Trends in Global Affairs Canada’s Partnerships with CSOs

Topics

 

1.  Overview of Global Affairs Canada’s support for CSOs     Go to this section  

1.1  Introduction

1.2  Broad trends in support for CSOs from Global Affairs Canada      

2.  Global Affairs Canada Branch Disbursements through CSOs     Go to this section

2.1  CSO disbursements through Partnerships for Development Innovations Branch

2.2  CSO disbursements through Geographic Regional Bilateral Branches & Global Issues and Development Branch

3.  Global Affairs Canada Disbursements through CSOs for Humanitarian Assistance  Go to this section   

4.  Calls-for-proposals with CSOs by Global Affair’s Partnerships for Development Innovation Branch: Impacts on CSOs since 2010  Go to this section

 

See also Policy Issues in Global Affairs Partnerships with CSOs  Go to this page.

 

1.  Overview of Global Affairs Canada’s support for CSOs

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1.1 Introduction
 

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have been key partners in development cooperation with CIDA/DFATD/GAC (Global Affairs Canada) over the past 45 years. These partnerships have evolved from one-off grants in support of CSO projects in the 1970s to significant and diverse programmatic funding relationships since the mid-1980s. 

However, in July 2010, the Minister for Development Cooperation decided to end programmatic funding for many Canadian CSOs.  Following this policy shift in 2010, CIDA/DFATD (now Global Affairs Canada) implemented a number of competitive “calls-for-proposals,” which benefited some CSOs able to apply and successful in their bids.  But for many Canadian CSOs long-standing partnerships with CIDA/DFATD were not renewed, and funding for many organizations from this source has declined.

Since the Liberal Government assumed power in October 2015, there has been increased support for “unsolicited proposals,” but calls-for-proposals” remain an important funding mechanism for the Government.

CSOs have received funding from three Branches of Global Affairs Canada (GAC) (GAC Organogram):

a) Partnerships for Development Innovations Branch,

b) Geographic Branches (bilateral programs supporting the priority countries), and

c) Global Issues and Development Branch (support for multilateral initiatives and humanitarian assistance).

a) Partnerships for Development Innovations Branch (PDI)     Since 1968, a wide diversity of Canadian and International CSOs have received primary support through a dedicated Partnership Branch of CIDA, since renamed Partnership with Canadians Branch (2010) and then Partnerships for Development Innovations (2014).

b) Regional Geographic Bilateral Programs Branches     In the mid-1980s, the President of CIDA, Marcel Massé, initiated bilateral “country focus” programs through which CSO-initiated large-scale projects received support from a variety of bilateral country programs in CIDA/DFATD/GAC Geographic Branches.  While initiated by CSOs, these projects have been consistent with GAC’s bilateral country priorities and strategies and are considered part of the portfolio of Canada’s bilateral country-to-country programs.  There are currently four regional geographic Branches in Global Affairs — 1) Sub-Saharan Africa, 2) Europe, Middle East and Maghreb, 3) Americas, and 4) Asia Pacific.

 c) Global Issues and Development Branch     CSOs also have received support for emergency and humanitarian assistance programming through CIDA’s Multilateral Branch, now Global Affairs Canada’s Global Issues and Development Branch. In recent years, a number of Canadian CSOs, with considerable humanitarian experience, have had a standing relationship with the Branch for quick disbursement of funds in sudden-onset emergencies.

 

1.2  Broad trends in support for CSOs from Global Affairs Canada
 

Increasing total disbursements through CSOs        Total disbursements by Global Affairs Canada (formerly DFATD and CIDA) through CSOs have been on an upward trend since 2010, both in current dollars (increasing from $685 million in 2010/11 to $848 million in 2014/15 or by 24%) and in the value of these disbursements in constant 2015 dollars (increasing from $745 million in 2010/11 to $857 million in 2014/15 or by 15%). 

