What is the Inter-Council Network?
The Inter-Council Network (ICN) is a coalition of the eight Provincial and Regional Councils for International Cooperation. These independent member-based Councils are committed to global social justice and social change and represent more than 350 diverse civil society organizations (CSOs) from across Canada. The ICN provides a national forum in which the Councils collaborate for improved effectiveness and identify common priorities for collective action. Rooted in communities across Canada, we are leaders in public engagement at a local and regional level and are recognized for bringing regional knowledge and priorities to the national level.
The Councils work with diverse national, regional, and local organizations from the ground up. Each Council’s membership spans from cultural community civil society organizations to highly recognizable international organizations. The ICN itself partners with national networks and organizations to ensure public engagement activities reach communities from coast to coast to coast, and that our voice reflects the interests and values of our members.
Why an Online Conference?
2020 and 2021 have marked pivotal and challenging years for global development, given the widespread impact of COVID-19. 2020 also marked five years since the international community adopted the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Agenda, and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is a comprehensive and ambitious blueprint of action for all countries recognizing that eradicating global poverty is our greatest challenge, and there can be no sustainable development as long as it persists.
Many opportunities to engage in addressing society’s most challenging issues have either been cancelled or moved online due to travel restrictions. Taking action on Sustainable Development Goals, climate change, and social justice has never been so important, and yet the global pandemic has changed the ways in which we currently engage. We have seen dramatic impacts on global food security, gender equality, and human rights. We have also seen the sector reflect and refocus on doing development better through innovation, localization, and decolonization.
In the past, the ICN has sent a delegation of youth to an international conference to engage and contribute to these issues. Given the global pandemic, the ICN has shifted its delegate program to enable youth to participate from a distance. Building on last year’s pilot program, it enables youth to embark on a national or international learning experience right from their own home. Youth may apply for funding to attend an online conference or training, of their choosing, related to global social justice and/or the Sustainable Development Goals. [Note: In some circumstances, depending on local travel restrictions, if the delegate is able to travel to an in-person conference within their province, territory, or region, travel costs may also be covered, up to a maximum of $500. This will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and in accordance with provincial and territorial covid-19 guidelines.
A $250 honorarium will also be provided to successful applicants following the completion of a post-conference public engagement activity. The conference must take place before December 24, 2021, and the public engagement activity must be completed by January 24, 2022. Have you already participated in an online conference since April 1, 2021? No problem! With proof of participation, youth delegate funding can be applied for retroactively.
Why Youth Engagement is Important
Youth play an integral role in the international community’s effort of achieving sustainable development and gender equality. With about 1.8 billion young people worldwide between the ages of 10 and 24, actively engaging youth in decision-making processes enables cross-generational collaboration to truly implement Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 17 – inclusive partnerships that collectively seek solutions that benefit our society, the planet, and its inhabitants.
Strengthening cross-generational collaboration entails providing mentorship and education of youth, as well as valuing young people’s opinions and creative solutions. More importantly, by further promoting youth participation and engagement, we are creating a momentum of fostering stewardship and sustainable development values amongst the future designers, politicians, engineers, and architects of the world. Investing in the next generation of young leaders will yield positive results – long term and short term – that contribute to the global integration of the SDGs and more robust climate and social justice actions.
Youth delegates will ideally:
- Have demonstrated experience and knowledge of the Sustainable Development Goals, gender equality and/or the global development issues related to the conference or training of their choosing;
- Be between the ages of 18 and 35 at the time of the conference;
- Be a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident or hold a valid study or work permit in Canada.
Note: In order to make such opportunities open to a broader audience, applications from newer ICN participants will be prioritized over past delegates. Interested alumni can reach out to the ICN team to learn about other ways to get involved in the program as a peer mentor.
Expectations and Commitments
Selected youth delegates are expected to:
- participate fully during the conference or training (must take place before December 24, 2021);
- share their learning experience of the conference or training via social media;
- plan and deliver a post conference public engagement activity in collaboration with the ICN (must be completed by January 24, 2022), such as writing a blog or sharing what they learned at an event or presentation (ICN Delegates PE Activities from 2020-2021 can be found here);
- participate fully in three ICN webinars / networking events with fellow youth delegates (dates to be determined); and
- provide a receipt to show proof of conference fees paid – to receive reimbursement and honorarium.
Note: Optional: Mentors are also offered the opportunity to have a 1-1 professional mentorship/coffee chat with an ICN or Council Staff member.
If you are motivated to participate in an online conference or training, please apply to be an ICN Youth Delegate here by October 12, 2021. Any questions? Please contact the ICN National Program Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As an equity seeking network, the ICN encourages applications from individuals that represent the full diversity of communities in Canada, including complexities of intersecting identities such as ability, class, gender, race and sexual orientation.
Should you have any accessibility concerns with the conference registration or the delegate application process, please contact the ICN Team, so that we can support you with any accommodations to make these more accessible.