Canada’s federal development agency has named an international panel of experts to assess its working relationship with non-governmental organizations. Small NGOs and the Opposition are concerned that CIDA is slowly siphoning money from local non-profits to top up its contributions elsewhere, such as in global funds. The issue came to a head this year with the suspension of the development agency’s decade-old NGO project fund, which supported non-profits with small budgets enabling them to do global work. (A similar initiative, the Innovation Fund, was later announced and it received another $5 million last week.) The 22-member advisory team, which convenes in Ottawa Oct. 24-25, will also explore the effectiveness of the development agency in engaging Canadians globally and “operational efficiencies” at CIDA. Gerry Barr, president of the Canadian Council for International Relations in Ottawa, Zehra Aydin, Chief of Non-Governmental Liaison Service of the UN in New York, and Daniel Gagnier, a senior vice-president of Alcan are among the panelists.
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