And the Most Transparent Aid Donor Is…UNDP

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The UN Development Program is atop a new list published by the International Aid Transparency Index. And in case you were wondering, China is on the bottom. Overall, donor countries are off pace to meet their promise to join the transparency standard by the end of 2015. “A lot of progress was made at the political level in the early days of aid transparency, including a promise to publish aid information to an internationally-agreed common standard by the end of 2015,” said Rachel Rank, Director of Publish What You Fund. (Humanopshere http://bit.ly/1BSDrNG)

Man who brought Ebola to USA Dies…Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, died on Wednesday morning at a Dallas hospital. This was the first death of an ebola patient in the developed world. “Duncan became ill after arriving in the Texas city from Liberia on Sept. 20 to visit family, heightening concerns the world’s worst Ebola outbreak on record could spread outside of the three worst-hit West African countries. About 48 people with whom Duncan had been in contact are being monitored.” (Reuters http://bit.ly/1BSHk5p)

Most of the world’s governments are taking measures to reduce the worst and most hazardous forms of child labor, according to a major report released by the U.S. Labour Department. (IPS http://bit.ly/1vRfh6C)

Ebola

Britain will send 750 troops to West African state Sierra Leone to help build an Ebola treatment centre, the BBC reported on Wednesday following a meeting of the government’s emergency response committee chaired by Prime Minister David Cameron. (BBC http://bit.ly/1t36PlQ)

The deadly Ebola epidemic could deal a $32 billion-plus blow to the West African economy over the next year if officials cannot get it under control, the World Bank warned Wednesday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1BSF4uW)

Sierra Leone burial teams have gone back to work one day after organizing a strike over pay and abandoning the dead bodies of Ebola victims in the capital. (AP http://yhoo.it/1BSE75Y)

Travelers arriving in the United States from Ebola-stricken Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea will face mandatory screening measures for the deadly virus as soon as this weekend, according to a media report on Wednesday. (CNN http://bit.ly/1BSHHNg)

The United Nations mission in Liberia says a second member of its staff has contracted Ebola. In a statement Wednesday, the mission said the international medical official is undergoing treatment, but did not specify their nationality. (VOA http://bit.ly/1t38QOU)

Africa

An angry crowd killed a Muslim man in the capital of Central African Republic overnight, decapitating and burning his corpse, and in revenge Muslims killed a taxi driver, witnesses said on Wednesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1t36gYY)

A court in Tanzania granted bail to an opposition member of parliament on Wednesday and eight others after charging them with illegal protests for demonstrating last week against a draft constitution. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1t36X4F)

The new head of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Ellen Margrethe Loej, called for “the guns to fall silent” in South Sudan to allow the United Nations and aid agencies to stop focussing on protecting people from violence and start helping the young country to grow. (VOA http://bit.ly/1vRf8ji)

Somalia’s first-ever cash withdrawal machine has been installed in the capital, Mogadishu. (VOA http://bit.ly/1qjb0Cm)

MENA

The governments of Europe and the United States have criticized Israel for announcing it will build 2,600 new housing units in a sensitive part of East Jerusalem. (VOA http://bit.ly/1t39oUK)

The U.N. refugee agency on Wednesday said it was urging the European Union to overhaul its policy toward Syrian refugees, warning the number of fatal accidents at sea could rise further as winter approaches. (AP http://yhoo.it/1BSEQ71)

Asia

Pakistan is losing ground in the battle against polio, with the country suffering its worst outbreaks in more than a decade, but suspicions about the vaccine itself are also proving an obstacle. (VOA http://bit.ly/1BSMrlX)

Five Afghan men were hanged on Wednesday for the gang rape of four women despite the United Nations and human rights groups criticising the trial and urging new president Ashraf Ghani to stay the executions. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1BSDU2s)

Authorities sealed off villages in Myanmar’s only Muslim-majority region and in some cases beat and arrested people who refused to register with immigration officials, residents and activists say, in what may be the most aggressive effort yet to force Rohingya to indicate they are illegal migrants from neighboring Bangladesh. (AP http://yhoo.it/1BSEFbP)

Indian PM Modi, in his biggest attempt at fiscal change since he swept to power in May, has been less bold than some would wish, steering clear of reforming the most sensitive and costly benefits – food and fertilisers. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1t356gf)

Rescuers and fishermen found eight survivors and 17 bodies Wednesday after two days of searching for a motorboat lost since its captain reported an engine failure off Indonesia’s main island of Java. (AP http://yhoo.it/1t35Zp4)

Cambodia enacted a regulation Wednesday to protect nightclub hostesses and other adult entertainment workers under the same laws that protect other workers’ rights, a move that was hailed by the U.N.’s labor body. (AP http://yhoo.it/1BSFZvx)

Protracted fighting in northern Myanmar is displacing entire villages, including those of ethnic Palaung, who say they need more help to build up local civil society groups to allow aid to flow more effectively to their people. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1t37p2K)

The Americas

Colombia must invest at least $44.4 billion to implement a peace deal with Marxist rebels to end a 50-year conflict, says a senator who backs the current peace talks, adding the amount is much less than the cost of waging war. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1t36nUv)

As sea levels rise, tidal flooding along the U.S. coast is likely to become so common that parts of many communities, including the nation’s capital, could become unusable within three decades, according to a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1t353AV)

Opinion/Blogs

Meet the Company That’s Bringing the LED Revolution to the Developing World (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/Zep2i6)

When it comes to aid, learn from those who know what poverty is really like (Guardian http://bit.ly/1t37gML)

Alibaba.com: Supermarket for torture devices? (GlobalPost http://bit.ly/1BSHTfz)

A big deal in the ICC: 6 questions with GlobalPost’s Tristan McConnell http://bit.ly/1BSHWb2)

Rethinking US Foreign Assistance: MCC Tops US Government in Aid Transparency Again (CGD http://bit.ly/1t37eVl)

Alternatives to refugee camps: Can policy become practice? (IRIN http://bit.ly/1BSIKNb)

Marine Protection as Stand-Alone Goal for Post-2015 Agenda? (IPS http://bit.ly/1qjbpor)

How do donors imagine more effective humanitarian aid? (OECD http://bit.ly/1qjbLv4)

Africa On the Rise – a Myth or Reality? (New Times http://bit.ly/1qjcFYG)

Journalists Must Avoid Mass Hysteria Over Ebola (allAfrica http://bit.ly/1vRgIC1)

Categories: Uncategorized

Address by Minister Baird to the International Institute for Strategic Studies

August 3, 2014 – Singapore

Check Against Delivery

Good morning, and thank you for that kind introduction. It’s great to be here at the IISS [International Institute for Strategic Studies] with such a distinguished audience.

I’d like to thank all of you for deciding to start your no doubt busy week by listening to me tell you about how great my country is, and how much I know about Asia.

Does that kind of speech sound familiar? I can’t promise that I won’t do those things, but I did want to take this opportunity to reflect on where I see this region going, and how Canada can and will play a part in that journey.

It’s a good time for me to do so. I’m in the middle of a journey of my own: a two- to three-week tour of East and Southeast Asia.

I’ll be referencing “Asia” a lot in this speech but I’m mostly referring to the Asia-Pacific region, given the focus of my trip.

A trip of this scale gives me the opportunity to visit a few of the big partners at the same time—as well as Singapore, I’ve been to Beijing and Tokyo, and I’ll be going to Jakarta, Hong Kong and Guangzhou.

But I have also had time to get out to some of the newer, less traditional partners.

I made the first visit of a Canadian Foreign Minister to Mongolia, and the first ministerial visit to the young country of Timor-Leste. I will conclude by attending a dialogue with ASEAN as part of my second visit to Burma.

More seriously, I learn primarily through talking to people. During these travels I have listened to and learned from fellow foreign ministers, business leaders, community leaders, security experts, activists and expats.

From these conversations it’s become very clear to me that Canada and Asian nations have more common interests—and collective needs—than ever before.

And that is my message today.

Canada is well placed in the Asia-Pacific. We have strong common interests.

But in an increasingly unstable world, we also have a collective need, not just a desire, to work together.

Canada as a Pacific nation

Let me say at the outset that I am optimistic about the future for Canada and Asia—not just because of specific policies and priorities, but because of our very nature.

Those who know Canada will know that we are, unequivocally, a Pacific nation.

Asia has been, and remains, an important part of Canada’s nation building. We have welcomed large waves of refugees from Korea, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia who were displaced by war.

When Hong Kong was reverting to mainland rule, large numbers of residents found new homes in Canada. More recently, we welcomed large numbers from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

And we remain open to immigration from Asia today.

Some 60 percent of all new immigration to Canada continues to originate in Asia. It’s a higher number for foreign students, at almost 70 percent. And it is our fastest growing region for tourist arrivals.

Our Asian-Canadian demographics are central to our core identity. They are part and parcel of the basic fabric of our society. And they are one of our greatest strengths as we commit to deepening partnerships in the Asian region.

In fact, in demographic terms, you could say that Canada is as much an Asian country as is Singapore—5 million Canadians claim Asian origin—and that’s the same size as the entire population here.

You could also say that we have the most Asian major city outside of Asia. Almost half—43 percent—of all residents of Vancouver have Asian heritage. Even in Toronto, our biggest city, that figure is over a third.

These are not just numbers. They make a real difference.

The cultural understanding, family links, business ties and language skills of Canadians of Asian heritage are the rivets and buttresses of the Pacific bridge.

To anyone who says that Canada’s geography is a barrier rather than a bridge to deepened relations with Asia, I would point out that Shanghai is closer to the coast of British Columbia than it is to Sydney.

A flight from Vancouver to Beijing is also shorter than one from Sydney. The same is true for Tokyo and Seoul.

Modern connections with Asia and Singapore

For these and many other reasons, Canada already has a deep and growing presence in Asia. Today, Canada’s diplomatic network in Asia is stronger than in any other region. And it is growing.

