Baird Announces Initiatives to Enhance Prosperity Across Americas

June 4, 2014 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today announced Canadian support for five projects that will increase economic opportunity, improve security, strengthen institutions and foster lasting relationships throughout the hemisphere.

Canadian federal departments, agencies and Crown corporations are engaged in more than 550 activities annually in the region in support of the Strategy for Engagement in the Americas, including negotiation of trade and economic agreements, capacity building in the areas of security and defence, and promotion of academic and cultural exchanges.

“Canada is a trusted investor, a reliable supporter of local solutions and a dynamic partner for study, research, business, innovation and sustainable economic growth,” said Baird.

“Canada, as the second-largest donor to the Organization of American States [OAS], contributes to the advancement of the organization’s goals in the region. Canada will continue to collaborate with like-minded member states to implement reforms within the organization that deliver results, improve effectiveness and increase accountability.

“Our engagement in the Americas is delivering results, both for Canada and for our partners in the region.”

Baird is travelling to Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia and Ecuador from June 1 to 6, 2014, to advance Canada’s engagement in the Americas by reinforcing regional cooperation and collaboration, advancing economic opportunities, promoting Canadian values and fostering meaningful and lasting relationships. During his trip, Baird will meet with several of his counterparts and deliver a speech at the OAS General Assembly where he will discuss hemispheric cooperation.

For more information on Canada’s engagement in the Americas, please visit The Americas: Our Neighbours, Our Priority and Panorama. For more information on Baird’s visit, please consult Baird Visits Latin America.

A backgrounder follows.

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Backgrounder - Projects Funded in Latin America

Election Observation in Colombia

This project supports the OAS Election Observation Mission (EOM) to Colombia, which is observing the various rounds of the 2014 presidential elections. The EOM serves as a confidence-building measure for Colombians by assessing whether the elections meet international standards for democratic elections. The presence of international election observers also contributes to stability during the election period.

Public-Private Partnerships to Reduce Violence Against Women in Guatemala

This project aims to reduce the number of women experiencing violence in four of Guatemala’s departments. Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada contributed to the Inter-American Development Bank basket fund for the project in March 2014.

The project helps strengthen the Government of Guatemala’s efforts to combat violence against women by helping to promote the economic empowerment of women in abusive situations who are economically dependent on their abusers. It does so by training officials of the Ministerio Público (Guatemala’s office of the attorney general) on a revised model for service delivery to victims of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV); establishing partnerships between private sector employers and SGBV victims as well as training victimized women in income-generating activities; launching awareness campaigns in the four targeted departments; and installing a monitoring and evaluation system at the Ministerio Público.

For more information, please consult Public-Private Partnerships to Reduce Violence Against Women in Guatemala.

Enhancing Cyber Security Capabilities in the Americas (OAS Member States)

This project will bolster cyber infrastructure protection and incident response capabilities in Latin America and the Caribbean by delivering technical training to enhance the capacities of national authorities to deter, respond to and investigate criminal exploitation of critical information infrastructure, information systems and networks. The project will also help the countries involved develop and implement national cyber security strategies.

For more information, please consult Enhancing Cyber Security Capabilities in the Americas.

Strengthening Anti-Crime Capacity in the Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras) - Phase II

This project will provide specialized equipment and advanced training and coaching to 3,540 judges, police officers, prosecutors, crime scene technicians and analysts working for recently established law enforcement units in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. These units will investigate gangs and organized crime organizations and collect evidence for prosecution purposes.

For more information, please consult Strengthening Anti-Crime Capacity in the Northern Triangle.

Trilateral Initiative with the Government of Mexico via SICA to Strengthen Police Criminal Investigation Techniques in Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras)

In cooperation with the Security Strategy of the Central American Integration System (SICA), Canada and Mexico will finance two specialized training courses on criminal investigation techniques for 20 police officers and information analysts from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. These intensive courses will provide an in-depth understanding of techniques in police analysis and intelligence, as well as police counter-intelligence.

For more information, please consult Trilateral Initiative to Strengthen Police Criminal Investigation Techniques in Central America.