Canada Enhances Security in Colombia

August 1, 2013 - Bogotá - Today, during his bilateral meeting with his Colombian counterpart, María Ángela Holguín Cuéllar, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced two new initiatives to help Colombia and other countries in the region respond to a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear terrorist attack.

“Terrorism is a global threat not confined by national borders and is a continued threat to stability in Colombia and the broader region,” said Baird. “Canada is contributing to the protection of civilians from criminal and terrorist threats by strengthening the public security sector throughout the Americas.”

Canada is contributing detection and protective equipment to the Colombian National Police’s chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives (CBRNE) unit in Bogotá. This builds on RCMP-led training delivered to more than 40 first responders by members of Canada’s National CBRNE Response Team in late 2012.

Through the Organization of American States, Canada is also supporting efforts to strengthen the crisis management capacities of Colombia (as well as the Bahamas, Mexico, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago) to respond to a bioterrorist attack.

To learn more about Canada’s relationship with Colombia, visit Canada-Colombia Relations.

Baird is on a 13-day trip to Latin America to advance Canada’s engagement in the Americas, a foreign policy priority with a vision of a more prosperous, secure and democratic hemisphere.

To learn more about Canada’s engagement in the Americas, visit The Americas: Our Neighbours, Our Priority.

A backgrounder follows.

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Backgrounder - Canada’s Contribution to Building Security in the Americas

Canada’s contribution to building security capacity in the Americas is funded by Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada’s Global Partnership Program. The program supports the G-8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction by implementing projects that reduce the threat posed by nuclear, radiological, biological and chemical terrorism, as well as by the proliferation of knowledge related to dual-use weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

Canada’s $1.5-million contribution will support two ongoing projects, described below.

Project 1: Enhancing Colombia’s capacity to detect and respond to a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear terrorism threat

Implementing partner: Canadian Commercial Corporation
Funding announced: $550,000
Time frame: November 2012 to August 2013

Canada’s Global Partnership Program is providing $550,000 worth of equipment that will enhance the Colombian National Police’s capacity to respond to a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) terrorism threat. The equipment, which includes CBRN detection equipment and protective masks and suits, will greatly increase the capacity of the Colombian National Police’s chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives (CBRNE) unit in Bogotá, as well as regional outposts in Colombia, to respond effectively to a CBRN threat. This contribution builds on RCMP-led CBRN training that was delivered to more than 40 first responders by members of Canada’s National CBRNE Response Team in late 2012. The equipment is being delivered in advance of follow-up CBRN training for Colombia’s first responders in late 2013.

Project 2: Bioterrorism preparedness and response training in the Americas

Implementing partner: Organization of American States
Funding announced: $960,000
Time frame: July 2012 to March 2014

Canada’s Global Partnership Program is contributing to a three-year, $960,000 project, implemented by the Organization of American States (OAS), to strengthen the crisis management capacities, contingency plans and response capabilities of Colombia, as well as The Bahamas, Mexico, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago, relating to acts of bioterrorism or WMD use in the Americas. Through this project, the OAS will work with senior policy-makers in the Colombian government to help them prepare or improve formal plans for preventing and responding to WMD terrorism. The project budget has allocated $200,000 to related activities in Colombia.

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