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CANADIAN CATHOLIC ORGANIZATION FOR DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE: Report to the Annual Plenary Assembly

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Faithful to the mission that the Bishops of Canada bestowed upon it, over the past year DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE persevered in its efforts to build a more just world by supporting the development projects of its more than 250 partners throughout the South and by providing emergency assistance to the victims of war and natural disaster. Acting on its own or in partnership with other organizations, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE continued to educate the Canadian public about international solidarity and to encourage participation in concrete action, while repeatedly intervening with Canadian decision-makers in an effort to further peace and to reduce inequality throughout the world.


1. Development programs

In 2002-2003, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE concluded its three-year program under the theme "supporting the processes of democratization" by supporting 293 development programs in almost 40 countries with grants totalling $15,178,453. Over the same period, the international development program of DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE was the subject of a major Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) evaluation. This evaluation affirmed the clarity of the organization's development strategy and the appropriateness of its support to civil society organizations in the South. In recognition of the human and economic devastation that the
HIV-AIDS pandemic has wrought on many Third World countries, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE decided to define a policy position on the struggle against HIV/AIDS. The resulting statement was the subject of intensive consultations with the CCCB.


Africa

Unfortunately, the special attention devoted to the African continent by the G-8 Heads of State meetings at the Kananaskis Summit did not translate into concrete action, and countries such as the Congo, Liberia and Burundi continued to be the victims of bloody conflicts that the international community appeared incapable of resolving.

Acting in close collaboration with the CCCB, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE continued to play an active role in furthering peace on the African continent, particularly through a major peace- building project in alliance with Congolese civil society organizations, and by implementing a new $1 million bilateral project in support of democratic elections in Nigeria. The latter is being conducted in collaboration with the Ijebu-Ode Diocesan Justice, Peace and Development Commission.


Latin America

In 2002 - 2003, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE continued to implement its program of reinforcing the efforts of social transformation groups throughout Latin America. Especially in Brazil, our partners will intensify their efforts to convince the new government to bring about essential reforms of benefit to that nation¡¯s poor and oppressed.

DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE work in Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala was recognized by the Canadian Council for International Cooperation last June, when it bestowed its International Development Award for sustainable development on our hurricane Mitch-Central American reconstruction program. We are proud to share this honour with our many partners in the field.

Asia

With East Timor's ascension to independence in 2002, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE began a process of diversifying its activities in this emerging nation by establishing relations with four new partners. In Indonesia, a nation with a strong Muslim majority, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE is continuing its support of women's organizations that are deeply involved in promoting human rights and sexual equality.

At the regional level, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE continued its support of the Asia Partnership for Human Development (APHD), a consortium of Catholic development organizations that recently celebrated its 30th anniversary of work on behalf of the poor throughout Asia.

For its part, the CVL Consortium, which was created by CIDSE in the early 1980s, continues its vital community development work in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Ultimately, the CVL Consortium strategy is to replace itself with autonomous, national NGOs in each of these countries.

Emergency relief

Unfortunately, all too many emergency situations demanded the attention of our emergency relief desk this past year.

Early in the year, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE devoted a great deal of attention to its Afghanistan emergency program designed to support organizations of Afghan women and their participation in the reconstruction of the country. A special seminar in Montreal in October 2002, on the participation of Afghan women in the rebuilding of their country, generated a great deal of media attention and made decision-makers much more conscious of this dimension of the problem.

The extensive drought that plagued Southern Africa and the many fratricidal wars that bloodied the continent dictated that this region would receive the lion¡¯s share of the DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE emergency relief budget. Recipient countries included, Zambia, Mozambique, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Algeria.

Finally, with the outbreak of war in Iraq and with CCCB support and involvement, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE launched a special fundraising appeal for victims of the conflict. By 31 August 2003, this appeal had raised more than $900,000. With the decline in active hostilities, Caritas Internationalis was able to mount an emergency relief program early in May, involving roughly $8 million, to help respond to the nation's most urgent needs ¨D its lack of medicine, medical supplies and drinking water ¨D and to redress a number of other problems threatening Iraq's most vulnerable citizens. To date, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE has channelled $250,000 to this program. An additional $150,000 was provided to two other projects: one an Aide m¨¦dicale internationale (AIM) program combating tuberculosis, the second a food aid program managed by the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC).

Two tables outlining DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE international financial commitments through to June 2003 appear as an appendix to this report.


2. Education and solidarity programming

For the second year in a row, the 2002-2003 fall campaign focused on the issue of multinational corporation control over seed stocks and technology. Participants in the campaign signed a postcard asking Prime Minister Jean Chr¨¦tien to intervene with the World Trade Organization (WTO) to block the patenting of seeds and all other life forms. The campaign argued that granting such patents to multinational corporations deprived Third World peasants of their traditional rights to replant the seeds that they grow.

By late March 2003, the Prime Minister's office had received 256,000 postcards from individual Canadians in support of the campaign. This is the highest rate of return since the Year 2000 Jubilee Campaign calling for the forgiveness of least-developed country debt, a truly remarkable response level. As part of the campaign, both the national secretariat and a number of Diocesan Councils pursued a strategy of dialogue with government decision-makers around the issues involved. In all, almost 50 separate meetings were held with members of Parliament, senators, ministers and other officials.


3. Share Lent and fundraising activities

Thanks to the tireless support of the bishops and clergy and the dedicated commitment of thousands of volunteers, Share Lent 2002 proved an unequivocal success in that it raised almost $9.3 million, a slight increase over 2001. Almost 70% of pastoral zones identified a volunteer responsible for Share Lent. This meant that almost every parish in Canada was reached by the campaign.