In the days ahead, I will open our new embassy in Yangon, with more expansion planned elsewhere.

Our first Trade Commissioner abroad was dispatched to the region more than 100 years ago. Some of our great corporations have roots in Asia of more than a century.

I am very aware that for much of humanity’s existence, Asia has been at its centre—Asia as a leader in commerce, governance, science, literature and the arts.

Whenever there is spare time in my schedule, I always make a point of going to at least one cultural or historical site per visit, and I’ve come to develop a real appreciation for Asian art in particular.

Last week in Beijing, I toured some of the museums in the Forbidden City, looking at ceramics that were many centuries old—yet still relatively modern in the context of its ancient civilization.

But what’s changed in the 21st century, compared to the 16th and earlier, is that we are no longer a planet of largely disconnected regions.

We are now an interconnected and interdependent global society, a single pan-regional marketplace that never sleeps, and a marketplace of goods and services, but also of information and ideas.

The world of tall ships, feudal courts, distant frontiers and the occasional marauding army has given way to instant communications, global brands and multinational companies.

In this hyper-connected world, a prosperous Asia means a more prosperous world. What happens in Asia is now instantly felt across the globe.

That means we not only have a stake in Asia’s prosperity, but also in its peace and security, and in its governance.

Given Canada’s open economy and trade dependence—among the highest in the G-7 with some 60 percent of GDP and one in five jobs tied to exports—this is no small matter to Canadians.

We have learned that countries don’t prosper by accident.

Those who capitalize on global opportunities do so through sound policies, political leadership, international strategies and informed populations.

Canada’s traditional trading patterns have naturally involved the United States and Europe. We now know that we must diversify our economic relationships.

And we know that trading relationships don’t happen in isolation from political and security engagement.

We can look to our friendship with Singapore as the benchmark for this level of engagement. In 2015 we will celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations between our nations.

Singapore is home to thousands of Canadians—a magnet for over $2 billion in Canadian direct investment and a key ally on regional security.

Canada, too, is a key gateway to North America for Singapore. Many of Singapore’s economic and government leaders have studied there. And it invests more in Canada than any other Southeast Asian nation.

I’m looking forward to meeting my counterpart later today to discuss how we can maintain this momentum.

Trading with a changing Asia

I believe that what Canada has to offer meshes neatly with the changing needs of transformed Asian societies.

As incomes rise, Asian populations are looking for safer, higher quality and diversified food products.

Export markets are transitioning into consumer markets.

Populations are demanding a more sustainable environment—in particular improved air quality, but also cleaner water and greener energy.

Families want better educational opportunities to succeed in competitive societies, and insurance services they can rely on.

And modernizing economies means a demand for secure supplies of high-quality raw materials.

Canada is a world leader in each of these fields.

We have world-class companies that are keen to deepen partnerships in the region. We also have smaller, innovative, and rapidly growing firms that are ready to get started.

In turn, as Asian firms are expanding their global reach, our doors are open to Asian direct investment in Canada in these and other sectors. And you’ll find that we have one of the most business-friendly economies in the world by any objective measure.

Our growing trade in China—across ASEAN, and with other major Asian markets—is a testament to this synergy. China has now become our second-largest trading partner after the United States.

My colleague, Minister of International Trade Ed Fast, just announced another four trade offices there, increasing our network of diplomatic and trade offices to 15 and our team of Trade Commissioners to 100.

Canada is, of course, engaged with the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. At the same time, we have just completed negotiations for a free trade agreement with Korea, and are actively negotiating others, including with Japan and India.

We have the unique advantage of not only being a bridge from Asia to North America under NAFTA, but now also to Europe with the recent agreement in principle on a huge Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.

We also know, however, that we can’t afford to be simplistic about Asia.

We know that the process of modernization and development has been uneven in the region. Some Asian nations are being left behind. And progress in some cases remains fragile.

Canada is stepping up its development support in several countries to address these outstanding challenges. We are building on development assistance to Asia over six decades, with current contributions totalling $1 billion every year.

Global instability

So I think we’ve established the reasons for increasing trade and development in Canada and Asia: our closeness geographically, historically, demographically and economically.

But I believe the collective need for this engagement comes from external reasons just as much as internal.

In the coming years it will be a constant challenge for Asia to keep its balance in an increasingly unstable world.

I won’t go through all of the global trends and crises, which an audience of this quality is more than familiar with, but I think it is becoming a fact of life.

When we met last week, my Chinese counterpart said he believed the world is now systemically unstable—and he was quoting from our former British counterpart William Hague.

An inordinate number of column inches and web pixels have been dedicated to the rise of Asian economies, and the world’s increasing dependence on them.

What I don’t think we hear enough about is the growing dependence, even vulnerability, that this creates for those Asian nations too.

I began this speech by showing off about how much time I’ve spent in Southeast Asia in recent years. But I have to admit that there is another region that has as many plane tickets with my name on it: the Middle East.

It is a priority for obvious reasons. In this hyper-connected world, instability in places like Iraq and Syria can have a direct impact on the stability of places like Indonesia and Singapore.

For example, when ISIS began to roll across Iraq, oil prices surged and Asian stock prices fell. So just as transforming Asian nations have evolving economic needs, I believe they have evolving diplomatic needs too.

Growing economies and stature on the world stage should bring with it growing responsibilities beyond domestic and regional borders.

This is already happening to some extent. In my bilateral meetings last week in China and Japan, we spent as much time talking about global issues like Ukraine and Gaza as we did about bilateral issues.

Canada is an outward-facing, open trading nation. We have a long-standing interest, and yes sensitivity, to global issues.

But if that is a problem, we are also a major part of the solution.

I believe there are three strategic areas in which Canada can make a meaningful contribution to stability in Asia: governance, energy security, and security cooperation.

Stable, democratic governance

Let me start with governance and democratic development.

“Stability” has in the past been a watchword for autocrats who seek to justify their top-down control.

But we know that this is a superficial stability, certainly in the medium to long term. My friend the foreign policy commentator Ian Bremmer, describes this well with the “J-curve” concept that the most stable countries are those that are open and democratic.

I have to say, after the seemingly inevitable march of democracy in the later decades of the last century, it often feels like progress has stalled over the past decade.

Fortunately, some of the great democracy success stories of the last generation are found right here in Asia: Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Mongolia.

I am optimistic about a fresh era in Indonesia following its historic elections last month.

This hasn’t been made public yet, but I’ll actually be meeting with president-elect Joko Widodo this evening. So I’m very much looking forward to that.

India’s recent election was also breath-taking in its sheer size, scope and complexity.

But there are clearly also continuing challenges in the region. In some cases, democratic practices are sliding backwards and reforms are stalling.

Vietnam’s restrictions on bloggers. Thailand’s military coup. Sri Lanka’s oppression of its Tamil minority. Pakistan’s vibrant civil society under assault by extremists, sometimes with the support of deep state actors.

And probably worst of all, North Korea’s insistence on remaining in its democratic and moral darkness.

This darkness is quite literal too—if you look at night-time satellite images of the region, there is a North Korea-shaped black hole next to the bright lights of South Korea and other neighbours.

We, of course, need to understand that democratic development takes time. Cultivating a culture of democracy involves entire societies, the old and the young, the rich and the poor.

And we need to engage and support societies as a whole—governments and civil society alike.

To avoid doing so risks nations being held back—both individually and the region as a whole.

Societies that fail to develop democratic checks and balances, transparency and accountability, and freedom of expression, contribute to instability and risks of conflict.

Just look at Russia.

The decline of the Russian Federation’s democratic space in recent years has contributed to a leader who is increasingly insulated from reality, and isolated from his own people.

This has resulted in an aggressive foreign policy, reckless actions, delusional justifications, and an economy in a tailspin.

Russian’s illegal annexation of Crimea was a reversion to 19th-century practices. And its dangerous provocations in eastern Ukraine resulted in the shocking downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

Successful and enduring societies of the 21st century are not built on strongmen and secrecy. They are rooted in democratic norms and standards, independent institutions, the rule of law and accountable, representative governments.

Democracy is not just about elections. And democracy takes work—from those governing as well as from the governed. It is a journey, not a destination.

Canada is committed to working together with our Asian friends and partners to ensure that this region continues to move forward as a region of democracies. The people of Asia, and the world as a whole, will benefit.

Energy security

The second strategic area I would highlight is energy security.

The IEA [International Energy Agency] projects that most energy demand growth will take place in Asia, with China and India alone accounting for half of that demand expansion.

In a time of global concern about risks in energy supply, the world is looking to Canada as a stable, reliable, resource-rich partner.

We have been blessed with enough resources to become an energy superpower.

Canada has the third-largest proven oil reserves. We are already the fifth-largest crude oil producer and the fifth-largest natural gas producer. We are the second-largest uranium producer and exporter, and a major producer of renewable and clean energy sources.

Not to mention our stable economy, society and democracy.

Secure energy supplies are key to sustained and predictable economic growth in this region, at a time when current sources are predominantly in the volatile Middle East, North Africa and Russia.

This coincides with increased energy self-sufficiency in the United States, Canada’s primary destination for current oil and gas exports.

So there is a natural and mutually beneficial potential to significantly deepening the Canada-Asia energy partnership.

Asia needs more energy—reliable energy. Canada is a natural supplier.

But we have work to do. Canada is committed to expanding our infrastructure to bring our energy to tidewater.

Energy has the potential to transform Canada-Asia relations. It is up to all parties to make that happen. It is in our collective interests to do so.

Security cooperation

Third, and not entirely unrelated to energy security, is the need for security cooperation.

The number of security fault lines and trip wires in Asia are multiplying. They are also becoming more dangerous and unpredictable.

It’s becoming widely recognized that more must be done through institutions in the region to deter, manage and respond to these security tensions.

The world’s prosperity now depends on stability in Asia at least as much as it does on a peaceful and responsibly governed Europe or North America.

