May 2, 2012 - The Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs), today announced Canada’s continued support through new projects to help address security challenges in the Caribbean.
“Disease outbreaks and transnational organized crime do not recognize borders,” said Minister of State Ablonczy. “Their impacts are felt both locally and internationally, representing serious threats to the health, safety and security of Canadians and to Canadian interests. I am pleased to announce that our government is contributing $5 million to support key projects that address these security issues.”
The projects are intended to strengthen biological security and combat transnational organized crime in the Caribbean, which will in turn protect innocent people. A fully equipped modular laboratory will be provided to the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre, in Port of Spain. The laboratory seeks to strengthen capacity for fast detection, diagnosis and response to infectious disease outbreaks in the region, whether naturally occurring or deliberately caused. Canada will also contribute to the development of counter-drug intelligence by providing improved technology and by training people so they have the tools and expertise they need to combat transnational criminal organizations.
Minister of State Ablonczy made the announcement in Trinidad and Tobago, where she is accompanying the Governor General of Canada on his visit to the region. Their visit follows Prime Minister Harper’s trip to the Americas in April, in which he reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to its neighbours in the Americas.
“I am proud of the work that Trinidad and Tobago and Canada have done together,” said Minister of State Ablonczy. “Our work contributes to making the Americas a safer, more democratic and more prosperous region.”
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A backgrounder follows.
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Canada’s contribution is funded by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada’s Global Partnership Program (GPP) and Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program.
Canada’s GPP supports the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction (WMD) by implementing projects that reduce the threat posed by nuclear, radiological, biological and chemical terrorism, as well as by the proliferation of dual-use WMD knowledge.
The Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program focuses on combatting drug trafficking, reforming the security sector, promoting anti-corruption measures and disrupting money laundering in the Americas.
Canada’s $5-million contribution will support several new and ongoing projects led by regional organizations.
Enhanced Biological Security and Disease Surveillance in the Caribbean
Implementing partner: Caribbean Epidemiology Centre
Funding announced: $2.5 million
Time frame: April 2012-March 2013
Through the Global Partnership Program, Canada is providing $2.5 million to strengthen biological security in the Caribbean by providing a fully equipped modular laboratory to the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. This lab will provide much-needed capacity for fast detection, diagnosis and response to infectious disease outbreaks in the Caribbean, whether naturally occurring or deliberately caused.
Strengthened Biological Security and Disease Surveillance in the Caribbean and Central America
Implementing partner: Pan American Health Organization
Funding announced: $950,000
Time frame: March 2012-January 2013
Through this project, 32 countries in the Caribbean and Central America will receive International Air Transport Association-certified biological sample container kits, which will allow disease samples collected in the region to be safely shipped to a laboratory for diagnostics testing. The project will also provide specific countries with protective equipment, training and field kits for advanced molecular diagnostics. These activities will build key capacities in the region to detect, diagnose, respond to and contain a dangerous infectious disease outbreak as quickly as possible. Canada’s contribution is funded by the Global Partnership Program.
Santo Domingo Pact and Managua Mechanism
Implementing partner: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
Funding announced: $910,758
Time frame: December 2011-March 2013
Contributions from Canada’s Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program to this inter-regional technical assistance project seek to support the implementation of regional security strategies to combat transnational organized crime, including illicit drug trafficking, in Central America and the Caribbean. By having access to the tools and expertise needed to make strategic decisions to target transnational organized criminal activities in their respective countries, key authorities will in turn be more knowledgeable about illicit activities in the region as a whole. This will lead to better donor and state coordination. Canada’s contribution of $910,758 builds on a commitment of $743,000 announced by Minister of State Ablonczy in 2011, bringing Canada’s total support for this project to approximately $1.6 million.
National Drug Control System
Implementing partner: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
Funding announced: $330,000
Time frame: April 2009-March 2013
This project strengthens the National Drug Control System (NDS), a computer-based system for international and national drug control, by enhancing its ability to collect data on domestic and international illicit drug transactions, including precursor chemicals. As a result of these system improvements, countries in the Americas will be better able to monitor and manage information regarding the production, trade and trafficking of licit and illicit drugs. NDS is accepted by the international community as the standard tool for illicit drug control information management. Canada is contributing $330,000 to this project from the Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program, building on previous support of $181,000 announced in 2011 during Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit to Honduras. Canada’s support for this project now totals $511,000.
Supply Reduction Technical Assistance in Counter-Drug Intelligence
Implementing partners: Organization of American States, Secretariat for Multidimensional Security, and Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission
Funding announced: $330,539
Time frame: April 2011-March 2014
This project is a continuation of a past initiative that supported the development of counter-drug intelligence schools in the Caribbean. The project provides training to law enforcement, customs, regulatory and other officers concerned with the control of illicit drugs and their precursor chemicals. Project activities will take place in Trinidad and Tobago in the counter-drug intelligence centre established there during the first phase of the project. Canada’s $330,539 support for this project builds on an original $75,000 commitment announced by the Minister of State Ablonczy in 2011. Cumulative support for this project through the Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program now totals approximately $405,540.