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Canada and Guatemala have a long-standing and positive relationship, spanning more than 60 years. Government-to-Government relations are positive, with ongoing engagement between Canadian and Guatemalan officials to address a wide array of topics of common interest.
Canada remains committed to working with Guatemala in support of efforts to strengthen institutions, rule of law, human rights, inclusive economic growth and prosperity, climate change resilience, and addressing irregular migration and forced displacement. Canada maintains its commitment to contribute to efforts to fight against corruption and impunity and has expressed concern over the ongoing attacks and abuses against human rights defenders in the country, as reposted by local and international organizations. Canada also contributes to the protection and promotion of the rights of the most vulnerable, including women and girls, Indigenous, and rural populations. A good example of positive collaboration between Canada and Guatemala are the thousands of Guatemalan temporary visa holders who travel every year to Canada to work in several sectors. This successful initiative allows Guatemalan workers to make an important contribution to the Canadian economy, as well as to the development and well-being of their own families and communities.
Looking to the future, Canada remains committed to support Guatemala’s efforts towards building a more inclusive, democratic and prosperous society.
Canada supports security programs, including the Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program and the Peace and Stabilization Operations Program, by funding projects aimed at improving citizen security, justice, and fundamental human rights. Other projects have supported initiatives focusing on increasing capacities to address migrant smuggling and human trafficking, kidnapping, extortion, money laundering and the proceeds of crime, security system reform and crime prevention.
The Department of National Defense and the Canadian Armed Forces are engaged in cooperation with Guatemala in the areas of capacity building, peace support operations training, and efforts to address transnational criminal organizations, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
Guatemala is represented in Canada by an Embassy in Ottawa and Consulates in Montreal and Vancouver. Canada is represented in Guatemala by an Embassy in Guatemala City.
Since the launch of the Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP) program in 2009, Guatemalan students have been granted opportunities to study and research in Canada.
Guatemala is Canada's largest bilateral trading partner in the region. Canada’s main exports include cereals, paper and paperboard, fats and oils, pharmaceutical products, fertilizers, and plastics. Canada’s main imports from Guatemala include fruits, coffee, vegetables, knitted apparel, and sugar.
Canada’s commercial engagement in Guatemala covers sectors such as mining, agriculture, clean technologies, infrastructure, information and communications technologies, and forestry. The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service in Guatemala provides support on trade policy issues, responsible business conduct and market access. Canadian officials maintain good communication with local authorities, private sector, chambers of commerce and associations as well as individual companies interested in doing business with Canada. They also participate in and organize events and activities to promote Canadian goods and services.
Canada has had a development program in Guatemala since 1976. Canada’s bilateral programming in Guatemala is aligned with Canada’s feminist international assistance policy and focuses on supporting the most vulnerable, including women and girls, Indigenous peoples, and rural populations through the action areas of Inclusive Governance and Growth that works for everyone, with a strong focus on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls. The bilateral development program supports long-term development, with focus on three of the country’s departments with high poverty levels and where the population is largely Indigenous (Alta Verapaz, Sololá and Chimaltenango).
Canada responded to the Guatemalan request for support during the global pandemic by providing funding for the procurement of medical supplies and systems and distributing vaccines through the COVAX program. Canada has responded to calls for humanitarian assistance in response to natural and man-made disasters like Hurricanes Eta and Iota and forest fires in 2020.
Overall, Canadian development programming in Guatemala, including via the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, is aligned with the Government of Guatemala’s development priorities, as illustrated in Guatemala’s National Plan of Development. Canada is also committed to addressing:
- the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement:
- lack of economic opportunities, inequality and the exacerbating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic;
- insecurity and violence, including sexual and gender-based violence;
- climate change and recovery from hurricanes Eta and Iota;
- governance, corruption and impunity issues;
- systemic gender and ethnic inequality; and
- women’s rights, including sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Partnerships and organizations
To develop effective responses to today’s most pressing global challenges, Canada and Guatemala work closely in multilateral fora, such as:
- International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
- International Criminal Court (ICC)
- Open Government Partnership (OGP)
- Organization of American States (OAS)
- United Nations (UN)
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
- World Trade Organization (WTO)
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