The world’s most active shipping lanes are in Asia. Two-thirds of the world’s container traffic comes from here. It is difficult to overstate the importance of Asian seas to global prosperity.

Canada is, naturally, deeply concerned by the rise in tensions surrounding maritime boundary disputes.

We don’t choose sides in maritime boundary disputes. We even have a couple of our own, and we deal with these peacefully.

We do, however, call on nations in the region to refrain from provocative actions, to commit to peaceful solutions, and to strengthen the institutions and norms that can underpin regional stability.

The stakes are too high to fail.

Canada is prepared to do its part to help strengthen peace, security and stability in Asia. And we are well positioned to do so.

We are a founding member of regional institutions, such as APEC and the ASEAN Regional Forum.

Canada has a long and proud tradition of involvement in Asian security.

Whether serving in India, Burma and Hong Kong during WWII, or in the more than 60 missions in the region since 1947—including, of course, the Korean War, and most recently in Afghanistan.

We have stood with our allies and friends in Asia. And we are not turning our backs on Asian security now, nor will we in the future.

I believe that Canada can continue to make a difference in areas of defence and security of priority to the region, and where Canada can really add value—not just maritime security, but in areas like cyber security, military medicine, and counterterrorism capacity building.

A key vehicle for our support is ASEAN. We see ASEAN as a vitally important institution in the region, and welcome its work with China toward establishing a code of conduct for the South China Sea. We urge all countries in the region to embrace such a code.

While in Jakarta tomorrow, I will meet with ASEAN’s Secretary General, Le Luong Minh.

And I can announce today that Canada is committing additional funds—building on the $30 million I announced last year in Brunei—to enhance security cooperation in ASEAN. This funding will help tackle non-traditional security threats such as trafficking and radicalization.

Canada also believes that the East Asia Summit has the potential to evolve into an organization that can play a more consequential role in addressing the complex challenges—economic, socio-cultural, security—that Asia and Canada face together.

We have already signalled our willingness to join the East Asia Summit as soon as it is ready to expand its membership. And we are encouraged by the strong support that Canada’s candidacy has received from across the region.

Conclusion

If we get them right, increased democratic development, energy security, and security cooperation can be pillars of stability in this region.

A secure, stable world is something we should all care about as a value in itself, but seeking it isn’t just about liberal internationalism or being an altruistic global citizen.

The cold hard economic facts demand it too. Prosperity is inextricable from stability and security.

You can’t maximize the potential of a country when its people’s needs are not being satisfied by responsible, responsive governance.

You can’t have a free flow of crucial resources like LNG [liquefied natural gas] when a key maritime area like the South China Sea is bubbling with tensions.

You can’t have a sustainable reliance on certain Middle Eastern sources when a clerical regime in Iran threatens to start a nuclear arms race.

You can’t have open trade when it is necessary to take actions like sanctioning Russia over its provocations in Ukraine.

And frankly, you can’t have a prosperous air industry bringing the world together when planes are being shot out of the sky.

As I conclude, I’d like to reaffirm that on all of the themes I have discussed this morning, Canada’s engagement is particularly strong with Singapore.

This strength comes from the bonds of common values, joint interests and a mutual and enduring commitment to work together in advancing them.

I’d also add that this strength comes from personal connection to my Singaporean counterpart, whose advice I’ve come to greatly value.

I want this to be reflective of our relationship with the rest of the Asia-Pacific region. Canada’s common interest in this region’s peace, prosperity and role in global affairs is clear.

We have deep roots here, and as I have tried to explain today, I firmly believe that both Canada and the countries of the region can and will benefit from deepening them further.

We have an unprecedented opportunity to do so. But it won’t come about without energetic and strategic leadership.

Let’s seize that opportunity today.

Thank you.

Global solutions to save the world’s oceans

European Commission

[Check Against Delivery]

Maria Damanaki

European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

Global solutions to save the world’s oceans

“Re-energising the Oceans” conference

Brussels, 30 June 2014

Dear co-chairs of the GOC, ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning and welcome to “Re-Energising the Oceans”.

Some of us have seen quite a lot of each other lately, in what we affectionately call now “the June of the oceans”: a month that has been dense with high-level appointments on ocean governance.

And it’s not just June: in the past few months discussions have gained pace, declarations have multiplied. Importantly, the media are starting to pick up the story of the oceans, and this is very positive. People should be aware of the issues at stake.

When the Global Ocean Commission was created, with the goal of finding workable solutions and feasible ideas on those issues, I was hopeful and relieved. Here in Europe, I was already trying to make a difference on ocean governance and painfully aware of the magnitude of problems.

Now, a year later, their Report comes with perfect timing. It will help to take the momentum further and energise the discussions that we have only just started.

When the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea was signed thirty-two years ago, it was a turning point in ocean governance.

And as Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, I am proud to say that the Convention has guided the EU ever since.

But three decades later, just like the internet calls for rules against cybercrime, new bio-technologies or underwater systems call on us to regulate new activities especially in deep sea waters, in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

The current system is fragmented and uncoordinated. So far we have tried to palliate with ad-hoc arrangements between different bodies and countries, but in essence the system is ineffective. For instance it prevents us from having cumulative impact assessments or from having the marine protected areas recognized globally.

The kind of coordination we need can only be obtained through a systematic process; and this is why the European Union is so committed to an update of the rules through UNCLOS.

Clearly only a mix of elements would work, as the UN Working Group already agreed to in 2011: marine protected areas, environmental impact assessments, capacity building and rules on the transfer of marine technology, genetic resources and benefit sharing.

So let us agree to make progress; let us do away with any outstanding issues. The EU will work with all countries to ensure that we have a satisfactory result by August 2015.

Within the EU we have introduced transformational change with regard to fisheries. Since 1/1/2014 we have a new common fisheries policy, sustainable and science based, phasing out discarding and implementing the same principles for European vessels worldwide. Through this new policy we have banned all types of subsidies at European level, that lead to overcapacity and overfishing. Our European fund has no granting for fuel subsidies at all.

Allow me now to come to a global problem also mentioned in GOC report: illegal fisheries

Illegal fishing has to be eradicated from the high seas, and this is why the EU uses its diplomatic weight to push for rules like the UNCLOS or the United Nations Fish Stock Agreement to be enforced worldwide.

We also use our considerable market weight and I’m grateful to the Global Oceans Commission for highlighting this important aspect in its paper. In practice the EU requires that any fish import be accompanied by a catch certificate. In other words the fish has to be caught legally; otherwise it won’t get into our market. And we go further.

We work with other world nations to promote compliance with international law. When a country clearly does not respect its international obligations, we give them a fair warning and time to set things straight. We have done so with 13 countries in the last two years. Ten of them then complied, but three didn’t. So earlier this year the EU adopted our first ever trade ban with Cambodia, Belize and Guinea Conakry.

In just over four years the EU has become the frontrunner in the fight against IUU and we are making a difference. Many third countries are now taking their international duties much seriously.

The EU is also stepping up its efforts to address the marine litter problem. It has agreed to set a reduction target for marine litter by 2020, to move towards Rio + 20 commitments. We In European Commission are going to propose this target soon.

On offshore oil and gas the EU has put in place the highest risk based standards for operation within its territory. We well come of course binding efforts for reducing risk, as well as ensuring effective emerging response, regardless of where operations take place, in line with the polluter pays principle.

The other soft spot identified by the Global Oceans Commission is the performance of RFMOs. We cannot ignore their presence. I think the focus at least for right now should be on improving what we have.

How? – you may ask.

We start from the basics – at least that is what the EU has done. Our new reformed policy now tells us what to do: we are to improve the compliance committees of RFMOs, develop scientific knowledge and advice, manage stocks on a sustainable basis, apply effective and deterring penalties, carry out performance reviews and fix what needs to be fixed.

All this renews the thrust for our work in RFMOs, so I very much welcome the urgency you bring into this discussion. The GOC has made a recommendation for turning the high seas into a regeneration zone in case of no results. The vision is clear and high ambitious. The European Union clearly supports the establishment of marine Protected areas. Referring to the closing of all high seas fisheries we have a number of questions and concerns on the consequences for the fisheries in other areas and the complicated governance issues of such decisions. This issue needs further examination and discussion to be based on science, impartial decision making procedures and control mechanisms.

Ladies and gentlemen,

What is needed at international level is a change of perspective. We need to see the bigger picture. A holistic and comprehensive approach is the basic requirement for a healthy and resilient marine environment. As I said: no fences. Integration is the name of the game. It is gaining ground in all our Member States and beyond, as is our blue growth agenda. So far we have given special attention to promising maritime sectors such as marine biotech, aquaculture, ocean energy, deep sea mining and tourism. We think that with a focused research effort and steps to improve the environment for innovation, these sectors can prosper in a smart and sustainable way.

A key tool to ensure sufficient marine space for concurrent economic activities is maritime spatial planning. If all goes well our legislative proposal should enter into force after the summer and it is a historic achievement. For the first time in the world, countries have a legal obligation to cooperate in planning their seas across borders.

Spatial planning gives operators certainty on whether and what economic developments are possible, where and for how long. It will speed up licensing and permit procedures, and will provide good management of the cumulative impact of maritime activities. It a huge and real step for marine governance in Europe.

At the same time there is also an overall need to get a deeper and better understanding of how our oceans work, how they interact with the climate and how economic activities affect the marine environment.

Ocean observation, mapping and forecasting are essential in this vein. This is why the EU has directly and explicitly geared its financial support, and particularly its research funds, towards the sea.

Since last year, the EU, the United States and Canada have started a transatlantic research alliance which is to cover observing systems and ocean stressors, as well as research in the Arctic region, a fragile environment that is undergoing enormous change in terms of temperature and human activity.

We hope to see similar forms of cooperation with and between other countries in the future.

Needless to say, the private sector will have a big role to play in this sustainable growth model. Any firm operating in transport, oil and gas, fisheries, aquaculture or coastal tourism is entirely dependent on ocean resources, services and space. They will have to take up a corresponding responsibility for marine environmental protection, in Europe and in the world.

