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2018 Conference - Concept Note

Canadian Association of International Development Professionals (CAIDP) in collaboration with the Canadian Council of International Law (CCIL) is proud to present:

Concept Note


A new international agenda for Canada

In mid-2017, Canada announced its new foreign policy priorities in diplomacy and defence, in trade and in international development. Together these policies set out Canada's international position. Rather than turning inward in the face of turbulent times, this government is signalling an urgency to step up and address the strains on multilateralism. How will this new commitment to “Canadian liberalism” on the world stage look? And how should development and legal and human rights practitioners like us prepare to engage in the new vision?

An invitation to understand the new policy landscape

Our conference is set for January 22nd and 23rd 2018 in Ottawa, and is entitled, “Gender Equality, Inclusive Governance and the Law: Aligned for a Better World”. CAIDP and CCIL are pleased to bring together policy makers, international law and development practitioners, and academics to hear the latest, discuss implications and make professional connections. Our collaboration is a first for the two constituencies. It emerges from our common interest in Canadian foreign policy and shared understanding of the importance of governance and the rule of law for achieving a better world.

The ink is barely dry the new priorities and the strategies elaborating on the policies are still to come. It is therefore an opportune time for Canadian practitioners from our two constituencies to become attuned to the policy and programming developments and to take advantage of the participation of Global Affairs Canada and international representatives to enhance dialogue around these issues before the new strategies are finalized.

Unpacking the new Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP)

The FIAP will be a focus for our discussion. In her introduction of this policy, Minister Freeland asserted, “Peace and prosperity are every person’s birthright. Today, as Canadians, we have a great opportunity to help the people of the world’s developing countries join the global middle class and the multilateral system that supports it”. With FIAP, Canada intends to address power imbalances including gender inequality and, at the same time, deliver pro-poor growth-oriented policies and laws that can be upheld. Policy objectives include:

  • Helping advance women’s leadership and decision making in governance and public sector management at all levels.
  • Helping strengthen legal systems and promoting reforms that eliminate all forms of discrimination against women and girls.
  • Improving access to justice for women and girls.
  • Supporting the protection of women’s human rights defenders.
  • Support the efforts and capacity of governments at all levels to ensure public services respond better to the needs and potential of women and girls.

In the texts of the new foreign policy priorities, including FIAP, the authors evoke Canada’s post war history of middle power activism. They talk about strengthening the multilateral order - the rules, systems and global institutions that previous Canadian administrations played a part in creating. Minister Freeland states, “this system had at its heart the core notions of territorial integrity, human rights, democracy, respect for the rule of law, and an aspiration to free and friendly trade.” What comes through in the speeches is that Canada is seeking ways to accommodate rapidly emerging economies into what it calls the global middle class and to come to grips with the global challenges of climate change, inequality and conflict, as well as to the mass migrations that too often result.

Understanding Canadian intentions in the global context

Our discussions will draw on other sources too, including the 2017 World Bank World Development Report: Governance and the Law which underscores a growing international consensus on how power imbalances interfere with policy effectiveness and enforcement. The Report calls for renewed efforts to support state and non-state governance actors to better work together to develop and apply inclusive policies. It further calls for rethinking principles of governance for effective development and highlights drivers of change in advocating inclusive governance for development. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) particularly those that feature Gender Equality, inclusive governance and the rule of law will also serve as a reference when discussing alignment of Canada’s new priorities this international consensus.

A Conference Program in the Making…

Our program will emerge in the days ahead. CAIDP and CCIL are busy searching their networks for content ideas and accomplished speakers. The combination of keynotes and workshop presenters will cover four areas of exploration:

  1. Governance models as drivers of development;
  2. Canada's Feminist Approach to International Assistance;
  3. Practical Skills and Tools for development and international law professionals including those for networking, performance management, and managing security; and
  4. Partnering and financing with Global Affairs Canada, the Multilateral System and Development Banks and others to help you to target and market your services.

Outside of the plenary and workshop sessions, you will have a chance to meet face to face with leaders in government, civil society and the private sector. As we move closer to the Conference, the names of resource people will be posted along with meeting times. As well, we will make it as easy as possible for you to meet fellow conference participants.  We want each of you to go away enriched with insight and with new contacts.

Registration is now open! 

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