As threats to our safety become increasingly complex, it is more important than ever for Canada, the United States, and Mexico to work in close cooperation to protect our citizens.
As North American partners, we share many security and defence interests and understand that threats to the continent – and the hemisphere – require coordinated responses from our countries.
Moving forward, all three countries are committed to enhancing our common understanding of these threats to develop effective, coordinated and efficient approaches to address them. We will work together to expand trilateral defence cooperation, counter transnational crime and drugs, reduce the risk of disasters, refine border security, and strengthen the foundation of United Nations peace operations.
Trilateral Defence Cooperation
Since the second meeting of North American defence ministers in April 2014, significant progress has been made in trilateral defence cooperation in areas of mutual concern. The three countries are working together to strengthen hemispheric defence institutions like the Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas and the Inter-American Defense Board. They are also identifying more opportunities to synchronize defence activities in the region. Exercises have also been held to explore the efficiency of military support for civilian-led humanitarian assistance and disaster relief activities.
Trilateral cooperation at the operational level has also been strengthened in recent years. Canada joined the North American Maritime Security Initiative in August 2011, which allows for enhanced information sharing and improved responses to transnational maritime threats.
Canada continues to engage the United States and Mexico on issues related to illicit drugs through regional and multilateral institutions, including the Organization of American States, the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission, the United Nations General Assembly, and the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs.
To enhance North American drug policy coordination, the countries will continue to discuss the illicit and problematic use and availability of drugs, and the related public health and safety considerations in all three countries.
The countries will work toward better cooperation, information-sharing, and collaboration on drug issues affecting North America. Canada supports the launch of the North American Drug Policy Dialogue, a semi-annual senior-level trilateral meeting, and looks forward to participating in the first meeting to be hosted by the United States in October of this year.
Illicit Financial Flows
Canada continues to engage with Mexico and the United States to reduce illicit financial flows which weaken and threaten the integrity of the global financial sector to make sure that the sector is not open to exploitation by criminal or terrorist organizations.
Through various forums – including the Financial Action Task Force, its global network, and the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units – the countries exchange information and reinforce their shared commitment to increasing the global implementation of measures to counter illicit financial flows. Canada, the United States and Mexico also coordinate and complement each other’s efforts to provide assistance to international partners working to increase their ability to address this issue.
To prevent human trafficking, prosecute perpetrators and protect victims, Canada, Mexico and the United States will continue to meet trilaterally to share best practices and identify further areas for cooperation. Through the working group, the countries will also promote public awareness and coordinate education campaigns for airline personnel. In addition, Canada will undertake efforts to review its federal procurement guidelines and policies to determine if there are potential vulnerabilities to abuse by human traffickers.
Canada, the United States and Mexico have committed to launch a 90-day pilot program by the end of 2016 that will target foreign fugitives with known or suspected ties to North America. The three countries will work to identify, locate and take appropriate follow-up enforcement actions against the most wanted fugitives, and will publicly release the results of the pilot project in 2017.
Resilience: Climate Change, Disaster Risk Reduction and Migration
To address the increased threats of natural disasters and extreme weather events due to climate change, Canada, the United States and Mexico will work to improve risk prevention, preparedness, monitoring, and response to such events. The countries will share and develop improved risk reduction standards, codes, regulations, and tools to enhance resilience. They will also work together to improve evidence-based information, data collection, and analysis, and to develop innovative ways to use civil space-based information to manage disasters.
Understanding that water insecurity and drought can contribute to migration and can heighten the risk of conflict, Canada and the United States will also cooperate with other interested partners to accelerate efforts aimed at reducing safety and security risks posed by climate change. To this effect, we welcome the joint United Nations and World Bank Group High-Level Panel on Water under the co-chairmanship of President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico.
Recognizing the particular impact of climate change on countries already dealing with conflict and fragility, Canada, the United States and Mexico are committed to addressing climate change and security as an issue for foreign, defense, and development policies. Through various multilateral forums, the countries will work together to support analysis, to develop practical recommendations, and encourage meaningful cooperation to address climate-fragility risks.
While the large volume of trade that crosses our borders every day is a critical driver of the North American economy and directly contributes to our collective prosperity, there are those who seek to exploit these commercial flows by smuggling illicit goods into our territories. Canada, the United States, and Mexico are committed to undertaking a more integrated and coordinated approach to the pre-screening of high-risk cargo into, and within, North America. In 2016, Canada will embed personnel into a United States customs centre – in which Mexican custom personal are also currently embedded – on a pilot basis to establish a foundation for joint contraband threat identification and examination activities. By operating from one physical location, the three countries will be better positioned to collaborate on joint targeting activities and threat identification practices from a North American safety and security perspective.
Peace Operations and Peacekeeping
Canada, the United States and Mexico share a commitment to international peace and security, and support the important contribution United Nations peace operations make in fragile and conflict-affected states. Recognizing shared commitments to global security, the three countries will use the North American Caucus, a consultative mechanism, to advance trilateral peacekeeping collaboration. North American Defence Ministers will establish a Peacekeeping Working Group, in which the three countries can identify and advance areas of cooperation and synergies in regards to peacekeeping activities.
Canada, the United States and Mexico will also continue working together to support the movements of other countries in the hemisphere toward democratic governance and peace. The three countries are deeply preoccupied by the decision to rerun presidential elections in Haiti, and will work closely on the file to ensure that this election and others take place peacefully so that all Haitians can have their voices heard, their votes respected, and can be governed by democratically-elected leaders.