To conclude, ladies and gentlemen,

The EU perspective to the ocean challenge is one of caution and common sense. We don’t want to open up the seas to unbridled growth or a lawless gold rush. But we think that controlled, smart and fair development is possible.

We need cooperation with international community, to create one common front. And we need it now.

Now, His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco has been kind enough to send us a video, let us listen to his views.

Thank you.

Press Releases: Remarks on the Trafficking in Persons Report 2014

MR. RATHKE: Okay. Thank you, operator. I’m Jeff Rathke, director of the Press Office here at the State Department. And today we’re doing a call with Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, who is Ambassador-At-Large to Combat Trafficking in Persons. So today’s call will be on the record, but it will be embargoed until the end of Secretary Kerry’s rollout event.

So Ambassador CdeBaca has been in this position for a number of years; he doesn’t really need any introduction to most of you. So I will just turn it over to him and ask him to give us introduction to this year’s report, and then we’ll take some questions afterwards. So please, Ambassador.

AMBASSADOR CDEBACA: Thanks, Jeff. Hello, everybody, and welcome. As Jeff said, Secretary Kerry will be unveiling the 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report. This, of course, is a congressionally mandated report that has us look at the governments around the world and what they are doing to combat trafficking in persons – modern slavery – through the lens of what we call the 3P paradigm of prevention, protection, and prosecution. And in fact, I think as you see the embargoed copy of the report that I think many of you have, you’ll notice that each of the narratives of what’s happening in the countries actually are laid out in that fashion so that you can kind of see exactly how it is that we are analyzing the countries, and frankly, what the evidence is for the eventual ranking.

The rankings – the – it’s a four-tiered ranking system, and so – because it was made by us in the United States by our Congress, it has three tiers for its four-tier ranking. Let me explain what that means. We have Tier One, which is a country that’s actually meeting the minimum standards of fighting human trafficking. And those minimum standards are set out in our trafficking law of 2000, but really track the international standards and best practices that we see around the world. A Tier Two country is one that is not meeting those goals but is striving to do so and has results that you can point to to show that it’s doing a decent job, but could definitely improve.

A Tier Two Watch List – and this is how we get four tiers out of a one, two, and three. The Tier Two Watch List is kind of like a C minus or something like that in the American grading system. It’s warning the countries that are on the Watch List that they are in danger of falling to Tier Three. And one of the biggest categories for that is if what the country is doing is simply in the form of promises of future action. Again, we look for results. And if we can’t show the results on the ground, the actual outcomes, et cetera, then that does not bode well when we’re doing the analysis. And then finally Tier Three, which is a country that is not responding sufficiently to its trafficking problem, isn’t taking those affirmative steps forward, and we’re not – excuse me – seeing the progress that we need to see, especially in light of their particular trafficking problem.

So that’s a quick tour through the tier rankings, and I think that a lot of folks are very interested in that, much like horserace coverage of elections. But I want to talk a few of the top lines as well, as far as what are we seeing in the global fight against modern slavery this year. Very quick review of what we’re talking about when we talk about human trafficking, the definition – this is a umbrella term that the United States Government considers to cover all of the activities involved in reducing someone to or holding them in a condition of compelled service. So there’s nothing in there about moving them across international borders. There’s nothing in there that limits it simply to women or girls. There’s nothing in there that limits it to only in other countries. And there’s nothing in there that limits it only to prostitution or the sex industry as opposed to other forms of trafficking.

So each year for every one of these countries, we’re looking at what are they doing for all of the populations that are victimized by trafficking: How are they helping them? Are they prosecuting the perpetrators and bringing them to justice? And are they working to prevent? And when I say “they,” I mean all of the governments that we look at.

And one of those governments is the United States. The United States has been included in the trafficking report since 2010. The State Department began to rank ourselves in that report for two reasons. First of all, I think that there was a sense during the Obama Administration that it was simply a matter of fairness to all of the other countries; if we’re going to hold them to these minimum standards, that we needed to hold ourselves to them as well. But then also the notion of as a diagnostic tool. If these 11 minimum standards that you’re supposed to look at to see whether you’re doing a decent job on fighting trafficking – if those are truly to be a good diagnostic, then we owed it to ourselves to apply that diagnostic and to see where we could be doing better as the United States.

As far as that’s concerned, I want to just make the point that I think many of you may have already heard me or the Secretary say, which is that no country is doing a perfect job on the fight against human trafficking, and that includes the United States. We are all in this together, because we’re seeing people around the world – whether it’s in agriculture or whether it’s in mining, whether it’s in manufacturing, whether it’s in the sex industry, whether it’s as domestic servants – that when you have unscrupulous and cruel bosses and vulnerable people, you have a recipe for human trafficking. And that’s as true here even in the Washington, D.C. area and the suburbs, as it is in countries around the world.

So I’d certainly, although I think that we’ll probably be looking at some of the other countries, I’d certainly recommend to you all the U.S. narrative as well so you can see what the U.S. Government is doing but also what’s happening out in our communities across the United States, whether it’s to Native American girls, whether it’s to vulnerable men and women because of a disability or a drug addiction, or whether it’s to the young men and women, boys, and girls, who fall prey to the blandishments of pimps who offer a better life and opportunity.

Let me take it a little bit more international though. This year, we see of the 188 countries that are on the report, we see some movement up and down. There’s, I think, some real progress stars, I guess, for lack of a better word, some countries out there that have – that we’ve seen some real progress on. For instance, both Chile and Switzerland are moving up to Tier One on the report this year. Switzerland because they took aggressive steps to close some legal loopholes that actually inadvertently made it legal for people to have children in prostitution. Chad has really stepped up on victim identification and demobilization of child soldiers. We’ve seen the first convictions in the Bahamas and Aruba – small countries, small island countries that, frankly, five years ago would’ve said that they didn’t have any human trafficking. But they’ve realized that it’s something that they have to look for. And once they’ve looked for it, they’ve found it and been able to free some of its victims.

We’ve seen the first government-run shelter being opened by the Government of Jordan. The – a new law recently passed in Haiti – the first time now in 215 or so years in which it is now a crime to enslave someone in Haiti, a law much-awaited in South Africa that we hope will be a good tool in that which is very much the destination country for the southern tier countries in Africa. And even a country that has historically not been a leader on human rights issues, Sudan, the enactment of a modern human trafficking law that’s really the culmination of that government’s coming out and wanting to be able to have those modern tools so that they can help their own citizens and others who might be enslaved and exploited.

There are also downgrades, and I think that that’s something that we see every year – countries that are perhaps taking the foot off the gas pedal a little bit or aren’t doing the kind of work that we would see under the law. And I think one of the things that’s, of course, since the 2008 reauthorization that is of particular note under the U.S. law is what we call the auto-downgrade provisions of the law. This came into effect fully last year for the first time. The law in 2008 basically said that countries cannot be on that Tier Two Watch List that I described a minute ago for too many years in a row, because there was a concern, frankly, on the part of Congress that strategic countries and other countries were being given a bit of a pass and not being taken down to Tier Three but holding steady on Tier Two Watch Lists almost, it seemed to Congress I think, interminably.

And so they put a time limitation on that and – by which time a government has to either improve or will be dropped down to Tier Three on the report. There were seven such countries this year that were in that situation no longer eligible for a waiver in the U.S. national interest. And those were Afghanistan, Barbados, Chad, Malaysia, the Maldives, Thailand, and Venezuela. And what we’ve seen is the two – excuse me, three – of those Tier Two Watch Lists auto-downgrade countries were no longer eligible, and we concluded that there hadn’t been the type of sufficient progress to justify an upgrade. And those were Thailand, Malaysia, and Venezuela. And so each of those countries has now been placed on Tier Three in the report.

In the other countries – Afghanistan, Barbados, Chad, and the Maldives – in each of those countries we see fresh activity. We see new commitments to doing work. We see this notion of cases being done in the first place or victims being helped in new ways. And it’s certainly something that is welcome. And frankly, these are countries who may not have, if it weren’t for the pressure of the auto-downgrade and the good work of our men and women out at our embassies in those countries and others to work with them, might not have been able to make that journey.

I want to say two things about sectoral issues that we’ve been identifying that may be news to some. I think that many people may be aware of some of the abuses that we’ve been recognizing in the last few years in the fishing industry. And in fact we’ve seen the fishing sector now – 51 of the narratives in the TIP report this year are identifying abuses in the fishing industry. And that’s both men that are enslaved out on the boats out at sea and folks in the seafood packing huts and things like that.

But we’ve also seen forced labor in mining noted in the narratives of 46 countries and zero prosecutions or convictions around the world. So we’re very much looking for countries to step up on the mining sector, and that’s everything from things that we might call conflict minerals in Africa or conflict diamonds in North Africa, Northwest Africa, or what we see with the gold mining sector, for instance, in Peru and other places.

And sadly, just as we’ve seen in the fishing industry or the logging industry, there are follow-on effects of a subsidiary sex trafficking that happens – basically men who are enslaved in these camps, held in debt bondage through the old company store scheme, they then bring the women in to serve them as well. So whether it’s in Guyana, Peru, or other places like that, you end up seeing sex trafficking related to the mining sector. And we want to commend Senegal for being the only country in the world this last year who actually achieved a conviction of folks for holding girls in sex trafficking in that mining sector.

Lastly, just want to also point out that there is the child soldiers and Child Soldier Prevention Act list, which is part of the trafficking report each year. And this year one of the countries on that was removed, and that is Chad, as I mentioned earlier, who’s, I think, coming at this with a real energy now. And we hope that we’ll continue to see that on their part.

So I think perhaps we should turn it over and do some questions. Jeff, I’ll leave it back to you.

MR. RATHKE: Thanks very much, Ambassador. Operator, could you please inform everyone or remind them how to register – intend to ask a question?

OPERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, if you would like to ask a question, please press * then 1 on your touchtone phone. You will hear a tone indicating you have been placed in a queue, and you may remove yourself from queue at any time by pressing the # key. If you are using a speakerphone, please pick up the handset before pressing the numbers. Once again, if you have a question, please press *1 at this time. And a moment here for the first question.

MR. RATHKE: All right. That’s great. We’re ready to go to the first question then, so could you please call the first question, operator?

OPERATOR: Our first question comes from the line of Dana Hughes at ABC News. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi. Thank you for doing this. I have a question about what role you see governance or the breakdown of governance in these rankings. For example, Thailand’s been downgraded and they had a coup. Chad is really increasing its governance. Do you see a direct correlation?

AMBASSADOR CDEBACA: Well, it’s interesting, because the Thailand narrative and the Thailand ranking is based on everything that happened from April 1st, 2013 through March 31st, 2014. And so the coup that you mentioned didn’t happen within that time period. Obviously, there was some fraying around the edges within the Royal Thai Government, and yet the committed folks within the government who were trying to work on this within their own agencies, the – some folks at the Royal Thai Police and folks in the ministry of health and social development – they continued to go out and try to fight trafficking because it was something that they had that personal commitment to.

What we see that’s, I think, perhaps somewhat relevant to that in the Thailand situation that’s very much part of the – kind of permeates the narrative is the anchor on those good efforts of those good people that public corruption and complicity on the part of government officials then places around those who would try to do better. So I think that that kind of corruption and its effect on governance directly undercuts the good work of the folks who are trying to get everything right.

It’s interesting because I think that what we see is this is a rule of law problem. It’s a human rights problem as well. But there are a number of countries in which the government functions at a very high level that human trafficking victims simply aren’t on the radar. And I think that that’s reflected kind of throughout the report that rule of law only is going to work for trafficking victims if governments affirmatively try to bring it to bear on the plight of these vulnerable communities.

So while some of those kind of looking at instability and looking at general governance issues, there often seems to be some correlation. I think that we’ve also seen a lot of human trafficking in cases that are – in countries that are viewed as being governed well and that do well on indices, whether it’s Freedom House or otherwise.

MR. RATHKE: Okay, thanks. Could we move on to the next question, please?

OPERATOR: Okay, our next question comes from the line of Jo Biddle at AFP. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Hello, good afternoon. Thank you very much. I wanted to ask you about sanctions. I know that there’s a possibility that downgrades can be accompanied by sanctions if the President so decides. And last year we saw Russia and China both downgraded into Tier Three. Were there any sanctions that were accompanied with that, and do you anticipate that with these new downgrades of Thailand, Malaysia and Venezuela that there could be sanctions forthcoming if they do not get their act together?

And I had a follow-up – a different question as well, but perhaps I’ll just ask that one first.

AMBASSADOR CDEBACA: Of course. The sanctions determination is something that we’ll be turning to at this point. There are not just those three countries that are on Tier Three. In fact, there are 23 countries on Tier Three this year. But I think that what we look at each year is, first of all, we have to see what is it that the sanctions analysis has to look at. And first stop is to actually look at what foreign assistance we have because that’s really what we’re talking about. The sanctions here is whether or not the United States will continue to provide foreign assistance. So the first thing that we always have to look at is what is being provided to those particular governments and then also to look to see to what degree we’re providing aid that goes directly to helping fix the thing that we’re trying to solve. So you certainly wouldn’t want to halt the – any assistance that’s going specifically to increasing the capacity of our partners in those governments to fight human trafficking or to help its victims.

So those are some of the things that we’ll take into account as we work with the White House and as we give our recommendations to the President. At the end of the day, this is his decision. And last year, the three auto-downgrade countries that you mentioned – China, Russia, and Uzbekistan – the President decided that it was in the U.S. national interest and would promote the purposes of the trafficking law to waive sanctions against them as well as several other countries. And those are countries that we, again, are very much wanting to and feel we can engage with in order to move forward.

Last year, full sanctions were applied against Cuba, Iran, and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and partial sanctions were applied against the DR Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Sudan, Syria, and Zimbabwe.

QUESTION: Okay, thank you very much. And I wondered if I could ask about – I had another question. I wondered if I could ask about the situation in the United States. You give the United States a Tier One ranking, but I believe there have been some issues with money, funds running out for shelters for survivors, and there’s also an issue of, particularly in the sex trafficking, with children being treated as criminals rather than being treated as victims and ending up in front of courts or in cells instead of in – or in police cells rather than in shelters. I did note in the report that you say that there’s much more to be done still in the United States. What are you recommending specifically for the United States in terms of improving your own balance sheet?

AMBASSADOR CDEBACA: Yeah. I mean, I think that to the notion of the funding issues, clearly a lot of social service providers, not just in the trafficking arena but others as well, that were depending upon per capita type of reimbursements from the United States Government, didn’t necessarily get those as quickly as they could have last year. We had a number of things, including the near – the government shutdown and the sequester and other things like that.

Our funding stream that HHS – the Department of Health and Human Services – does is actually – it is a per capita reimbursement. It’s not a kind of one-time grant at the beginning of the year that then the nongovernmental can draw down on. And one of the reasons for that is that there are thousands and thousands of service providers across the United States who may encounter a trafficking victim, and it may be that that’s not their fulltime job, so they wouldn’t be writing a grant specifically for that.

My understanding is that those reimbursements were able to continue and that folks have been backfilled for any monies that they spent on behalf of the trafficking victims. But I think it does show that there’s a need for better thought to be put in.

And that was one of the reasons why, on the plus side of the column this year, we announced in January at the White House the first-ever victim services strategy for the United States, which was brought together by the President’s interagency task force to actually look at this action plan. And we’re very proud of the fact that that was brought in with close consultation with survivors of trafficking, so that we could hear what it was that they had been through, what they saw as the shortcomings.

One of the things, frankly, that we’re having to deal with is a bunch of legacy systems. The child protective services systems in all of the states, each grew up independently and they grew up at a time before the Trafficking Victims Protection Act started looking at child prostitutes, for instance, as victims rather than as criminals. So going back to each state now and trying to get it so that they can make it very clear that these are not delinquent children but dependent children under each of the state laws and making sure that the child protective services understands that these are not criminals but victims is unpacking a multi-billion dollar effort across 57 states and territories as well as at the federal level.

So I think that, in looking at that and looking at the problems of the foster care system, et cetera, we’ve started to see not only the Administration but Congress focusing on that. But at the end of the day, all of the money that’s been appropriated for human trafficking work and all of the legislative fixes to some of those programs are just a drop in the bucket compared to the enormous child protective services structures that we need to turn around to recognize the trafficking victims in their midst.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. RATHKE: Okay. Thanks. Next question please.

OPERATOR: Next question comes from the line of Luis Alonso at AP. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi. Good afternoon. Many thanks for doing this. I have two questions as well, if I may. The first one is I couldn’t find a regional summary of the report, so I would like to ask if you could please give – provide us with a comment on the Western Hemisphere, how – what the general trend, how many countries were downgraded – how many countries were downgraded, is it improvement or not compared to last year?

And my second question is, given – related to the unaccompanied minors that are coming through the south border from Central America, is – we all know that the United States has put all those kids into removal proceedings right now. If a big number of them end up being deported and go – sent back to their countries where there is extraordinary violence and many presence of human trafficking, do you foresee that the United States could drop the Tier One position because of this element of the unaccompanied minor who comes into America? Thank you.

AMBASSADOR CDEBACA: Well, let me answer that backwards with the second question first. I think that one of the things that we’re doing is that we are working with the governments in the region to try to improve not only the situation so that families don’t feel that they have to get their children out of harm’s way, whether it’s with gangs or otherwise, but also so that those children can be reunited with their families back home.

The law in question, of the unaccompanied alien minors, is looking to protect them, and which is one of the reasons why the Department of Health and Human Services is involved, unlike with adults who would be interdicted at the border. And in fact, one of the things that is done as part of the unaccounted – unaccompanied alien minor screening is to see whether or not those children were victims of trafficking in that situation. And as with all folks who come before the immigration judges and go through the system, we hope that that kind of screening would be able to help us find the people who need the particular services that trafficking victims so desperately need, and to be able to get them those services.

As far as the hemisphere as a whole, I think that is some movement up, there is some movement down within the hemisphere. Perhaps the most notable downgrade in the hemisphere is not the Venezuelan story from Tier Two Watch List down to Tier Three, but rather the downgrade of Colombia, a country that’s been on Tier One for many consecutive years. I think that what it stands for is the notion that Tier One is not a reprieve, it’s a responsibility, and the responsibility to continue to investigate cases, to continue to seek out good victim care interventions, and to look at all forms of trafficking. The Colombians were focused so much on international sex trafficking of Colombians and transnational cases that cases of Colombians at home and others, whether it was in the mining sector, whether it was in the sex or domestic servants, simply weren’t registering. And as a result, we now see them on Tier Two.

So the movement on the one hand of Chile up to Tier One because of the new law that they passed a few years ago and their very aggressive stance in enforcing that new law unfortunately then is kind of paired with the Colombian situation, where a bit of stagnation cannot keep a country on the highest level.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. RATHKE: Okay. Thanks. Next question, please.

OPERATOR: Our next question comes from the line of (inaudible) at US News and World. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi. Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit more about Thailand’s downgrade, specifically the government’s shortcomings, considering all the media reports this last year or so discussing their human trafficking problem and why the government has failed to really address it.

AMBASSADOR CDEBACA: Well, as I said earlier – and I want to make it very clear that we know and we have worked with some very good actors in the Thai Government who are kind of on the front lines who are trying very hard to make a difference over there. But the widespread official complicity in human trafficking that continues to hinder their performance against sex trafficking and forced labor, the government as a whole did not demonstrate serious efforts to address that. It made few efforts to address forced labor and debt bondage among the most vulnerable communities – the foreign migrant workers, including in the fishing industry.

