2017 UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial and Canada’s Defence Policy


November 15, 2017 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, recognizes the changing nature and complexity of peace operations, and presents a new approach to defence by the Government of Canada. Under Strong, Secure, Engaged, Canada will be engaged in the world, with the Canadian Armed Forces contributing to global peace and security.  

The themes of the 2017 UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial align with the long-term vision of Strong, Secure, Engaged, particularly in the following areas:

Gender Perspectives

Integrating gender perspectives and empowering women is a means to improve the operational effectiveness of UN peacekeeping. It helps ensure armed forces understand the social, cultural, or other differences of those who are disproportionately affected by conflict and crisis, anywhere in the world.

Strong, Secure, Engaged includes a strong commitment to diversity and gender equality. The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) uses a tool called Gender-based analysis Plus (GBA+) to consider gender in all stages of operations. GBA+ is used to judge how policies, programs, services, and practices might affect diverse groups of women and men. By considering GBA+ and gender, the CAF can better understand how certain people might be at risk in countries where it has missions, and is better able to reach its mission goals.

The Canadian Armed Forces is also committed to further increasing the representation of women in the military by 1 percent annually towards a goal of 25 percent in 10 years.

Innovation in Training and Capacity Building

The UN has identified the need for Member States to engage in training and capacity building to address specific mission needs and capability gaps.

Strong, Secure, Engaged will create a more strategically relevant, combat-ready force that will anticipate, adapt, and act within a constantly changing security environment. For example, under Strong, Secure, Engaged, Canada will renew, replace, and maintain core equipment, and continue to support Canada's multi-role, combat-ready defence force. The policy also commits to investing in joint enablers (space, cyber, intelligence) to ensure the Canadian Armed Forces has the modern capabilities to succeed on operations.

Protecting Those at Risk

Protecting Those at Risk is the ultimate goal of all peacekeeping operations. As stated in Strong, Secure, Engaged, UN peace operations play a critical role in “…delivering support to the vulnerable and marginalized communities that need it most”.

As part of a feminist approach to international policy, Canada is committed to working with the UN on protecting those at risk, including ending conflict-related sexual violence and the use of child soldiers. This includes advancing the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, and ensuring UN peacekeepers are held accountable for meeting the highest standards of conduct.

Early Warning and Rapid Deployment

Innovative approaches, capacities and technologies improve early warning, analysis and mission planning.

Strong, Secure, Engaged outlines new initiatives for defence intelligence that contribute to a deeper understanding of the origins of conflict and the best way to prevent it. In line with Strong, Secure, Engaged, Canada is enhancing its ability to forecast flashpoints and emerging threats. Canada is also establishing a Canadian Armed Forces targeting capability to better leverage intelligence capabilities to support military operations. Moreover, Canada is investing in Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance platforms, including next generation surveillance aircraft, remotely piloted systems, and space-based surveillance assets.

Smart Pledges

Smart Pledges address UN peacekeeping capability gaps, often through joint commitments from multiple Members States.

As illustrated in Strong, Secure, Engaged, Canada has strong defence partnerships with several countries in the Americas and in Europe, through its involvement in the United Nations, NATO, NORAD and the Five Eyes Network. Canada is also committed to being a reliable player in the Asia-Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East, through consistent engagement and deeper bilateral relationships.

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