OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 10, 2012) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, accompanied by the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Walt Natynczyk, led the Canadian delegation to the 10th Conference of the Defense Ministers of the Americas (CDMA) in Punte del Este, Uruguay from 8-10 October.
Initiated in 1995, this biennial conference is the only ministerial-level forum in the hemisphere to discuss defence and security issues and bring together 34 defence or security ministers from North, Central and South America and the Caribbean. Canada hosted the CDMA in Banff, Alberta in 2008. This year's Conference focused on the following three themes:
- Natural disasters and humanitarian relief efforts;
- Peacekeeping operations;
- Security and defence including a discussion of the inter-American defence system.
Specific outcomes of the Conference included an agreement for CDMA countries to voluntarily share data to coordinate the provision of military support to civilian-led humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts if national authorities request military assistance through established international protocols.
Additionally, the Conference advanced the standardization of hemispheric approaches to peacekeeping operations and also furthered the analysis of the evolving inter-American defence system including the Inter-American Defense Board (IADB), which is currently chaired by a Canadian, Lieutenant-General Guy Thibault.
Notably, the Conference afforded Minister MacKay the opportunity to conduct substantive bilateral meetings with 18 defence ministers of the hemisphere, as well as the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, José Miguel Insulza, the US Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, and ministers from Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Colombia, Jamaica, and Peru, amongst others. Bilateral discussions centered on defence cooperation to address common hemispheric challenges such as trans-national criminal organizations and responses to natural disasters. Moreover, discussions on formalizing defence cooperation were undertaken with key partners.
Canada is a trusted and welcome partner in the Americas and DND/CF are making significant contributions to hemispheric defence and security as part of the Government's comprehensive Americas strategy. Minister MacKay is one of the longest serving Ministers at the Conference
Note to Editors: For more information on the CDMA please see http://www.cdmamericas.org.
To view photos of Canada's participation at the CDMA, please visit the following URL: http://www.combatcamera.forces.gc.ca/site/01/10CDMA12/index-eng.asp