And even though we saw this notion of some better data collection and some – an uptick in investigations by the royal Thai police, those didn’t necessarily translate over into completed convictions. You’ll see in the report, for instance, a situation where some Burmese members of a conspiracy were arrested and ended up being sentenced to 30 years in prison for their role in trafficking men in the fish industry, and yet the Thai co-conspirator, who held 14 men in confinement as part of the slavery scheme, he ended up only getting three months as an alien smuggling conviction.

And so we’re looking at each of the cases that we know about. We’re looking at the situations on the ground to see – is this something that the bosses in the brothels and the bosses in the fishing packing sheds and things can simply brush off as business as usual? Is it something that they can bribe their way out of? Or is it something that has real teeth going forward? And we look forward to working with the Thais in the coming year to not only provide that real teeth, but hopefully achieve some real results.

MR. RATHKE: Okay. Thank you. Next question, please.

OPERATOR: All right. Our next question comes from Josh Stilts at Intrafish Media. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi. Thanks again for hosting this. You said earlier that there were some 53 countries that have shown instances of slave labor or human trafficking in the fishing and seafood industries. Beyond Thailand, what other instances are you guys seeing?

AMBASSADOR CDEBACA: I think it’s actually 51. Sorry if —

QUESTION: Fifty-one, sure.

AMBASSADOR CDEBACA: — I misspoke. Well, we’ve seen, as far as a country that’s acting, the Indonesians have actually arrested some folks and there’s prosecutions going there. But there are some very nontraditional places. There – I don’t think a lot of people think of South Africa necessarily in this context, and yet the South Africans suddenly found themselves with a boatload of fishermen with – who had been basically shanghaied from Cambodia. We’ve seen in the Caribbean, in Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica, situations where this has been discovered on the boats; Costa Rica on the west coast, finding Chinese fishermen in these dire straits; African men and African children on boats in the gulf off of the Green Coast and everything kind of ranging down from Liberia all the way down to Nigeria.

And I think that that’s one of the things that the more we look at this, the more we find this in surprising places. There were reports this last year by Stella Maris, the apostolate of the sea, which is the Vatican’s kind of specialized unit of – I call them the sea priests, who go out on the boats to try to mission to the fishermen. And at a conference that the Pope hosted in – earlier this year with those priests, suddenly there were reports coming out from the fishery in Scotland of abuses up there.

So I think it’s something that we’re hearing about. We’re hearing about it on inland fisheries such as Lake Victoria and Lake Volta, but we’re also hearing about it in the Baltics and in, as I said, places as unusual as Scotland or South Africa.

MR. RATHKE: Okay. Thanks. Next question please.

OPERATOR: Our next question comes from Maya Rhodan from the TIME magazine. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi. Thanks again for the call. I have a question about the LGBT community and how – can you just speak to how instances of trafficking that involve LGBT people were factored into any of the rankings or if there are any countries where this is a particular issue or if there’s still more digging around that needs to be done on that?

AMBASSADOR CDEBACA: I’m very glad you raised that. It is something that we’re seeing more of. I think that it’s something that, because it’s been so taboo for a lot of countries to even admit that these communities are part of the social fabric, much less worthy of protection, that in some ways we’re just kind of opening the bidding on this issue. I think a lot of folks are aware of and know of issues of survival sex of the homeless kids who are in many ways trying to put together their own families and their own communities. But I think a lot of folks, whether it’s in the public health arenas or even in the LGBT activist communities, have tended to look at that and not see the pimps and the controllers that sometimes are behind that.

And we’re seeing in a number of countries around the world – I remember last year, when I was in Kenya, for instance, the interplay, the horrible interplay between on the one hand the effects of terrorism in the northeast and even in Somalia, with families trying to get their kids out of that area so that their sons don’t have to be fighters for Shabaab, and then they end up in sex trafficking down on the coast in the tourist zones. And I think it’s one of those things where, because of attitudes against the LGBT community, a lot of folks that were even working or willing to talk about other forms of trafficking were having a very hard time even wanting to admit that those young boys might have been in human trafficking situations.

And this happens in the United States. There was a case, I think it was last year, in the Atlanta area where a man was convicted for human trafficking of a teenaged American kid who, frankly, he lured in because of that kid’s loneliness and seeking to have some meaning as he struggled with his own sexuality.

So it’s something that we’re going to be looking at a lot more carefully. It’s like the fishing issues a few years ago, where we had just started to hear it, and then now that we’re looking for it, we’re seeing it in a lot of different places. I think that we’re going to be seeing more coverage of this in the coming years. And we’ve started having conversations with some of the key players in the United States, like the Human Rights Campaign and others, so that we can bring to bear the folks who are working in the affected communities.

MR. RATHKE: All right. I see – I think we have three questions remaining, so we will go through those, and then we will wrap up from here. So, operator, could you call the next question?

OPERATOR: All right. The next question comes from Jeanine Stewart at Undercurrent News. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Thank you for having this, first of all. So first off, I’m wondering two things. How much has human – has the human trafficking problem grown in the fishing industry in 2013 over 2012? I’m just curious, is this a growing problem or is this just something that we’ve become more aware of with Thailand in the spotlight over it? And also, how much certainty is there in the investigation? Can you reveal anything about how they were conducted or how sure the State Department is that Thailand’s officials were complicit in some of the human trafficking that occurred? Because I – since I know that the Thai Government has said that’s not true. So how do we weed through the “he said, she said” on that one?

AMBASSADOR CDEBACA: Well, I think that what we’ve seen in – as far as complicity in Thailand is whether – it’s not just in fishing but in a number of different sectors, the very reputable researchers, whether it’s your Human Rights Watches, whether it’s Transparency and some of the other indices looking at corruption as an issue. But specifically, there’s I think been some very good reporting even by the media as opposed to by academic researchers or others as to the involvement of Thai officials. And that’s something that’s reflected in the narrative.

One of the things that’s also reflected in the narrative is then how the parts of the Royal Thai Government have responded to that type of reporting by journalists being charged with criminal defamation —

QUESTION: Mm-hmm.

AMBASSADOR CDEBACA: — journalists and the folks who are willing to reprint articles even being charged. So that notion of not only is there, we think, good and solid reporting by a number of different actors, whether it’s, again, activists, academics, or journalists, but also the work that’s being done increasingly now by the food industry itself. And we very much encourage the seafood industry to start looking at these supply chain issues. We know that they can trace their product from the store shelf all the way back to the particular boat. We’ve seen the bar codes on the tubs, the plastic tubs of shrimp in the packing shed that are required that if there’s a health outbreak, they can take it all the way back to the particular shed, take it all the way back to the particular boat.

So since we know that the shrimp and the fish is traceable in those instances, we think also that what the particular captains and what the labor brokers that are working with them are doing needs to be something that comes under the microscope for the companies and their consumers as well.

MR. RATHKE: Okay, our penultimate question please, operator.

OPERATOR: All right. Our next question comes from Dmitri Zlodorev from ITAR-TASS. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Hello. My name is Dmitri Zlodorev. I am from ITAR-TASS news wire service of Russia. You placed Russia to the third group, and how you would characterize the U.S.-Russian cooperation in this area? And am I right that right now you are not plan to impose sanctions against Russia? Thank you.

AMBASSADOR CDEBACA: Thank you, Dmitri. We can’t speak to sanctions at this point in time. It’s something that the White House will be looking at for all of the countries on Tier Three, and so I can’t speculate as to what would happen on that. I think we had talked about that a little bit earlier as far as last year was concerned.

But your question as far as what kind of cooperation between the United States and Russia on this, we’ve had a – I think a good dialogue over the years on human trafficking with our Russian counterparts. And we’re looking forward to what we hope will be some efforts in the coming year. We know that the government submitted an anti-trafficking action plan to the National Security Council and at this point has not heard back. We think that that certainly would be a very good step, to have a public and transparent anti-trafficking action plan. And it would be a sign of political will on the part of the Russian Federation.

One thing that I would like to say as far as U.S.-Russian cooperation is that we have been able to continue to work together over the last year to announce a trafficking shelter in St. Petersburg with space contributed by the municipality – so Russian government funding – and support from the United States Embassy in Moscow. Now that shelter is only going to be able to hold and serve eight trafficking victims, and the scope of trafficking in Russia that’s pointed out in the report, with the migrant foreign workers and others, is many, many more than that. But we do feel that it’s a good step and that we hope that working together, the Russian Government and the United States Government and the Red Cross partners will be able to provide a better life to the women who are able to avail themselves of that shelter.

MR. RATHKE: Okay, thank you. Next question, please.

OPERATOR: Our next question comes from Teresa Busa from EFE. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Thank you very much. I wanted to ask you about the specific case of Venezuela. I wonder if you could comment on that: how bad the situation is and what are the most worrying trends, and how is the U.S.-Venezuela cooperation in this area?

AMBASSADOR CDEBACA: Indeed. Well, thank you for your question. I think that we were – a few years ago, as you know, Venezuela was brought up off of Tier Three in recognition of a number of cases that they were investigating and what looked like a commitment to working jointly between the police and the health service. And unfortunately, this last year we just haven’t really been able to see those same type of efforts. There’s a little bit of awareness raising and tourism training, but unlike most of the countries in the world, there’s not an interagency coordinating council that’s been brought together around the issue. There’s not an action plan or even a draft action plan. There’s no formal mechanism to identify the victims, and there’s no shelters that are designated for trafficking victims. In many ways, it seems that all of the victim care in Venezuela is being done by the nongovernmental organizations or by the international organizations.

And so we call on Venezuela to step up and to be involved in the victim care. And there’s so little public data on law enforcement that it does not appear that there were any reported convictions in 2013, as opposed to in 2012, where at least we were able to identify one person convicted of sex trafficking.

