Canada Providing Humanitarian Assistance to Vulnerable Women and Children in the Philippines

Canada’s support is addressing immediate needs of thousands of conflict-affected people on Mindanao Island

August 10, 2014 – Vancouver, British Columbia – Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

Today, the Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State for Seniors, on behalf of the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, announced funding for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for the provision of humanitarian assistance to thousands of conflict-affected women and children on Mindanao island in the Philippines.

Following decades of ongoing conflict on Mindanao, new violence in September 2013 in Zamboanga City displaced thousands of families.

“The many women and children affected by conflict are at increased risk of disease, malnutrition and danger, including child trafficking and gender-based violence,” said Minister Wong. “Canada is helping to change that by providing funding to UNICEF for activities that are addressing immediate needs, such as access to safe drinking water, improved sanitation and hygiene, and improved nutrition.”

“Children in Mindanao live in difficult conditions imposed by a conflict for which they are not responsible” said Meg French, UNICEF Canada’s Director of International Policy and Programs. “The generosity of the Government of Canada will help children and families gain better access to safe drinking water and better nutrition, and they will benefit from child-friendly spaces where they can regain a sense of normalcy in their lives and have a safe place to play.”

“Canada proudly reaffirms its commitment to save lives, alleviate suffering and maintain the dignity of those who are affected by ongoing conflict,” said Minister Paradis. “Canada remains committed to assisting the Filipino people and building on our strong relations with the Philippines.”

Minister Wong announced the funding at Pinoy Fiesta in Vancouver, the largest Filipino cultural event in Canada.

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Sandrine Périon
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie

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Address by Minister Baird at the Opening of the ASEAN-Canada Post-Ministerial Conference

August 9, 2014 – Naypyidaw, Burma

Check Against Delivery

Distinguished colleagues and friends, I am very pleased to be with you again.

This is now my fourth consecutive ASEAN-Canada Post-Ministerial Conference. Over the last year, I can confidently and proudly say that we have made more progress in building our partnership than in any other year.

So as we begin this session, I would like to give you a brief update on this progress and set out where I see our next steps.

Canada is, unequivocally, a Pacific nation. We are deeply integrated with Asia-Pacific historically, geographically, demographically and economically.

We are also increasingly deepening that integration politically. I don’t just say that as a politician trying to please an audience. In Canada we have a saying that you “vote with your feet,” and that’s exactly what we’ve been doing in Southeast Asia.

I arrived in Yangon [Burma] yesterday after two weeks of meetings across the region. I had the opportunity to meet with president-elect Joko Widodo and, of course, our colleague Marty in Jakarta.

In Singapore, I gave a lecture about supporting stability in Asia and, of course, met with our esteemed co-chair, Minister Shanmugam [Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam, Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law]. I also had the opportunity to visit the young country of Timor-Leste, which, as you know, is keen to join ASEAN in the near future.

This trip builds on numerous others. In fact, when visiting Vientiane last year, I had the distinct pleasure of becoming the first Canadian minister to visit every ASEAN member state.

My friend and colleague Ed Fast, the minister of international trade, will soon be able to say the same, ahead of the Canada-ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting.

This focus is also shared by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. For example, in 2012 he became the first Canadian prime minister to visit the Philippines in over a decade. Last year, he visited Malaysia—again, this was the first Canadian head-of-government visit to Kuala Lumpur in decades. And this was followed by Indonesia, for the APEC Summit.

Two months ago, Canada welcomed the ASEAN economic ministers for a five-day “road show” to expand trade and investment linkages: another first for Canada, in receiving such a high-level delegation from ASEAN.

We have met your leaders and seen first-hand the impressive development in the region, including ASEAN’s efforts to strengthen its community and reinforce its central role in regional architecture.

I see ASEAN as a vitally important institution in the region and a key vehicle for our support to the region.

More importantly, we are more engaged with you than we ever have been in the past. We are present, we are active, and we are here for the long term.