Beyond the campaign¡¯s financial dimensions, the DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE National Council is anxious to preserve and promote the spiritual and religious significance of this immense sharing between Canadian Catholics and their brothers and sisters in developing countries. For the third year in a row, the 2002 -2003 campaign took place under the theme ¡°The earth is for all¡±. The final results of this past spring's campaign will only be known in November 2003.

As for other fundraising activities of DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE, these are also on the increase. In this context, a major mail and telephone appeal was mounted during the past several months to recruit new monthly donors. This effort was a twofold success in that it increased the number of monthly donors from 3,000 to more than 3,900, and also the amounts being donated by individual donors. A special fundraising strategy directed at religious communities that focused on key projects (school canteens in the Congo, support for Pax Christi, and Iraqi relief, etc.) was also implemented successfully during the past year. For the second year in a row, Think Fast, a DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE specialized fundraising activity for youth, particularly English-speaking youth, also showed significant growth. Finally, sustained efforts were mounted to increase the commitment of more than 1,000 English-speaking and French-speaking major donors and to invite them to opt into the organization's Planned Giving program by setting aside a bequest or donating life insurance benefits.


4. Advocacy and coalition work

Throughout the year, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE continued to lobby national and international decision-makers for greater solidarity and a more just world by encouraging them to support initiatives designed to reduce conflict or to promote greater economic justice.

These advocacy activities were very often carried out jointly with like-minded groups that share the particular concerns involved. Beyond the CCCB, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE relied on its special relationship with a number of partners including KAIROS, the Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC), the Quebec Association for International Solidarity (AQOCI), and the CIDSE and Caritas Internationalis networks in developing and carrying out its advocacy strategies. As part of this strategy, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE actively participated in these various networks, sat on their governing boards or operational committees and participated in their major gatherings, including the January 2003 CIDSE Ecclesial Advisers Meeting in Belgium, the American Social Ministries Conference, which took place in Mexico last spring or, more recently, the 17th General Assembly of Caritas Internationalis in Rome.

Early in 2003, the entire organization mobilized around the situation in Iraq. Many, many DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE members actively joined in peace demonstrations in Canada's urban centres. Even if the tragic conflict that all sought to avoid ultimately did occur, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE is very proud of the position of the Canadian government to stand in solidarity with the United Nations by refusing to join the Anglo-American military intervention.

Beyond the Iraq war, the principal issues and concerns around which DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE focused its lobby work last year included increasing Canadian foreign aid, mechanisms for cancelling Third World debt, international trade and agricultural subsidies, seed patenting and the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

5. Institutional life

After the June 2002 Triennial Orientation Assembly, the DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE National Council became very much preoccupied with implementing the new orientations adopted by the Assembly and specifically with establishing the three new consultative committees it had called for: a Youth Consultative Committee charged with developing strategies to involve a greater number of young people in the organization; a Consultative Committee on Diversity mandated to oversee the DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE plan of action on diversity, and ensure that no systematic barriers stand in the way of visible or ethnic minorities taking a more active role within the movement; and a Theological Reflection Committee, intended to provide members and staff with the tools they need to sustain involvement based on the social teachings of the Church.

In the aftermath of the 2001 Limited Institutional Review, a specific committee mandated to orient and supervise the organization's fundraising activities was created. Other recommendations of the Institutional Review dealt with leadership training and membership development. These are presently the focus of further consultations within the movement.

Finally, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE was very pleased to welcome Rev. Richard Renshaw, C.S.C., as the organization's new Deputy Executive Director. At the same time, the organization bid a sad farewell to Ms. Mary Corkery, Director of the English Sector of the Education Department for the past nine years. Mary will be assuming new responsibilities as KAIROS Executive Director this fall.


6. Outlook for the future

With rapid changes in Canadian international development policies expected, a series of significant challenges await DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE during the coming year. As its current multi-year agreement with the Canadian International Development Agency ends on 31 December 2003 (after being extended for four months), perhaps the most central of these will be finalizing a new agreement.

At the same time, in November 2003, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE will launch a three-year campaign for its Canadian education and solidarity effort focused on the issue of access to safe drinking water. Under the slogan, "Life Before Profit", the campaign will stress the fact that water is part of the heritage of all humanity and must be managed with this in mind. The rich scriptural traditions around water will be an important component of this campaign.

For its part, the Development Programs Department will have to translate the organization¡¯s recently announced Policy statement in the fight against HIV/AIDS into concrete projects and programs, and remain ever-conscious of opportunities to obtain additional funding for actions and activities that will further the organization's priorities.

Finally, recognizing the high priority that the National Council has placed on the issues of membership development, expansion and leadership training, once the current consultation with local groups and Diocesan Councils has been completed, the 2003-2004 budget will need to lend significant priority to these concerns.


Conclusion

With the support of Canadian Catholics, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE has been able to bring life to the biblical values of sharing, justice and human solidarity, both in Canada and overseas. The series of very positive evaluations that the organization received during the past year attests to the validity of the work it has achieved.

None of these achievements would have been possible without the ongoing support of the Bishops of Canada and the constant encouragement of CCCB staff members. In the name of the world¡¯s poor, we thank you all!

+ Martin Currie, Bishop
+ Luc Cyr, Bishop
CCCB Representatives on National Council, CCODP



For More information Contact:
Deacon William Kokesch
Director, Communications Service
Tel: (613) 241-9461
Fax: (613) 241-9048
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Last Updated on Tuesday, August 08 2006  
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