Canada plans responsible departure from Mali peacekeeping mission

From: Global Affairs Canada

In July 2018, Canada joined 56 other UN Member States as a contributor to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) to provide medical evacuation by air of injured personnel, supply transport and logistics support.

Since then, the men and women deployed under Operation PRESENCE – Mali have conducted 10 medical evacuations. Canadian helicopters have accumulated more than 3,000 flying hours, transported more than 6,400 passengers and delivered more than 370,000 pounds of cargo. This contribution has provided essential support to MINUSMA in the execution of its mission to support the implementation of the 2015 peace agreement.

In anticipation of the arrival in Mali of a Romanian helicopter rotation this year, Canada is confirming that the Air Task Force (ATF) will begin its gradual departure at the end of July and its operations will be gradually scaled down and limited to medical evacuation tasks until August 31, 2019. This is consistent with strategic advice provided by the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

This phased approach will ensure a smooth and efficient transition process between the Canadian and Romanian rotations. A small CAF transition team will be deployed to assist Romania in its preparations to commence operations, and Canada has offered to provide four C-17 aircraft flights to assist Romania to deploy their personnel and equipment to theatre. This approach will minimize disruption in the availability of critical capabilities to MINUSMA forces and help set up the Romanian rotation for operational success.

Setting conditions for peace is central to Canada’s work in Mali. To that end, Canada will continue its long-standing support through its development, stabilization and humanitarian programming.

“Canada is committed to UN peacekeeping missions, which we view as a vital tool to building peace and stability around the world. Through our support to MINUSMA and other contributions in Mali and the Sahel, Canada, Romania and the United Nations are supporting the people of Mali in their fight for a lasting peace in their country.”

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

“Canadians can be proud of the women and men of our Air Task Force in Mali whose important work is delivering vital airlift capabilities in support of MINUSMA and demonstrates Canada’s commitment to our partners in Mali and our international allies. We will continue to work with the United Nations and Romania to facilitate a thorough handover as a responsible member of the global peace and security community.”

– Hon. Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence

Quick facts

  • During the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial hosted by Canada in Vancouver, British Columbia, in November 2017, Canada pledged to improve the effectiveness of UN peace operations in a number of ways, including through smart pledges, which are commitments of high-value capabilities made in partnership by two or more UN member states to answer specific, targeted needs around the world.

  • In March 2018, Canada committed to deploying an ATF of helicopters to MINUSMA for a period of one year. Known as Operation PRESENCE – Mali, the ATF became operational in August 2018 and is providing critical medical evacuation, logistics and transportation capability to the United Nations out of Gao, northern Mali.

  • To ensure that gender perspectives are taken into account through all phases of CAF operations, a gender adviser was employed to advise the ATF on gender issues.

  • The CAF recognizes that women’s participation is vital to achieving and sustaining peace, and that armed conflict affects men and women differently. As such, the CAF has established gender adviser positions at the strategic and operational levels, where they serve as specialist advisers to commanders for the overall integration of gender perspectives into planning, execution and evaluation.

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