Minister Sajjan attends Conference of Defence Ministers of the Americas

News release

October 10, 2018 – Cancun, Mexico – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

The Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas (CDMA) is an important component of Canada’s engagement in the Western Hemisphere. It is the only forum that brings together defence ministers from across the Americas to discuss defence and security issues.

Today, Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan concluded three days of meetings with hemispheric partners at the 13th biennial CDMA in Mexico. Hosted by Mexico’s Secretariat of National Defence (SEDENA), discussions at this year’s CDMA focused on five main themes: humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, environmental protection and climate resilience, search and rescue, gender perspectives, and the evolving role of the armed forces in security and defence.

The main outcome of the conference was the adoption of the Declaration of Cancun, which reiterates the CDMA’s longstanding commitment to preserving peace, upholding human rights, and safeguarding the security of civilian populations.

On the margins of the Conference, Canada signed a Defence Cooperation Arrangement (DCA) with Mexico, symbolizing an important step in the evolving bilateral relationship. The DCA will encourage further collaboration in a number of key areas including: defence education, training and capacity building, peace support operations, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

Minister Sajjan also signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Chile to underscore our shared commitment to gender equality, and to formalize bilateral cooperation in support of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security.

While attending the Conference, Minister Sajjan held bilateral meetings on issues of hemispheric defence with counterparts from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay. 


“As countries of the Americas, we rely on each other for trade, cultural exchange, and security. That is why in the face of global uncertainty, we must take every opportunity to leverage our partnerships and share our knowledge to develop new and innovative solutions to our common defence and security challenges. This is why fora like the CDMA are so important – not just for North America or for the Western Hemisphere, but for the entire globe, as we work together for a more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world.”

—   Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan 

Quick facts

  • Established in 1995, the CDMA is the only forum that brings together defence and security ministers from across the hemisphere to discuss regional issues at a strategic level. As such, it represents an integral component of Canada’s engagement in the Americas, providing a unique platform to advance defence priorities and to interact with its thirty-four member states.

  • In recognition of Canada’s global leadership in promoting gender equality, Canadian Forces Lieutenant-General Christine Whitecross, Commandant of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Defense College in Rome, participated in an expert panel at the Conference and delivered remarks on the importance and benefits of gender integration in defence and security forces.

  • Canadian Armed Forces efforts in the region include combatting illicit drug trafficking in the Caribbean Sea under Op CARIBBE, providing leadership and other training to partners under DND’s Military Training and Cooperation Program, and offering humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, including deployment of the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), to affected nations when requested.

Associated links


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

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