The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced a contribution of $180 million to fund new projects under Canada’s Global Partnership Program, which fights terrorists’ acquisition of weapons and materials of mass destruction to use against Canada and its allies. He also announced the geographic expansion of the Global Partnership Program to extend beyond the former Soviet Union.
“Expanding the Global Partnership Program will allow Canada to address the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction wherever the most significant threats exist,” said Minister Cannon.
The announcement was made in Trieste, Italy, where Minister Cannon wrapped up his participation at the G8 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. That meeting provided an opportunity for Canada to discuss with its G8 partners international security concerns such as non-proliferation and disarmament, terrorism and piracy, as well as regional security issues including Afghanistan and Pakistan and their neighbouring countries, Iran, the Middle East and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“Terrorists are actively seeking weapons of mass destruction and the materials to make them,” said Minister Cannon in commenting on the Global Partnership Program. “The most effective way to prevent this is to tightly control access to weapons-usable materials. Projects under the Global Partnership Program will significantly reduce the threat that terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction poses to Canadians and to the entire international community.”
The Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction was launched by the G8 seven years ago to address a number of non-proliferation, counterterrorism and disarmament issues related to weapons of mass destruction. Canada has pledged $1 billion over 10 years to the Global Partnership, with more than $526 million spent to date.
Canada’s latest contribution covers projects principally in Russia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. This includes $86.3 million earmarked for nuclear security, with $61 million of that amount going toward the upgrade of physical protection systems at seven nuclear facilities in Russia. The remaining $25.3 million will go to projects aimed at ensuring the safe and secure transport of nuclear materials in Russia.
In addition, Canada will allocate $3.8 million to the design of a biological containment facility to be built in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. This facility will serve as the central repository for the consolidation of dangerous pathogens from several facilities across the country.
The Canadian government will also commit $33.6 million to activities related to the redirection of former weapons scientists, including the funding of 90 scientific research projects to employ 828 former weapons scientists in peaceful, civilian research at their home institutes in Ukraine, Russia and elsewhere in the former Soviet Union. This funding also includes 15 capacity-building programs to assist former weapons scientists and their institutes in becoming financially sustainable.
The remaining $56.3 million will go toward projects for dismantling five decommissioned nuclear submarines: three located in the Russian Arctic and two in the Russian Far East. These nuclear submarines pose security, proliferation and environmental threats because they contain both nuclear and toxic materials.