-sharing regarding best practices and processes in development innovation, including innovations that are informed by gender analysis

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Objective 5: Integrate the role of CSOs as independent actors into international assistance programming

Global Affairs Canada recognizes CSOs as independentactors that provide resources, expertise and networks that help achieve Canada’s international assistance objectives. Canada understands the importance of considering a diversity of perspectives in international assistance programs and strategies, and is committed to deepening, extending, and operationalizing principles of democratic ownership.

Action area 5.1

Global Affairs Canada will maintain active engagement with diverse Canadian, international and local CSOs, through regular formal and informal policy dialogue to seek their perspectives on Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy

Key Activities/Milestones

Global Affairs Canada will:

Action area 5.2

Global Affairs Canada will support a broad range of CSO partners to ensure a diverse civil society is represented through Canada’s international assistance

Key Activities/Milestones

Global Affairs Canada will:

Global Affairs Canada and CSOs will:

Objective 6: Establish more predictable, equitable, flexible, and transparent funding mechanisms

To support a robust CSO ecosystem, Global Affairs Canada is committed to working with CSOs of diverse size and scale, sector and region to achieve Canada’s international assistance priorities and empower women and girls and promote gender equality. While the Department engages with civil society in many forms, funding is recognized as a component of this engagement.

Global Affairs Canada recognizes the importance of providing a variety of merit-based selection mechanisms to allow for diverse Canadian, international and local CSO partners, to plan and deliver international assistance initiatives. At the same time, Global Affairs Canada encourages CSOs to be financially independent and to seek funding from multiple sources, as this enables them to better secure their own sustainability.

Global Affairs Canada understands that equitable access to a mix of short-, medium-, and long-term funding, appropriate to the context, can enhance the achievement of international assistance outcomes and support a thriving civil society sector.
Global Affairs Canada also recognizes that responsive selection mechanisms and more flexible funding can provide the impetus for innovative approaches, and that CSOs require time and effort to plan their programming.

Action area 6.1

Global Affairs Canada will streamline its international assistance selection processes and design programs that offer equitable and predictable funding opportunities for a variety of CSOs

Key Activities/Milestones

Global Affairs Canada will:

Action area 6.2

Global Affairs Canada will ensure detailed and current information on existing selection mechanisms is available on the Department’s website

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Global Affairs Canada will:

Action area 6.3

Global Affairs Canada will invest in multi-year gender responsive humanitarian funding to increase the ability of our humanitarian partners to respond more efficiently and effectively to humanitarian crises

Key Activities/Milestones

Global Affairs Canada will:

Action area 6.4

Global Affairs Canada will streamline and accelerate procedures related to funding and reporting (including results-based and risk management) to reduce the administrative burden on partners

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Objective 7: Foster multi-stakeholder approaches to international assistance

All relevant actors, including CSOs, the private sector, the research community, multilateral organizations, national governments and other actors (such as Canadian youth and cultural communities), contribute to development in distinct and complementary ways. Global Affairs Canada is committed to supporting multi-stakeholder approaches and seeks to foster effective partnerships among these actors. Global Affairs Canada recognizes the important role that dialogue plays in facilitating mutual respect and accountability, particularly in the context of multi-stakeholder approaches.

Action area 7.1

Global Affairs Canada will work with CSOs to facilitate multi-stakeholder partnerships that build on the comparative strengths of each actor and mobilize partners in pursuit of a common goal, including through engagement in international forums such as the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation

Key Activities/Milestones

Global Affairs Canada will:

Action area 7.2

Global Affairs Canada will work to encourage dialogue and effective collaboration and partnerships between international assistance actors, including multi-stakeholder partnerships

Key Activities/Milestones

Global Affairs Canada will:

Action area 7.3

Global Affairs Canada and Canadian CSOs will draw on their memberships in key multilateral and multi-stakeholder groups to work with a broad range of partners to further Canada’s international assistance priorities

Key Activities/Milestones

Global Affairs Canada will:

Objective 8: Engaging Canadians as global citizens in international assistance

Canadian CSOs are globally recognized leaders for their expertise in the areas of peace and security, humanitarian action and sustainable, transformative development. They also have a unique and positive approach to supporting local CSOs to build capacity and take ownership of their programming and results. Their strong relationships with local CSOs, including women’s organizations, strengthen Canada’s engagement at the community level and enhance Canada’s networks abroad. Global Affairs Canada is committed to engaging with diverse Canadian CSO partners, to build their capacity and maximize the global impact of Canada’s CSO community. Establishing new Canadian CSO partnerships can increase the effectiveness of the Department’s and CSOs’ own international assistance efforts, and ensure that Canada’s investments yield lasting results.

Canadian CSOs play a key role in expressing Canadian values and telling Canada’s feminist international assistance story, which can foster global citizenship, particularly among youth, and help inspire Canadians to engage in transformative action to reduce poverty and overcome gender inequality. CSOs engage Canadians in a broader and deeper understanding of international issues, including promoting global citizenship and mobilizing citizens to participate actively in Canada’s international assistance efforts.

Action area 8.1

Global Affairs Canada will, where appropriate, encourage Canadian CSOs to create pan-Canadian partnerships with global reach that can tackle major development challenges, such as gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls

Key Activities/Milestones

Global Affairs Canada will:

Action area 8.2

Global Affairs Canada will amplify the work of CSO partners to strategically engage Canadians in international assistance through innovative digital technologies and an enhanced online presence

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Global Affairs Canada will:

Action area 8.3

Global Affairs Canada will invest strategically in Canadian CSO public engagement activities, in Canada and abroad, that enhance visibility and raise awareness of Canada’s international assistance results, as well as building citizen engagement and contributions to international assistance efforts

Key Activities/Milestones

Global Affairs Canada will:

Objective 9: Promote sustainability, transparency, accountability, and results

Canada is committed to sustainability, transparency and accountability. Access to comprehensive, timely information about international cooperation facilitates the coordination, monitoring and accountability necessary to achieve sustainable results. Canada is committed to being a model publisher and user of open data regarding its activities and results. It also aims to improve access to information about the activities and results of its CSO partners, including those of the local organizations supported by Canadian CSOs. Global Affairs Canada looks to all of its development partners to uphold similar transparency and accountability standards, and increase the impact of Canada’s development investments.

Action area 9.1

Global Affairs Canada will work to identify opportunities to enhance transparency and accountability, including by publishing information on international assistance activities in accordance with the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) Standard and encouraging the use of IATI data by stakeholders in developing countries

Key Activities/Milestones

Global Affairs Canada will:

CSOs will:

Action area 9.2

Global Affairs Canada will work with CSO partners to establish a plan to implement these transparency and accountability standards, including capacity building

Key Activities/Milestones

Global Affairs Canada will:

CSOs will:

Action area 9.3

Global Affairs Canada will invest in policy research, better data collection, including of sex and age disaggregated data, and monitoring and evaluation approaches for gender equality, building on the experiences and best practices of other countries

Key Activities/Milestones

Global Affairs Canada will:

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