See a History of Disbursements to CSOs

See a History of the Value of Disbursements to All CSOs, All GAC Branches (2015 dollars).

Since 2005 disbursements through foreign CSOs has been an increasing proportion of CIDA/GAC’s disbursements to CSOs.  Nevertheless, Canadian CSOs have experienced this trend in increased disbursement, albeit more modestly, in current dollars (from $583 million in 2010/11 to $650 million in 2014/15 or by 12%) and in the value of these disbursement in constant 2015 dollars (from $634 million to $657 million or by 4%).

Disbursements through CSOs for long term development projects declines       CSO delivery of GAC humanitarian assistance has played a very large role in increased GAC disbursements through CSOs (see below).  The value of GAC disbursements (in 2015 dollars) through Canadian CSOs for long term development projects and programs has been declining since 2005/06.  In 2014/15 the value of these disbursements were $456 million, down 19% since 2005/06 ($564 million), and 13% since 2010/11 ($501 million).

See Value of GAC Disbursements to Canadian CSOs, Excluding Humanitarian Assistance (2015 dollars).

The impact of the increasing role of Canadian CSOs in humanitarian assistance is also evident when examining the annual share of disbursements through CSOs as a percentage of total GAC program disbursements.  For Canadian CSOs (and for all CSOs) this share has varied considerably from year to year.  Recently, for Canadian CSOs, it has increased from a low of 15% in 2011/12 to a current share of 19% in 2014/15.  But when humanitarian assistance is excluded, there has been little variation in this share for Canadian CSOs’ long-term development programming.  It has been 17% in 4 out of 5 years since 2010/11.

See Share of Disbursements for CSOs as percentage of Total GAC Programs

See Share of Disbursements for CSO as percentage of Total GAC Programs, Excluding Humanitarian Assistance.

Trends in CSO financing reflected in Branch disbursements through CSOs        Finally, these trends are equally visible in an overview of the level of disbursements through CSOs for the various Branches of Global Affairs Canada. Since 2008/09, there has been a significant increase in disbursements to CSOs from Global Issues and Development Branch, which manages Canada’s humanitarian assistance.  Other Branches remain relatively constant with yearly variations (Geographic Bilateral Branches) or have been declining (Partnerships for Development Innovation Branch).  See below for more on the trends in disbursements through these various Branches.

See Branch Disbursements to CSOs (current dollars) and Branch Disbursements to CSOs (2015 dollars).

Data calculated and posted March 2017.

 

2. Global Affairs Canada Branch Disbursements through CSOs

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2.1 CSO Disbursements through Partnerships for Development Innovations Branch

 

Dedicated support for CSO partnerships has been the mandate of this Branch (formerly Partnerships Branch in CIDA) for more than four decades.  It is the primary, and often the only, source for CIDA/DFATD/GAC  financing for the majority of small and medium sized Canadian CSOs.  Larger CSOs have had a long history of support in their evolution as development actors from this Branch, but have also had access to specific country and humanitarian resources from other Branches of CIDA/DFATD/GAC.

Since 2010, total disbursements through this Branch have been declining, particularly since 2012/13:

2010/11:  $217 million

2011/12:  $239 million

2012/13:  $237 million

2013/14:  $210 million

2014/15:  $175 million

Declining value of disbursements from Partnerships Branch      These recent declining disbursements from Partnerships for Development Innovation Branch are part of a longer trend in the value of disbursements for CSOs from the Branch whose mandate has been exclusively focused on CSO partnerships.  Even in 2000/01 the value of these disbursements (in 2015 dollars) was just over $300 million.  By 2014/15 these disbursements have declined to $177 million, a decline of 32% since 2005/06 ($259 million).

See Value of GAC Disbursements through CSOs from Partnerships for Development Innovations Branch.

Partnership Branch’s declining share of GAC programming disbursements      Another measure of the Branch’s importance for GAC’s partnerships with CSOs is its overall share in total GAC programming disbursements.  Prior to 2000/01, this share was above 10%.  But since 2005/06 it has been declining from 8% to a mere 5% in 2014/15.