So as with all of these countries, we very much want to continue to be able to work together on this. This is a shared problem. It affects Venezuela, it affects the United States, and it affects the Western Hemisphere. And so we’ll be looking for ways in which we can continue to try to engage with the Venezuelans.

MR. RATHKE: Operator, we would have time for one final question, if there are any in the queue.

OPERATOR: All right. We did have one final question from Matthew Russell Lee at Inner City Press. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Sure. Thanks a lot, and thanks for taking the question. I was looking at Myanmar – Burma – and also at Sri Lanka. And in both cases, it seems to say – the report seems to say that that government is either, in the case of Burma, directly involved in trafficking in coercion; or in the case of Sri Lanka, suspected of complicity in it. So in those two cases, I wondered as the U.S. sort of re-engages with Myanmar or Burma, how does this issue get raised and how is it going to be resolved? And the same in the case of Sri Lanka where there’s this human rights inquiry. Is this – what can be done in terms of actual government complicity in trafficking?

AMBASSADOR CDEBACA: Well, it’s interesting. Let me start with Burma. We – this is one of the first things that we re-engaged on. I was in Burma within I think about three weeks or a month after Secretary Clinton took her first historic trip there, and when I met with Aung San Suu Kyi, one of the things that was very interesting to me was that she recommended to me that I needed to talk to her jailor. And I asked her, “What do you mean?” And she said, “The guy from the secret police who was assigned to me to be my warden all of these years would bring me articles on human trafficking off of the Internet, and we would talk into the night about how we would work together to help end human trafficking and slavery for our people if things ever changed.” A lot of people forget that she spent her Nobel Prize money while she was in prison. She sent it World Vision, an NGO, to provide food and shelter for about 200 Burmese trafficking victims in Thailand. The first place that she went after she was able to travel was to the shrimp-packing sheds in Thailand where so many Burmese are affected by this crime.

So it was interesting to see not only her, but then eventually what came true is the new head of the anti-trafficking unit – the central body against trafficking in persons for the Burmese Government in the new era – is the very person who she recommended to me that we should work with. He’s written a book on trafficking; he’s gone to other parts of the region. I think there’s a real desire on the part of the Burmese Government to engage and to bring on some of these modern approaches.

And to that end, they even passed a law abolishing the 1907 Villages and Towns Act, which is what gave them the legal ability to enslave their own people. So the notion of giving that up as part of the process of opening up to the outside world. I think that, as with every country, there’s a long way to go, and we’ll continue to work with them. We have an established and formal dialogue with them that was agreed to by both presidents during President Obama’s visit a year and a half ago, and it’s something that I’ve been to Burma for that dialogue and will be, I think, going again in the fall for the second round of that. So we’re – in that situation, I think that we’ve got a formal way to work with them.

Sri Lanka on the other hand, I think that that’s a bit of a work in progress. We don’t see – first of all, we’re not digging out of the years of exclusion from the international community that we had seen with the Burmese Government, but we’ve got this notion of three years in a row the trafficking statute that they have, which is a pretty good one – it prohibits all forms of trafficking, which not every SAARC country, not every country in the region has laws that prevent forced labor as well as sex trafficking – and yet three years in a row without any convictions, no services really for male trafficking victims, sex trafficking victims punished, and the folks who come home from overseas, no real way to screen for or help them the way that other source countries like the Indonesians and the Filipinos have.

So I think that there’s a long way to go, but they have this inter-ministerial structure that they have now adopted, and I think that for us both here in Washington and at the Embassy in Colombo it provides us some interlocutors who we hope that we’ll be able to work with going forward.

QUESTION: Just one follow-up on Burma. Do you see this issue of the Rohingyas, is it – does it make them susceptible to trafficking, this kind of stateless status? And how – do you have more – do you see this – do you see it through the light of trafficking, or is it a separate issue?

AMBASSADOR CDEBACA: Well, I think that we see with any displaced and vulnerable communities that are suffering from social exclusion, and I think that the plight of the Rohingyas has pretty been – has been pretty well documented. That is the type of population in which we often see in this type of situation.

Now, I mean, obviously, we remain concerned about all of the humanitarian issues that are around the Rohingya and other vulnerable ethnic and religious communities. We actually shed some – a little bit of light on this both in the Burma narrative but also, frankly, in the Thai narrative as we’re looking at the exploitation and even alleged sale of Rohingya refugees once they get to their destinations as they’re moving for all these different reasons.

QUESTION: Thanks a lot.

MR. RATHKE: Okay, thank you very much, participants. That’s the end of our question period. Want to thank Ambassador CdeBaca once again and thank you for your questions. A reminder this call is on the record but it is embargoed until the end of the Secretary – Secretary Kerry’s rollout event. Thanks once again, and we’re signing off here.

Canada’s Defence Relations in the Asia-Pacific Region

As a Pacific country, Canada considers its relations with its Asia-Pacific neighbours a priority. Canadian security and prosperity are linked to the vitality of Asia’s economy and the stability of the region. In support of this agenda, the Department of National Defence (DND) and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) are committed to strengthening peace and security in the region and enhancing their engagement in Asia-Pacific.

From our commitment of resources towards humanitarian and relief efforts following Typhoon Haiyan, to our participation in regional military exercises and high-level defence fora, we are proud of the steps that we have taken in recent years to bolster defence relations and increase cooperation with Canada’s partners in the Asia-Pacific region.

Multilateral Defence Relations and Regional Military Exercises

Multilateral Defence Relations

Contemporary defence and security challenges in the Asia-Pacific region, such as criminal networks, territorial disputes, natural disasters, terrorism, as well as concerns about the freedom of movement at sea can reach beyond the borders of a single state and affect the security and defence of the entire region. Responding to these challenges and mitigating their effects demands multilateral, regional responses: concerted, cooperative efforts that involve many countries pooling their resources, coordinating their efforts, and increasing interoperability between armed forces.

Multilateral defence relations are an important component of Canada’s overall engagement in the Asia-Pacific region. From a defence perspective, DND/CAF supports Canada’s diplomatic relationships in part by participating in a number of high-level multilateral defence meetings and conferences. An important example is the annual International Institute for Strategic Studies’ Asia Security Summit in Singapore. This premier, inter-governmental event is a crucial venue for dialogue on the security and defence of the region, and is attended by ministers and chiefs of defence from Asia-Pacific and beyond. This year, General Tom Lawson, chief of the Defence Staff of the Canadian Armed Forces and Richard Fadden, Deputy Minister of National Defence, attended the Summit, which was an opportunity to exchange best practices and discuss opportunities for increasing collaboration with Asian partners and other traditional partners and allies in areas such as peacekeeping, civil-military relations, maritime security, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief.

Another important example of high-level defence conferences that support Canada’s defence relations is the United States Pacific Command Chiefs of Defence Conference. This important meeting is attended by chiefs of defence including General Lawson, as well as other senior military leaders in the Asia-Pacific region. At the Chiefs of Defence Conference, these senior military leaders discuss mutual security challenges and encourage security cooperation.

Perhaps the most important example of Canada’s multilateral relations in the Asia-Pacific region is Canada’s engagement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN as well as its member states (Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) which dates back to 1977. As the cornerstone of Canada’s multilateral relations in the Asia-Pacific region, ASEAN provides a forum for Canada to take part in an important dialogue on regional defence and security issues.

Under the ASEAN organizational umbrella, Canada also participates in the ASEAN Regional Forum, which is designed to strengthen cooperation amongst member states to foster peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region. Canada is committed to contributing further to the Asia-Pacific security architecture and has announced its interest in participating in the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus and the East Asia Summit. The CAF have also taken part in other regional exercises such as the ASEAN Regional Forum’s disaster relief exercise (DiREx).

Regional Military Exercises

The CAF is involved in a number of regional exercises that support multilateral defence relations. For example, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) continues to be engaged in a number of military exercises and deployments throughout the Asia-Pacific region. These cooperative endeavours serve to foster invaluable relationships and connections between the RCN and the navies of other countries in the region. For example, More than 1,000 Canadian sailors, soldiers, airmen and airwomen will participate in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC), the world’s premier combined and joint maritime exercise, from June 27 to August 1, 2014, in the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. RIMPAC is the world’s largest international maritime military exercise, involving forces from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, People’s Republic of China, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom and the United States. Canada has participated in every iteration since RIMPAC’s inception in 1971.

Canada is also a major participant in the Ulchi Freedom Guardian Exercise, which tests the operational control of the combined forces on the Korean peninsula. For the last 3 years, the CAF contingent has been the largest amongst the Sending States.  Canada also participated in the Key Resolve/Foal Eagle exercise series in South Korea for the past 2 years, which is a field training exercise designed to improve the combined and joint operational posture of South Korean and U.S. military forces.  

Canada also participates in the KHAAN QUEST series of exercises, hosted by the Mongolian Armed Forces and co-sponsored by the Mongolian Armed Forces, U.S.Army Pacific and the Alaskan Air National Guard, under the U.S. Department of Defense Humanitarian and Civic Assistance program. The exercises are designed to enhance individual and professional readiness and tactical interoperability in the delivery of humanitarian assistance between regional partners. This year the exercise will take place from 18 June to 2 July.

Bilateral Defence Relations

Bilateral, country-to-country defence relations between Canada and individual Asia-Pacific states are another important component of Canada’s defence relations in the region. In addition to bilateral defence relations with partners in the Asia-Pacific region as described below, Canada signed a Canada-U.S. Asia-Pacific Defense Policy Cooperation Framework with the U.S. in November 2013. This Framework provides the foundation for Canada and the U.S. to coordinate the conduct of recurring and mutually reinforcing defence-related engagement activities with our Asian partners. 

Bilateral Defence Relations: North East Asia

In support of a whole-of-government approach that seeks to enhance Canada’s bilateral relationships with North East Asian countries, the DND and CAF are engaged in initiatives in China, Japan, and South Korea.