On Tuesday I had the honour of meeting [ASEAN] Secretary-General [Le Luong] Minh at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta—another first for a Canadian foreign minister. I advised the Secretary-General that Canada will establish a dedicated, stand-alone mission to ASEAN headed by a new ambassador.

And just yesterday, in Yangon, I had the honour of opening Canada’s newest diplomatic mission. This too was a historic first for Canada: we have long had diplomatic relations with ASEAN’s current chair, but never a resident representative in-country.

I am also pleased to announce today that the Government of Canada is further expanding its diplomatic footprint in Southeast Asia. We will be establishing on-the-ground Canadian diplomatic presence in both Cambodia and Laos.

With these new resources, Canada will have a diplomatic presence in all 10 ASEAN member states—again, a historic first for Canada.

We commit to having the expanded Canadian diplomatic footprint in ASEAN in place within a year. But this isn’t about the bricks and mortar of diplomatic buildings, it’s about our commitment to democracy and prosperity in ASEAN member states.

Our relationship with ASEAN is of strategic importance to both sides. Canada has been increasing our engagement across the full spectrum of common interests.

During the past several years, we have taken specific and concrete steps to enhance our partnership. These steps are consistent with, and responsive to, ASEAN priorities in the lead-up to the establishment of the ASEAN Community in 2015.

Two years ago in Phnom Penh [Cambodia], I committed Canada to a contribution of $10 million over three years for ASEAN initiatives. I followed that up at the last post-ministerial conference in Brunei, where I outlined specific new projects for ASEAN and for Southeast Asia in excess of $30 million.

Canada has delivered on those commitments.

We have worked with ASEAN member states and the Secretariat to move forward on projects announced last year in Brunei, of which I would highlight three:

First, a $6.5-million project in support of the Mitigation of Biological Threats in ASEAN, funded at the request of ASEAN health ministers.

The second project, $3 million, is focused on Improving Counter-Terrorism Investigation and International Collaboration in ASEAN.

The third project is Financial Regulations Capacity Building in ASEAN—2 million.

Colleagues, I am happy to report that not only did we meet our commitment of $10 million in funding, we have exceeded it.

Our current cooperation covers all three ASEAN pillars: political-security, economic and socio-cultural.

Today, I am furthering this cooperation by announcing additional funding in the amount of $14 million to help address security issues of shared concern in Southeast Asia and to enhance the ASEAN connectivity agenda.

We’ll work to mitigate biological and nuclear threats, disrupt illicit flows while protecting legitimate trade, combat human smuggling activities and improve regional cyber-security tools, and we’ll work with our ASEAN partners to address the phenomenon of “foreign fighters” and “radicalization.” Another key focus of this new Canadian programming will be to bolster border management capacities, particularly in ASEAN’s CMLV states [Cambodia, Burma, Laos and Vietnam]. Taken together, these projects will complement those of ASEAN to improve regional connectivity, whether through information technology or the safe and secure movement of people and goods across borders by sea, air or land.

Also in the political-security sphere, in addition to the projects mentioned above, Canada’s Deputy Minister of National Defence was recently in Singapore for the Shangri-La Dialogue, accompanied by my own deputy minister. Both reiterated Canada’s commitment to expanding our contribution to regional security initiatives in ASEAN, including through the ASEAN Regional Forum, but also our specific interest in becoming a member of ADMM+ [ASEAN Defence Ministers Plus].

On the economic pillar, Canada has developed an impressive set of projects to enhance our economic cooperation. Some of the key activities in the coming year include:

  1. The Canada-ASEAN Business Council [CABC] will organize the second Canada-ASEAN Business Forum in March 2015.
  2. The CABC will work with the ASEAN Corporate Social Responsibility [CSR] Network and the Government of Canada to organize an ASEAN-Canada CSR forum in Bali in November 2014.
  3. Canada and Singapore will co-host an ASEAN-Canada Clean Energy Seminar in October in Singapore.