See Partnerships for Development Innovation Branch disbursements as a share of Total GAC Program Disbursements.

Numbers of CSOs supported by the Branch have sharply declined     In 2000/01 the Branch provided support for 382 Canadian CSOs.  An additional number (53) of international Foreign CSOs were also supported.  By 2010/11 the number of Canadian CSOs supported had declined to 257 organizations.  In 2014/15 a mere 132 Canadian organizations had a partnership with the Branch, a decline of of close to 50% over 5 years since 2010/11.  These shifts in organizational priorities for GAC’s Partnerships Branch have had a profound impact on the long term financing for many Canadian CSOs, particularly for small and medium sized CSOs.  The latter have been largely frozen out of GAC support, particularly since 2010/11 when then CIDA shifted to an exclusive call for proposal financing mechanism (see below).

Share of the top 10 CSOs in disbursements by Partnerships Branch has increased      While the number of organizations supported by the Branch has declined markedly, a corresponding concentration of Branch disbursements in the top 10 CSO recipients has increased, from 35% in 2005/06 to 46% in 2014/15.

The number of smaller contributions from the Branch has also decreased significantly        Smaller Branch grants and contributions tend to be directed to small and medium sized organizations.  The number of contributions of less than $500,000 has fallen by 57% between 2010/11 (181) and 2014/15 (78).  The number of disbursements over $5 million have remained relatively constant (11 in 2014/15), which tend to go to larger CSOs.  The number of contributions between $500,000 and $5 million have also shrunk from 67 in 2010/11 to 43 in 2014/15.

See Trend in the Total Number of Canadian CSOs receiving support from GAC’s Partnerships for Development Innovations Branch

See Top 10 Canadian CSO Recipients’ Share in Total Disbursements by Partnerships for Development Innovation Branch.

See Number of Contributions to Canadian CSOs by Size of the Contribution for Partnerships for Development Innovations Branch.

Support for development education and public awareness drops off precipitously       Promoting development awareness is supposedly an important aspect of the mandate of the Partnerships for Development Innovation Branch.  However, disbursements through Canadian CSOs for this purpose has been an insignificant and declining priority for GAC since 2005.  The value of these disbursements reached a low of $10 million in the value of these disbursements in 2014/15 (in 2015 dollars). The highest value of these disbursements was in 2008/09 at $18.6 million.

This declining support is also indicated on the side of Canadian CSOs, with a declining proportion of GAC-funded CSOs allocating more than 10% of their GAC disbursements to promotion of development awareness. Between 2010/11 and 2014/15, the numbers of Canadian CSOs allocating more than 10% has declined both in absolute numbers (from 87 to 20) and as a share of the number of GAC-funded CSOs through the Branch (from 34% to 15%).

Disbursements by the Branch for development awareness were also increasingly concentrated in a few organizations.  By 2014/15, three-quarters of disbursements for development awareness went to the Provincial and Regional Councils and Volunteer Sending Organizations, leaving a mere 24% implemented by other CSOs.   In 2010/11, 45% of disbursements were implemented by other CSOs beyond these institutions.   [AidWatch Canada calculations based on GAC Historical Projects Dataset, various years]

See Value of Total GAC Disbursements for “Promoting Development Awareness” through Canadian CSOs.

See Number of Canadian CSOs with Project Share greater than 10% for public awareness, relative to total number of Canadian CSOs funded by Partnerships Branch.

Data calculated and posted, March 2017.

 

2.2  CSO Disbursements through Geographic Regional Bilateral Branches & Global Issues and Development Branch

 

Regional Geographic Bilateral Branches

 

The Bilateral Branches of Global Affairs maintain Canada’s country-to-country assistance programs, which are established through GAC’s country strategies in 25 countries of priority.  While developing country governments are a primary implementing partner for these programs, CSOs have also become significant implementing partners for projects on behalf of Global Affairs Canada.  These projects must fall within the programming priorities of GAC’s country programs.

