June 5, 2012 - The Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs), today announced Canada’s support of new and ongoing projects aimed at enhancing security, stability and the rule of law in the Americas.
“Addressing the security threats posed by conflict and by transnational crime will help create better conditions for prosperity,” said Minister Ablonczy. “Our government is contributing nearly $4 million in new support for key projects that address these security issues and improve the safety of the region’s citizens.”
The projects tackle some of the hemisphere’s priority issues, including the prevention and mediation of regional conflict, crime prevention and the improvement of border control and security.
Minister of State Ablonczy made the announcement in Cochabamba, Bolivia, where she is attending the 42nd General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS). Minister Ablonczy’s visit follows visits to the Americas by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Governor General earlier in the spring. This ongoing bilateral engagement continues to demonstrate Canada’s strong commitment to the Americas.
“Canada’s support for the prevention, management and resolution of conflict and to combatting transnational crime is unwavering,” said Minister Ablonczy. “It is through working with trusted partners such as the OAS that we can collectively implement initiatives to improve hemispheric and global security.”
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A backgrounder follows.
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Canada’s programs in the Americas enhance security, stability and the rule of law. The projects announced today are being implemented by Canada’s Global Peace and Security Fund (GPSF) and Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program (ACCBP).
The GPSF, managed by the Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force, supports institutional strengthening in the justice and security sectors; the promotion and protection of human rights, particularly for vulnerable groups; community violence prevention and reduction; and mediation and prevention of conflict. The GPSF has invested approximately $110 million in the Americas since 2008, through multilateral, bilateral and civil society partners.
The ACCBP provides training, equipment, and technical and legal assistance to states throughout the Americas to prevent or mitigate transnational criminal activity. The program has invested over $45 million in the Americas since 2009.
Implementing Partner: Organization of American States (OAS) Department of Democratic Sustainability and Special Missions
Funding Announced: $744,000
Timeframe: February 2010 to March 2013
This project strengthens the OAS’s in-house mediation support capacity by placing a Canadian technical expert with the OAS in Washington, D.C. The project creates training opportunities, practical tools and expert networks for mediation on existing and emerging conflict issues in the Americas, especially in the Andean region, the Caribbean and Central America. Canada’s $744,000 contribution to this project builds on a previous commitment of $772,000 announced in 2010. Canada’s cumulative support for this project now totals $1,516,000.
Implementing partner: OAS Office in the Adjacency Zone
Funding Announced: $1 million
Timeframe: June 2012 to March 2013
This project aims to support Guatemala and Belize in resolving their long-standing territorial dispute. National referendums will be held in both countries on October 6, 2013, on referring the border dispute to the International Court of Justice. The OAS provides impartial accounts to both parties of incidents at the border, and these allow a dialogue based on consistent and neutral information. The project also aims to reinforce security at the border by strengthening the capacity of Guatemalan and Belizean security services (police, military and migration) at the border zone, which is the scene of sporadic violent incidents, as well as a fertile ground for drug trafficking and other organized crime activities.
Implementing partner: Centre for International Studies and Cooperation
Funding announced: $1,491,293
Timeframe: February 2012 to December 2014
This project will support specialized training for authorities from Central American Integration System (SICA) member states in methods of collecting, analyzing and disseminating crime data; implementing regional assessment tools; and developing expertise in investigating security incidents, crime and violence. This will result in increased institutional capacity for crime prevention in Central America by building upon and strengthening the capacity of SICA member states and civil society organizations to produce, utilize and disseminate strategic information on regional security, crime and violence prevention. Regional stakeholders will participate in coordination and training activities to facilitate in-depth crime analysis and develop regional crime-prevention strategies.
Implementing partner: Organization of American States
Funding announced: $612,022
Timeframe: April 2011 to March 2013
Through this project, the OAS is delivering training in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Saint Lucia and The Bahamas on border controls for officials responsible for detecting, preventing and combatting criminal activity involving the airports, seaports and land border points of entry. The project aims to provide the participating border control officers with the knowledge and skills required to more effectively combat drug, human and other forms of illicit trafficking; to improve their control over the movement of people and goods through their countries’ airports, seaports and land border crossings; and to more effectively coordinate with each other, other law enforcement entities and prosecutors.