Canada Announces Second Peacekeeping Smart Pledge - Will send Aviation Task Force to UN Mission in Mali

News release

March 19, 2018, Ottawa, ON — National Defence / Global Affairs Canada

Canada is committed to building a more peaceful and prosperous world. Ensuring the safety and security of our citizens – and those of our allies – means working to confront instability and conflict around the world. Canada’s support for United Nations peacekeeping will help vulnerable and marginalized communities build a better future for themselves.

Last November, in Vancouver, the Government of Canada announced its return to peace operations, including:

  • the Vancouver Principles – focused on ending the recruitment and use of child soldiers around the world;
  • the Elsie Initiative – a pilot project aimed at rapidly increasing the number of women police and military deployed on UN peace operations, supported by the expertise and political commitment of a group of countries who share Canada’s ambition for change; and
  • a range of Smart Pledges and military capabilities – aimed at leveraging Canadian expertise. The first smart pledge – a C-130 Hercules aircraft to provide tactical airlift support for the UN’s Regional Support Centre in Entebbe Uganda – was announced in Vancouver and preparations for deployment are currently underway.

As part of Canada’s return to peace operations, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, and the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced the Government of Canada’s second smart pledge: a commitment to deploy an Aviation Task Force to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) for a period of 12 months.

The Aviation Task Force will include Chinook helicopters to provide urgently needed transport and logistics capacity for the MINUSMA mission, as well as Griffon helicopters to provide armed escort and protection. The Task Force will be accompanied by a number of Canadian Armed Forces personnel for support. Canada remains committed to advancing gender equality in its deployment.

Canada’s contribution will join 57 MINUSMA partner countries in their continued efforts to bring sustainable peace and stability to Mali and the Sahel. Today’s announcement builds on the Government’s significant development, peace and security initiatives in the region.

In the coming days, the Government will register its pledge with the UN, and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) will begin their planning process, in conjunction with the UN, partners and the host nation.


“As a responsible member of the international community, we recognize the importance of working collaboratively with our partners to promote peace and security. Supported by our diplomatic negotiations, I am confident we can help make a real difference in this region through the deployment of the Aviation Task Force.”

Minister of National Defence, Hon. Harjit S. Sajjan

“Today’s smart pledge is another way Canada is contributing its expertise to create a safer, more peaceful world. We are committed to improving the effectiveness of UN peace operations. We are doing this by working with partner countries to increase the meaningful participation of women, through the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations, implementing the Vancouver Principles to end the recruitment and use of child soldiers, and providing specialized training to meet the needs of the UN.”

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P

Quick facts

  • During the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial conference hosted by Canada in Vancouver in November 2017, Canada pledged to improve the effectiveness of UN peace operations in a number of ways.

  • Canada committed a number of “smart pledges” of high value military capabilities to be deployed in a 5-year timeframe with planned and predictable rotations with other member states. They are:

    • a Quick Reaction Force and accompanying equipment;
    • an Aviation Task Force of medium utility and armed helicopters; and
    • a tactical airlift support to address critical gaps in the UN’s ability to transport troops, equipment, and supplies to their missions. 
  • The Elsie Initiative for Peace Operations is a Canadian-led pilot project to test new ways of eliminating barriers to the participation of women police and military in peace operations. Canada will lead this search for a breakthrough, working closely with a Contact Group of countries who will bring their experiences, expertise and political commitment to the project. A tailored package of technical assistance and training will be offered to a select partner country (or two), and an innovative financial mechanism will be designed to incentivize progress among countries who contribute police and military to UN operations.   


Byrne Furlong
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of National Defence
Phone: 613-996-3100

Media Relations
Department of National Defence
Phone: 613-996-2353

Adam Austen
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Media Relations Office 
Global Affairs Canada
Phone: 343-203-7700

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