Value of bilateral disbursements through CSOs relatively constant       The value of disbursements from the Bilateral Regional Branches to Canadian CSOs is variable from year to year as country programs consider particular CSOs as partners to deliver GAC country program priorities. But the overall trend line for the value of these disbursements over the past 15 years has revolved around $200 million per year.  In 2014/15, the value of these disbursements ($215 million) was at the same level as 2010, but had recovered from a low of $174 million in 2012/13.

See Trend in the Value of Disbursements through CSOs by Bilateral Branches of GAC

Increasing trend in the share of bilateral disbursements       Within these Branches, the share of CSOs in disbursements has increased slightly over the past 15 years. As a share of total bilateral disbursements, those through CSOs have increased from 16% in 2010 to 20% in 2013/14, and a high of 35% in 2014/15.

See Bilateral Branches Disbursements through CSOs (Canadian and Foreign) as a Percentage of Total Bilateral Disbursements.

 

Global Issues and Development Branch

 

The main purpose for disbursements to CSOs for the Global Issues Branch is in support of humanitarian assistance and emergency relief implemented by these CSOs.

CSO disbursements by Global Issues has been growing steadily       The trend for CSOs disbursements through Global Issues is clearly increasing.  This trend is despite considerable variation from year to year given the nature of humanitarian responses.  Between 2012/13 and 2014/15, the value of these disbursements increased substantially for Canadian CSOs by 75% (from $145 million to $253 million), largely due to increased requirements to respond to humanitarian situations in the Middle East.

See The Trends in the Value of Disbursements through CSOs (Canadian and Foreign) by Global Issues and Development Branch.

Share in Global Issues disbursements growing       A more accurate measure of the importance of CSOs in Canada’s humanitarian responses has been the share of CSO disbursement from Global Issues as a percentage of total Global Issues disbursements.  Currently CSOs are implementing approximately 20% of Global Issues total disbursements, up from between 11% and 15% between 2010 and 2012.

See Global Issues Disbursements through CSOs (Canadian and Foreign) as a Percentage of Total Global Affairs Disbursements.

 

Number of Canadian CSOs supported by Bilateral and Global Issues Branches

 

Steep declines in the numbers of CSOs receiving funding from Bilateral Branches       Despite the robust support for CSOs by both Bilateral Branches and Global Issues Branch, there has been a significant concentration of this support among fewer CSOs.  Similar to the trend in Partnerships Branch, there has been a significant decline in the number of Canadian CSOs funded by the Bilateral Branches – a 72% decline since 2005 and 55% since 2010.  In 2010/11, 100 Canadian CSO received funding from the Bilateral Branches, while in 2014/15, this number was 55 organizations.  However, the number of Canadian CSOs financed through Global Issues Branch has remained relatively stable in comparison – declining by 35% since 2005, but rising slightly from 28 organizations in 2010/11 to 33 organizations in 2014/15.

See Trends in the Number of CSOs receiving funding from Bilateral Branches and Global Issues Branch.

Data calculated and posted, March 2017.

 

3.  Global Affairs Canada Disbursements through CSOs for Humanitarian Assistance

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Canadian and international (foreign) CSOs have increased their roles in responding to humanitarian emergencies across the world.  Increased attention to humanitarian action is reflected in GAC disbursement through CSOs.

CSO humanitarian disbursements have been rising in recent years       The value of  Canadian CSO disbursements for humanitarian assistance (in 2015 dollars) has increased dramatically since 2011, by more than 100%. Since 2008, the allocations through international CSOs has grown within GAC’s portfolio of CSO partnerships for humanitarian assistance.  By 2014/15 international CSOs were implementing $84 million in GAC humanitarian disbursements, compared to $199 million for Canadian CSOs.

