Canada Contributes to Improving Security in Americas

(No. 154 - June 7, 2011 - 1:45 p.m. ET) The Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs), today announced that the Government of Canada is contributing $4.92 million to the Organization of American States (OAS) to help address security challenges and implement institutional reforms in the Americas.

"The rising crime, violence and insecurity we are witnessing throughout the hemisphere in connection with transnational organized crime and illicit drug trafficking demands an effective response,” said Minister of State Ablonczy. "I am pleased to announce that Canada is providing $4.92 million to support the important work that the OAS is doing to fight crime and violence in the region, particularly in Central America and the Caribbean.

"This funding demonstrates Canada’s strong commitment to enhancing hemispheric stability and security in cooperation with our global and regional partners as part of our government’s strategy for engagement in the Americas."

The funding will support a number of projects the OAS is implementing through its Secretariat for Multidimensional Security to reform security systems and strengthen institutional capacities in the region. Minister of State Ablonczy made the announcement from San Salvador, where she is attending the OAS General Assembly.

"The OAS is a key player in global and regional efforts to improve security in the hemisphere," said Minister of State Ablonczy. "This significant financial contribution is an indication of Canada’s strong regard for the organization, which has proven itself an effective and reliable partner in the delivery of Canadian security assistance."

Canada’s contribution is funded by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada’s Anti-Crime Capacity-Building Program (ACCBP), launched by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2009. The ACCBP provides up to $15 million a year to enhance the capacity of government agencies, international organizations and non-governmental entities to prevent and respond to threats posed by transnational criminal activity throughout the Americas. In Central America and the Caribbean, the ACCBP focuses on preventing illicit drug trafficking, reforming the security sector and preventing crime. In the Americas more widely, the ACCBP also seeks to tackle corruption, human trafficking, migrant smuggling and money laundering, and to investigate proceeds of crime.

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A backgrounder follows.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Ann Matejicka
Senior Communications Adviser
Office of the Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs)

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
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Backgrounder - Canada Supports OAS on Anti-Crime Programs and Projects

Under the Anti-Crime Capacity-Building Program (ACCBP), Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada is contributing to the following projects.

1. Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism

The Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM) is designed to measure efforts carried out by member states of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Latin America and the Caribbean to address the drug problem and related issues, and to stimulate progress in all aspects of drug control. The MEM helps guide policies by identifying strengths, weaknesses and progress. The MEM also makes recommendations and offers technical and financial assistance, and training, to countries to implement the recommendations. Canada’s contribution amounts to $900,000 over five years. This project is being implemented by the OAS’s Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD).

2. Reducing substance abuse, crime and violence in the Caribbean

This project, implemented by CICAD, is one of six components of an integrated capacity-building program aimed at improving long-term drug control and law enforcement in the Caribbean, and preventing and treating drug abuse and dependence. Drawing on the experience of U.S. and Latin American service-delivery agencies, CICAD’s project activities include the provision of drug addiction treatment and rehabilitation, as well as the training of health professionals in the field of addictions. The project will establish a professional cadre with scientific knowledge and technical research skills to study and address drug-related problems through policy design, research programs, high-level decision making, and project implementation, management and evaluation. Canada is contributing $1.5 million.

3. Caribbean counter-drug intelligence centre

CICAD is working to establish a Caribbean counter-drug intelligence centre to provide academic and operational training to law enforcement officers from English-speaking OAS member states in the Caribbean. This initiative mirrors that in which CICAD established the Andean Community Regional Counter-drug Intelligence School in Peru. Courses will be delivered by experts from the region and beyond, and participating countries will partially cover training costs for their officers. The Canadian contribution is close to $800,000.

4. Investigation of Internet drug sales in the Caribbean

In partnership with INTERPOL and the Swedish Police Service, CICAD is delivering to Caribbean officials a series of training seminars on the investigation of drugs sold over the Internet. Canada’s contribution to this effort will total over $330,000 over two years.

5. Caribbean drug-information network

This project seeks to establish and consolidate a Caribbean-wide drug-information network to improve the availability, quality and timeliness of data on drug production, trafficking, and use, and the consequences of these activities in the participating countries. This network will enable states to design better drug policies and programs, more accurately evaluate outcomes and improve the level of participation and results reporting in the MEM. Canada is contributing $190,000. The project is being implemented by CICAD.

6. Training assistance for counter-drug intelligence in the Caribbean

A precursor to the Caribbean counter-drug intelligence centre initiative, this project supports CICAD’s well-established counter-drug training program in the control of synthetic drugs, chemicals and pharmaceutical products, as well as in the application of investigative techniques used in operational counter-drug operations. Canada’s contribution totals over $75,000.

7. Implementation of national drug policies and programs in the Caribbean

Through this project, CICAD evaluates the institutional and legal frameworks and capacities of participating countries and identifies suitable anti-drug policies and programs that are within their ability to execute. This project also clarifies for other CICAD units how their programs might be applied locally. Canada is contributing $77,000. Participating countries are Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

8. National public security observatories in the Caribbean

This three-year project aims to establish and strengthen six national observatories on crime and violence in the Caribbean. Each observatory will collect official data on public security—including through victimization surveys—and analyze and share the results with others. Canada’s contribution is $533,000. The project is being implemented by the OAS’s Department of Public Security in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago.

9. Intervention plan to fight transnational organized crime in El Salvador

Over three years, the OAS Secretariat for Multidimensional Security will develop, implement and evaluate an integrated and validated intervention plan to fight transnational organized crime in Central America using El Salvador as a pilot case. The project’s ultimate objective is to strengthen cooperation among Central American states and hemispheric partners on a systematic, coordinated, and evidence-based approach to targeting and disrupting criminal networks. Canada will contribute $500,000 to this initiative.

For more information, please visit Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program.