Proliferation Security Initiative

The Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) was launched in May 2003. This was in response to the growing challenge posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), their delivery systems and related materials. Here is a list of States that have endorsed the Proliferation Security Initiative principles as of November 2017.

Participating nations agree to a Statement of Interdiction Principles that includes voluntary political commitments including:

The PSI is best characterized as an “activity” rather than an organization and remains a flexible, voluntary, and open mechanism.

Canadian position

Canada joined PSI in December 2003. Over 100 other states also participate in the initiative. Participation in PSI is consistent with, and supportive of, Canada’s efforts to strengthen counter-proliferation mechanisms to promote regional stability and international security. Canadian participation in PSI helps us to:

Participation in PSI is characterised by a multi-disciplinary, whole-of-government approach. Global Affairs Canada leads on policy issues, while the Department of National Defence leads on operational issues.

Canada has attended every PSI Operational Experts Group (OEG) meeting, in which specialists from 21 core PSI participant-states meet to share information on proliferation trends and potential responses. Canada has hosted OEG meetings in Ottawa (2004, 2015) and Montreal (2006).

We also actively participate in the PSI exercise programme, which allows states to test their operational capabilities for interdiction on land, at sea, and in the air. Through multinational exercises, PSI participants also clearly convey to would-be proliferators their collective determination to combat illicit trafficking in WMD, their means of delivery and related materials.

Capacity building and exercises

Canada takes part in capacity building exercises to help develop counter-proliferation capacities among PSI-participating countries.

The June 2017 edition of the annual Exercise TRADEWINDS, for example, includes a counter proliferation component simulating the interdiction of a merchant ship suspected of carrying illegal WMD-related materials. Exercise TRADEWINDS is a multinational exercise led by the U.S. Southern Command that promotes regional security cooperation in the Caribbean, including maritime interdiction and ground security.

Canada also hosts regular technical workshops and seminars to support counter-proliferation efforts in the Caribbean.  These events seek to build capacity in areas such as customs enforcement and commodity identification.

Operational Experts Group

The Operational Experts Group (OEG) of 21 countries, which includes Canada, provides an annual forum for members to share experiences and coordinate national responses to emerging threats.

The Group plays a vital role to make sure the PSI is effective by:

OEG members are:

Critical Capabilities and Practices

The Critical Capabilities and Practices effort began in 2010 to provide practical resources for the effective implementation of the PSI Statement of Interdiction Principles. The Review Team supports the effort. It maintains a library of tools and resources for participating countries to use. These include: model legislation; commodity identification guides; legal analysis of United Nations Security Council resolutions; and best practices for sharing information.

Canada serves as Review Team lead in 2016/2017. Other members of the Review Team are: Australia, France, Germany, Norway, Poland, Russia, and the United States.

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