See Value of GAC Disbursements through CSOs for Humanitarian Assistance

Disbursements to CSOs for humanitarian assistance increasing as share of GAC humanitarian assistance       CSOs have implemented a larger share in GAC’s humanitarian work in recent years.  But much of this increased role is accounted for by increased disbursements through foreign international CSOs since 2008.  For Canadian CSOs, humanitarian disbursements were 22% of GAC humanitarian disbursements in 2010/11, and 24% in 2014/15.  In contrast, foreign international CSOs represented 6% of GAC humanitarian disbursements in 2010/11 and 10% in 2014/15.

See GAC Humanitarian Disbursements through CSOs as a Percentage of Total GAC Humanitarian Disbursements

Humanitarian action has been a growing area for CSO partnerships with GAC      Disbursements for humanitarian action on the part of CSOs has been a rapidly growing share of disbursements for CSOs by GAC.  For Canadian CSOs, these disbursements represented a mere 9% of CSO disbursements from GAC in 2005/06, which has now grown to 31% in 2014/15.  A similar trend line is noted for foreign international CSOs.  The trend towards a decline in GAC support for long term development programming by Canadian CSOs is noted above.

See GAC Disbursements for CSO Humanitarian Assistance as a Percentage of Total GAC Disbursements through CSOs.

Modest growth in support for CSO disaster preparedness and longer term reconstruction       While timely, sufficient and immediate humanitarian response is essential, many CSOs globally call for increased investment in disaster preparedness to minimize natural disasters when they occur and longer-term reconstruction following an emergency.  Since 2009/10, there has been an increase in GAC disbursements through Canadian CSOs for relief coordination, reconstruction and preparedness, representing 11% of GAC CSO disbursements for Canadian CSO humanitarian assistance in 2014/15.  Investment in disaster preparedness and prevention alone has been more modest, rising from almost nothing to 8% of Canadian CSO humanitarian disbursements in 2013/14, but falling to 5% in 2014/15.

See Trends in Disbursements through Canadian CSOs for Relief Coordination, Reconstruction and Disaster Preparedness as a Percentage of Total GAC Disbursements through CSOs for Humanitarian Action.

High concentration among large Canadian CSOs for humanitarian disbursements       There is a high concentration of GAC disbursements for humanitarian assistance among select large Canadian humanitarian actors. Ten CSOs have been the avenue for 71% of these disbursements over the five-year period from 2010/11 to 2014/15. GAC has a standing offer with a number of proven humanitarian actors for quick action responses to humanitarian emergencies. As noted above, Canadian CSOs have been providing about 25% of all humanitarian assistance in the past two years (2013/14 and 2014/15), which is driven in recent years by Canada’s commitment to support refugees and displaced people in the Middle East.

See Top 10 Canadian CSO Recipients of GAC Humanitarian Disbursements, 2010/11 to 2014/15, Five-Year Cumulative Total

Country priorities for CSO humanitarian assistance shifts with GAC and global humanitarian priorities       The country allocation of humanitarian assistance delivered through Canadian CSOs is well represented by significant humanitarian emergencies from Haiti and Pakistan in the early part of this decade, to the Philippines, the Middle East and South Sudan in recent years. The most significant scale of assistance over the five years has been to the Middle East, with disbursements through Canadian CSOs to Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq making up 20% of the five-year total of humanitarian disbursements through these CSOs ($737 million).

See Top 12 Country Recipients of Canadian CSO Humanitarian Assistance, 2010/11 to 2014/15, Five Year Cumulative Total

Data calculated and posted, March 2017.

 

4.  Calls-for-proposals with CSOs by Global Affairs’s Partnerships for Development Innovation Branch: Impacts on CSOs since 2010

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CIDA/DFATD/GAC (subsequently referred to as Global Affairs Canada) has supported the programs and projects with a large number of Canadian CSOs for more than 40 years. As noted in sections above, since the 1980s, these organizations have had access to funding windows in bilateral country programs, in multilateral humanitarian assistance as well as in a dedicated Branch, which is now called Partnerships for Development Innovations (PDI) Branch.

