Ottawa – Defence Minister Anita Anand concluded her participation in the 15th biennial Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas (CDMA). The CDMA is a forum for defence ministers and secretaries of the Americas to discuss shared defence and security principles, priorities, and values. This was Minister Anand’s first official trip to Brazil and the first CDMA to be held since she became Minister of National Defence.
Thanks to Canada’s leadership, the Declaration of Brasilia signed by all CDMA members recognizes by consensus that conflicts such as the invasion of Ukraine are not legitimate means to settle disputes. The Declaration also reaffirms states’ “inalienable commitment to the defence of the values of self-determination, national independence, respect for territorial integrity, protection of civilian populations, freedom from foreign oppression, respect for internationally recognized borders, and national sovereignty – principles upon which all CDMA member states were founded.”
In addition to states’ unanimous declaration of the invasion of Ukraine as not legitimate, “Canada Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Paraguay, the United States of America and Uruguay reiterate their condemnation in the strongest possible terms the Russian Federation’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.”
At the Conference and in her bilateral meetings, Minister Anand reaffirmed that sovereignty, self-determination, and territorial integrity are common foundations of nations of the Americas, and that when these principles are undermined, our safety and prosperity are at risk. As a consequence of Russia’s illegal and unjustifiable war of choice against Ukraine, energy prices are soaring, trade goods are stuck, grain exports are blocked, and food prices are skyrocketing – in the Americas, and around the world.
The Declaration of Brasilia also commits to advancing several priority files, including promoting participation in peace operations, the preservation of environment and climate resilience, and advancing the full and meaningful participation of women in defence activities.
During her trip to Brasilia, Minister Anand held meetings with counterparts from Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Uruguay. Minister Anand discussed opportunities to collaborate on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, the advancement of women, peace, and security, and gender equality, and cyber defence.
Minister Anand reinforced Canada’s commitment to peace and stability in the Americas, and noted Canada’s important defence contributions in the hemisphere. With her counterparts, Minister Anand discussed Canada’s Operation CARIBBE, through which Canadian ships and aircraft are tracking and intercepting suspicious activity both on the water and in the air. This multilateral effort is disrupting dangerous criminal organizations in the region, and has led to the seizure of more than $620 million (USD) worth of cocaine.
Minister Anand also recounted that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Armed Forces delivered more than 82,500 kilograms of vital COVID-19 related supplies to countries in this region via a hub in Panama, through Operation GLOBE. She also reaffirmed Canada’s strong commitment to assisting hemispheric partners facing natural disasters, as the Canadian Armed Forces did during hurricanes Irma, Maria, and Dorian through Operation RENAISSANCE. Additionally, Minister Anand highlighted Canada’s Military Training and Cooperation Program, which has delivered non-lethal training to over 7,800 students from Latin America and the Caribbean.
Engagement with partners from the Americas through CDMA and other fora are important to national continental and hemispheric security, stability and defence. Under Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, Canada has committed to collaborative work with partners throughout the hemisphere to develop strategic capabilities, encourage operational flexibility, and foster military professionalization. By building and leveraging strong bilateral defence relationships, Canada can develop new and innovative solutions to common defence and security challenges.