[governance] IDRC (was Intergovernmental-/NG-Os & Siege agreement)

Garth Graham garth.graham at telus.net
Fri Jul 28 15:09:31 EDT 2006

IDRC is rare, but not unusual, in being a creature of the Act of  
Parliament that established it.  It is defined in law as working at  
arms-length to the Government of Canada.  It's Board of Governors is  
autonomous while pursuing the objects and powers stated in the Act.    
The Board reports to Parliament through the Minister of Foreign  
Affairs, but not "to" that Minister.

Section 4. (1) of the IDRC Act says: "The objects of the Centre are  
to initiate, encourage, support and conduct research into the  
problems of the developing regions of the world and into the means  
for applying and adapting scientific, technical and other knowledge  
to the economic and social advancement of those regions and, in  
carrying out those objects ...

Section 18. (1) of the IDRC Act says: "The Centre is not an agent of  
Her Majesty, and, except as provided in subsection (2), the governors  
and the officers, agents and employees of the Centre are not part of  
the public service."

IDRC is fully capable of receiving funds from anywhere.  As per  
Sections 20. (1) and (2) of the Act:

(1) The Centre shall establish, under its management in a bank or in  
an authorized foreign bank within the meaning of section 2 of the  
Bank Act that is not subject to the restrictions and requirements  
referred to in subsection 524(2) of that Act in respect of its  
business in Canada, an account to be known as the International  
Development Research Centre Account, in this section called the  
(2) There shall be credited to the Account all amounts realized by  
the Centre under this Act in carrying out research or technical  
development or from providing any other services in Canada or  
elsewhere under any contract or agreement.

I think IDRC provides a model worthy of study as to how a single  
government can establish, and effectively support without undue  
interference, an arms-length agency with a global mandate and reach.

(I should probably disclose that IDRC was my employer from 1983 to  
1989 as Regional Programme Officer for Information Science in East  
and Southern Africa).

Garth Graham

On 28-Jul-06, at 9:09 AM, Mawaki Chango wrote:

> Robert:
> You are totally right: the bulk of their budget is voted by the  
> Canadian Parliament, and I beleive the President of the Board of  
> Governors is appointed by the same Parliament. However, as far as I  
> know, they (may) substantially complement their budget with private  
> (non-governmental) funds, and they are not, unlike CIDA, a  
> government agency in the sense that they don't have to implement  
> the Canadian government policy of cooperation for development.  
> That's why IDRC could start operating in South Africa before the  
> formal end of apartheid, while CIDA could not.
> Now, I don't know if NGO is the right label for such organizations,  
> or something else.

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