Since the late 1980s, CIDA’s Partnership Branch supported multi-year contribution agreements in support of the development programs of a wide diversity of medium-size and large Canadian CSOs, which had a strong track-record in development cooperation. For smaller organizations, CIDA had a number of funding windows that focused on specific projects proposed by these organizations, including projects in public engagement in Canada. 

All of these funding mechanisms were highly responsive to the programmatic and project priorities of Canadian CSO partners and their counterparts in developing countries. 

But in July 2010, Bev Oda, the Minister for International Cooperation, announced that Partnership Branch would disburse its funding for CSOs exclusively through the “call-for-proposal” mechanism, abandoning the diversity of responsive funding modalities that had existed over these 40 years.  For a reaction and defense of prior funding modalities see an analysis from the Canadian Council for International Cooperation in 2010.

What has been the impact on Canadian CSOs with this dramatic change of approach?

The Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC) has implemented two surveys of its membership (2012 and 2014) on the impacts of the call-for-proposals and the abandonment of diverse funding modalities.  Access and read the key findings of these two surveys.

The 2014 CCIC study concluded that in the three years since implementing this funding policy many Canadian CSOs faced sharp funding reductions from Global Affairs Canada.  Sudden drops in revenue required more than half of 138 surveyed CSOs in 2014 to make significant cuts in the diversity of activities that they supported in developing countries, with 46% cutting long-standing partnerships, and 43% implementing major staffing reductions. 

Several additional trends are noted in these surveys:

A significant reduction in the stability of funding from Global Affairs       The CCIC/Councils’ Members Survey in 2014 noted that 41% of Canadian CSO members of these Councils, which had had a sustained history of many years receiving CIDA/DFATD funding, were not receiving funding in 2014. No successful, or unable to compete, many of these CSOs have had significant reductions in the resources available for their work.  But in addition, episodic access to GAC funding through calls-for-proposals, largely on a project basis, has affected their capacities to plan long term partnerships based on these resources.  It is notable that 71% of small organizations that had received CIDA/DFATD funding were no longer receiving DFATD funding in 2014.

See CSOs with a history of funding from CIDA/DFATD, no longer receiving funding in 2014: Percentage of the number of CSOs in each category.

Close to half of Canadian CSOs surveyed had declining revenue between 2010 and 2014       Just over half of the organizations surveyed reported that their revenue increased or stayed the same between 2010 and 2014.  The remaining 44% reported declining revenue during this period.  This decline in revenue was unevenly distributed among these CSOs.  Among large organizations, only 8 out of 28 (13%) reported that their revenue had decreased.  While 48% of small organizations and 29% of medium sized organizations reported decreased revenue over these three years.    Declining revenue from CIDA/DAFTD were the primary reasons reported for declining revenue, while improved private fundraising was the most common reason for increased revenue.

See Changes in Total Revenue for Surveyed CSOs between 2010 and 2014 (CCIC/ICN Survey)

See Trends in Total Revenue by Size of Organization between 2010 and 2014 (CCIC/ICN Survey)

Large organizations much more successful in calls-for-proposals       The outcomes of calls-for-proposals for Canadian CSOs has been highly biased towards larger CSOs (those with total revenue greater than $5 million). Between 2010 and 2014, 56% of these organizations in the CCIC/Councils Survey were successful in a call competition, compared to 33% of medium sized organizations (total revenue between $500,000 and $5 million), and only 15% of small organizations (total revenue less than $500,000). Among small organizations, almost 80% indicated that they were not able to submit a project in a call, compared to 51% for medium organization and 40% for large organizations.

See Organizations Success with Calls-for-Proposals from Partnerships for Development Innovation Branch, 2010 to 2014. (CCIC/ICN Survey)

Data calculated and updated March 2017.