Canada recognizes that China is an important economic and military power. The DND and CAF have growing relations with the Ministry of National Defence of the People’s Republic of China and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, and will continue to engage in dialogue about  issues of regional and international security. Canada has been advancing this emerging bilateral defence relationship through several high-level meetings in March 2012, and June 2013 in China involving senior DND and CAF officials and China’s People’s Liberation Army officials.  At the 2013 meeting, Canada and China agreed to establish a Defence Coordination Dialogue to discuss defence issues of mutual concern and affirmed their intent to establish a Cooperation Plan Initiative between the People’s Liberation Army and Canada’s Defence Team, which would guide defence-related activities. Building on these exchanges, the Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, and the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Tom Lawson, met with General Chang Wanquan for a bilateral exchange in Ottawa in August 2013.  At the meeting, Minister Nicholson and General Chang signed the Cooperation Plan Initiative.

Japan is a valued regional and global security partner. We share a common set of values and interests, including promoting and upholding democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, access to open markets, arms control, and disarmament. These values  have created steady defence relations between Canada and Japan on a number of regional and global issues. Bilateral agreements, such as the 2010 Canada-Japan Joint Declaration on Political, Peace and Security Cooperation greatly contribute to deepening this defence relationship. Canada also cooperates with Japan on issues such as defence policy, interoperability and cross-services, nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, disaster prevention and emergency response and peacekeeping. During a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on September 23, 2013, Prime Minister Harper announced agreement in principle on a Treaty. Known as the Canada-Japan Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA), the Treaty, once approved by both countries’ parliamentary processes, will be a milestone for the bilateral defence relationship.  The ACSA will enable Canadian Armed Forces and Japan’s Self-Defense Force units to exchange basic goods and services wherever both forces are cooperating, such as during training, exercises, and a limited range of operations, notably humanitarian assistance missions.

Canada has long enjoyed positive bilateral defence relations with the Republic of Korea. These defence relations have a foundation in the Canadian contribution to the Korean War and have evolved into a rich history of strong political and economic partnerships and cooperation. This relationship continues to advance.  Contributing to this relationship are a number of high-level visits, such as  Prime Minister Harper’s March 2014 visit to Seoul. Canada also fosters bilateral relations with South Korea through bilateral defence agreements, such as the Mutual Logistics Support Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which enables improved logistical exchange and increased interoperability between Canada and South Korea’s military forces.

Canada and South Korea continue to explore new areas and avenues of cooperation, including through enhanced collaboration during key regional forums, and, specifically by continued CAF participation in exercises on the Korean Peninsula, such as Ulchi Freedom Guardian, Key Resolve and Foal Eagle.  

Bilateral Defence Relations: South East Asia

While Canada engages its South East Asian partners multilaterally through ASEAN, the DND/CAF are also growing defence relations and initiatives with our South East Asian neighbours on a bilateral basis. These defence relations reflect the priority the DND/CAF place on mutual security and cooperative interests. Some examples of bilateral defence cooperation across the region include:

  • High-level meetings, such as then-Minister of National Defence MacKay’s bilateral visits to Singapore and Thailand, in June 2012 during which Canada highlighted CAF/DND activities in South East Asia and emphasized our desire to contribute to security in the region. In 2012, General Lawson also attended the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) Chiefs of Defence Staff Conference and met with numerous Asia-Pacific counterparts. General Lawson also visited Thailand in 2013;
  • Ship visits, such as the February 2013 visit of HMCS Regina to Port Klang, Malaysia, and Manila, Philippines; and, 
  • Defence education cooperation in locations such as Brunei, for example, which hosted the Commandant of the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in winter 2013.

Bilateral Defence Relations: Oceania

Located in the Central and South Pacific Ocean, Canada has long enjoyed positive bilateral defence relations in Oceania, particularly with Australia and New Zealand, which are both members of the Five Eyes intelligence community.

Defence relations between Canada and Australia are deep and enduring, with Australia being one of Canada’s closest partners in the Asia-Pacific region and globally. We share a common outlook on international security issues as well as a like-minded approach to operations.  We have a solid foundation of defence cooperation including exercises, training, academic exchanges, high-level visits and current operations in Afghanistan. 

Recent high-level visits that support and foster defence relations with Australia have included then-Minister of National Defence MacKay’s visit to Australia in 2011. The trip was successful in strengthening the relationship and resulted in commitments to hold ministerial meetings, policy talks, and chief of defence meetings regularly.  Both the Minister and Chief of the Defence Staff General Lawson met with their Australian counterpart at the Shangri-La Dialogue in the spring of 2013 and have interacted over the last year at various NATO Ministerial and Chiefs of Defence meetings. Canada also has a Canadian defence attaché posted to Australia that is cross-accredited to New Zealand.

Canada and New Zealand also enjoy a robust history of defence cooperation. Historically, the CAF and the New Zealand Defence Forces (NZDF) have worked together in a number of international security operations, such as Afghanistan, Bosnia, and East Timor. A number of high-level visits have also taken place recently between Canada and New Zealand, such as the between the two countries’ Defence Ministers in September 2011, and Chief of the Defence Staff, General Tom Lawson’s meeting with his New Zealand counterpart in May 2013 during the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

Since 2005, the CAF and the NZDF have participated in CANZEX (Canada New Zealand Exchange), a program that includes joint training and enhances cooperation and interoperability between our militaries. The CAF also participates in programs such as REGULUS, a Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) training program.  The CAF recently participated in Operation RENDER SAFE 2013, Australia’s Explosive Ordinance Disposal support to the nations of the South West Pacific region.  In the case of New Zealand, the CAF participated in the 2013 edition of Exercise SOUTHERN KATIPO, which is a multi-nation, tri-service exercise to practice operational planning, execution and command and control of a deployed Combined Joint Task Force during an amphibious operation.

Bilateral Defence Relations: South West Asia

South West Asia covers the area from Afghanistan in the west to India in the east, and extends north as far as the former Soviet republics and south into the Indian Ocean. Canada has deep links to this region, which includes several members of the Commonwealth. A significant number of Canadian families trace their roots back to South West Asia, and Canada has made a major effort to promote security in the region, most significantly through our mission in Afghanistan.

Canada has an important and expanding relationship with India. Canada and India share common values, including a commitment to democracy and pluralism. High-level visits, such as Prime Minister Harper’s visit in 2012 and Governor General David Johnston’s visit of 2014, have underscored the importance of this relationship. Canada and India are exploring areas for future defence cooperation, including training exchanges.   Such activities help strengthen the defence and security relationship and promote cooperation.

Pakistan remains an important partner for Canada in the global fight against terrorism, and Canada and Pakistan continue to work together to enhance defence and security in the region. High-level visits supporting this relationship have included the May 2012 visit by Pakistan’s Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, General Khalid Shaheem Wynne, and the visit of Chief of Defence Staff General Lawson to Islamabad in March 2014.

Canada’s enduring relationship with Afghanistan continues after our military training mission ended in March 2014.  Canadians will not forget the sacrifices of the 158 CAF members who died working on behalf of Canada to help bring security to the Afghan people.  To ensure the future stability of a secure and democratic Afghanistan, Canada continues to provide financial support to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Canada’s ultimate goal remains to sustain the gains that have been made since the fall of the Taliban regime and help Afghans rebuild Afghanistan into a viable country that is better governed, more stable and secure, and never again a safe haven for terrorists.

The Military Training and Cooperation Program

An important instrument of defence diplomacy and part of the whole-of-government approach stated in the Canada First Defence Strategy, the Military Training and Cooperation Program (MTCP) involves:

  • Enhancing peace support operations’ interoperability among Canada’s partners;
  • Expanding and reinforcing Canadian bilateral defence relations;
  • Promoting Canadian democratic principles, the rule of law and the protection of human rights in the international arena; and,
  • Achieving influence in areas of strategic interest to Canada. 

The MTCP operates a number of training programs throughout the Asia-Pacific region, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, and Thailand. Other regional MTCP activities have included:

Adding Japan as an implementing partner of the MTCP. As an implementing partner, Japan contributed to the program by providing instructors/lecturers on the MTCP Civil Military Cooperation (CIMIC) tactical courses conducted in Tanzania (2012) and Senegal (2013), as well as on a UN Military Observer Course conducted in Indonesia (March 2014).

  • Naming Indonesia as an MTCP “Centre of Excellence”, with CAF and Indonesian forces partnering to provide training in Indonesia to military personnel from Asia-Pacific MTCP member states. Indonesia is both a priority member state of the MTCP and one of its top recipients (both in terms of budget and positions on courses). The MTCP provided training to over 180 personnel, including 45 positions in 2013-14 in courses on topics such as English language, peacekeeping, and public affairs, in addition to staff training such as National Security Studies and Canadian Security Studies. A successful Peace Support Seminar was conducted at the Indonesian Peace and Security Centre in July 2012 in partnership with the Indonesian National Armed Forces, which was followed by a Public Affairs Workshop in the fall. In 2013-2014, DND sponsored another Peace Support Workshop, a Civil Military Relations Workshop, and a UN Military Observer Course in Indonesia. In 2014-2015, the Directorate of Military and Training Cooperation (DMTC) plans to sponsor two Public Affairs workshops as well as a Strategic Peace Support Operations Course in Indonesia.
  • Offering 23 vacancies to Malaysia (up from 10 positions in 2012/2013) for courses in 2014-2015 for English-language training, staff training and peacekeeping operations. As of August 2014, DMTC will also post a logistics officer to support the Malaysian Peacekeeping Centre.
  • Granting 20 placements to Mongolian Armed Forces personnel in 2014-2015 for courses on English and French languages, peacekeeping missions, and junior officer-staff training.
  • Providing training over 150 military members from the Philippines since 1998. Members of the armed forces of the Philippines have participated in a variety of courses through the MTCP, as well as staff officer development training and peace support operations training.
  • Training over 354 Thai officers in Canada since 1985. In 2014-2015, 28 Thai officers will be offered training in peacekeeping, staff officer development, and English-language training.

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