Today, the Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, concluded the NATO Defence Ministers’ Meeting. Over the two day meeting, Minister Sajjan participated in robust discussions about NATO’s operations and how all NATO countries can work together on deterrence and defence. He also spoke about how we can continue to build a more resilient Alliance, especially in the face of increasing cyber threats and COVID-19. Finally, as we approach the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325), the Ministers discussed the importance of achieving gender equality and integrating gender perspectives in defence and security policy, planning and activities to improve operational effectiveness.
NATO is central to Canada’s international security policy, reflecting the values of democracy, good governance, and the rule of law. Canada remains committed to strengthening the Alliance in order to collectively address traditional and emerging threats to stability and peace.
During the Defence Ministers’ Meeting, Minister Sajjan reiterated Canada’s unwavering commitment to NATO and the rules-based international order. This commitment is demonstrated through our continued contributions to Alliance operations, missions and activities, such as the air policing mission in Europe, the enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup in Latvia and our leadership of NATO Mission Iraq. By working cooperatively with allies, Canada continues to build up NATO’s collective defence by protecting against current and future threats.
Minister Sajjan also emphasized Canada’s continued support for UNSCR 1325 and our desire to build on these efforts to ensure that women have meaningful leadership roles in in all aspects of defence and security around the world. He continues to promote the principles through NATO, highlighting the critical work that Canada’s Ambassador at large for Women, Peace and Security, Jacqueline O’Neill, has been doing along with Clare Hutchinson, NATO’s Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security. While progress in gender equality has been made, much work still needs to be done.
“This year marks the 20th anniversary of the United Nations recognizing the disproportional effect of conflict on women and girls and how we must increase the active role they play in international peace and security. We will continue to work with our partners and Allies to increase the participation of women in defence, peace and security to help us build a safer and more peaceful world for all of us. Advancements in gender equality makes the Alliance stronger: at NATO HQ, in our military operations and at home. To that end, I want to thank Major-General Jennie Carignan for the leadership she has offered NATO Mission Iraq over the past year. Though the past year has been challenging, her efforts have made Canada and all countries safer.”
– The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence
Canada is committed to providing direct support to NATO missions. The CAF has taken measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on operations and to protect its force in order to maintain this support.
NATO is a cornerstone of Canada’s international security policy. It provides an important international forum in which to engage other nations on defence and security.
UNSCR 1325 urges all actors to increase the participation of women and incorporate gender perspectives in all United Nations peace and security efforts and to take special measures to protect women and girls from gender-based violence, particularly rape and other forms of sexual abuse, in situations of armed conflict.
Jacqueline O’Neill is Canada’s first ambassador for Women, Peace and Security. She is leading efforts to ensure that women are fully involved in the resolution of conflict, and peace and security efforts.
Canadian Clare Hutchinson is the NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security and is responsible for facilitating the coordination of NATO’s policies and activities regarding the Women, Peace and Security agenda.
At present, Canada is:
- Leading the multinational NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group in Latvia since 2017. The Battle Group currently consists of 450 CAF members;
- Deploying CF-18 fighter aircraft to conduct NATO surveillance and policing activities in Europe for the 5th time. This mission currently encompasses approximately 135 CAF members;
- Deploying HMCS Toronto with her crew of approximately 240 personnel as part of Standing NATO Maritime Group One; and
- Second year in Command of NATO Mission Iraq; currently led by Major-General Jennie Carignan. The CAF has approximately 150 members deployed on this mission.