Sajjan attends Defence Ministers of the Americas conference

13 October 2016

Keeping with the Government of Canada’s steadfast commitments to protect Canadians at home and abroad, promote global peace and security, and maintain strong relationships with international allies and partners, Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan attended the 12th biennial Conference of Defence Ministers of the Americas (CDMA) in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago from October 10-12, 2016.
CDMA provides a unique forum for defence ministers in the hemisphere to share ideas and experiences regarding regional defence and security issues. Over the course of the three-day conference, Minister Sajjan engaged in open and frank discussions with his counterparts, fostering Canada’s bilateral and regional defence and security relationships. Minister Sajjan took the opportunity to highlight Canada’s Defence Policy Review, as well as Canada’s commitment to re-engage in peace support operations. 

“I’m pleased to have had the opportunity to meet with partners in the Americas to discuss our shared responsibility for security in the hemisphere," Minister Sajjan said. "We are all stronger when we work together to address the challenges of today’s evolving global security environment. I also want to thank colleagues for the input they shared on many of the major issues we are currently reviewing as part of the development of Canada’s new defence policy. I look forward to ongoing discussion as Canada moves forward with its commitment to UN peace support operations.”
The Canadian delegation guided the review of Environment Protection and Resilience, one of the three main themes being discussed at CDMA. The conference will culminate in the signing of the Declaration of the Port of Spain. This declaration encourages a comprehensive approach based on inter-institutional and inter-governmental coordination to address the increasingly diverse and complex threats and challenges facing member states.
While attending CDMA, Minister Sajjan  held a series of bi-lateral meetings with his counterparts from several nations in the Americas, including: 

  • Brazil;
  • Chile;
  • Colombia;
  • Dominican Republic;
  • Guatemala;
  • Jamaica;
  • Mexico;
  • Paraguay; and
  • Trinidad and Tobago.

During these meetings Minister Sajjan reiterated Canada’s commitment to collaborating with its Central and South American partners on issues of hemispheric defence.
Participation at CDMA is an important component of Canada’s defence engagement in the Americas, and supports the Canadian Government’s engagement in the hemisphere. Canada believes strongly in the CDMA as a forum for dialogue to establish consensus on issues of common interest.

The three main themes discussed at this year’s CDMA included: Environmental Protection and Resilience; Security and Defence of the Americas in a Changing International Environment: The Evolving Role of the Armed Forces; and Hemispheric Security and Defence Cooperation Policy: A Case/Framework for Strengthened Humanitarian Emergency Assistance.

Canada appreciates the opportunity to guide discussions on theme of “Environment Protection and Resilience.” DND/CAF is moving aggressively to improve the efficiency of its infrastructure and reduce greenhouse gases by 17 per cent by 2020 at various bases and wings across the country.
CAF/DND ongoing engagement in the Americas includes:

  • combatting illicit drug trafficking in the Caribbean Sea under Op CARRIBE;
  • providing training and support to the Jamaican Defence Force’s search and rescue capacity under Op JAGUAR;
  • providing leadership and other training to partners under DND’s Military Training and Cooperation Program; and
  • offering humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, including deployment of the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), to affected nations when requested.

Canada has made a commitment to deploy up to 600 Canadian Armed Forces members to support United Nations peace support operations. The exact size and composition of any future CAF deployment on UN missions will be based on discussions with the UN and Canada’s partner nations, as well as an assessment of where Canada can best make a meaningful impact.  

During the conference, CDMA agreed to establish a working group to discuss issues related to women, peace and security. The working group, which was supported by Canada, is scheduled to be formally established prior to the next official conference and will meet on an ad hoc basis.