Finally, on the socio-cultural pillar, I am pleased to announce that through Grand Challenges Canada, we will be funding seven new health projects in ASEAN member countries this year: in Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

This funding, totalling $784,000, will support scientific, technical, social and business innovation to solve the most pressing regional and global health challenges. Over the past three years, through Grand Challenges Canada, we have invested $12.8 million to support the development of 57 innovations now being implemented to the near-term benefit of the health of the people of the ASEAN region.

Canada has been clear in outlining our vision for the future of ASEAN-Canada relations. It is a relationship in which Canada is now engaged in all three pillars of ASEAN community building and has truly enhanced our cooperation exponentially over the past three years.

To fully achieve our vision, Canada and ASEAN should engage regularly—and with ASEAN’s regional neighbours—at the highest level. That’s why Canada’s Prime Minister asked in 2012 that Canada be welcomed as a member of the East Asia Summit [EAS]. Engagement at the leaders’ level is essential to fully realize the potential of the ASEAN-Canada partnership. I will be contacting you all directly to request your active support for Canada’s EAS membership.

We have been an interested partner of ASEAN for 37 years. Over the last few years, I hope it is obvious that we have taken this up a gear, with sustained, high-level and practical engagement.

Not only has our long relationship been mutually beneficial, but our recent deepening of cooperation in areas that are priorities for ASEAN has been in direct response to your counsel and commitment.

I believe we have a lot more to contribute, and I look forward to taking this partnership to the next level.


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Minister Fast Concludes Successful Trade Mission to Australia and Philippines

Strengthening people-to-people ties, trade and development partnerships to create jobs and opportunities

July 22, 2014 – Manila, Philippines – Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, today concluded a five-day trade mission to Sydney, Australia, and Manila, the Philippines, that focused on Canada’s ambitious pro-trade agenda within the G-20 and in Southeast Asia.    

In both Sydney and Manila, Minister Fast met with Canadian businesses operating in the Asia-Pacific region. His message was clear: there is no better fuel for economic growth, jobs and prosperity for Canada, Australia and the Philippines than freer and more open trade. 

Minister Fast’s trade mission to the Philippines focused on Canadian strengths in the agricultural, defence, information and communications technologies and sustainable technologies sectors. The Philippines recently took part in an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) delegation visit to Canada.

The Minister announced support for a project that will help farmers enhance their business management skills and access better farming practices, funding and markets for their products. This support reinforces Canada’s commitment to stimulating sustainable economic growth by leveraging private sector involvement and fostering good governance. The Philippines was recently added to Canada’s list of 25 development countries of focus. 

At the Skills Development Center for Animation at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde in Manila, Minister Fast witnessed how Canadian-developed computer software by Toon Boom Animation of Montréal will develop Filipino talent in animation and digital media, thus playing an important role in reviving the animation sector in the Philippines.

Minister Fast also visited the Santuario de San Antonio, a church in Makati City, to light candles as a sign of respect to victims of Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Typhoon Yolanda), which swept across the Philippines in 2013, destroying more than a million homes, displacing 4.1 million people and killing more than 6,000 others. Canada responded quickly to that crisis, providing emergency humanitarian funding to relief agencies and dispatching the Disaster Assistance Response Team to assist with emergency medical, clean water, food and shelter needs in the immediate aftermath of the typhoon. Canadians also opened their hearts and wallets in 2013, pledging $85 million for relief efforts, an amount the Government of Canada matched for immediate and ongoing humanitarian and rebuilding assistance.

Yesterday, Canada announced that it will provide $250,000 for emergency humanitarian assistance to the Philippines, helping meet the urgent needs of those affected by Typhoon Rammasun (locally known as Typhoon Glenda), which hit the island nation last week.

In June, Canada announced a new air transport agreement with the Philippines to help further strengthen our commercial and people-to-people ties.

Quick Facts

  • Bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and the Philippines totalled $1.7 billion in 2013, up 14.6 percent over the previous year.
  • Canadian exports to the Philippines reached $593 million in 2013, up from $527.9 million in 2012.
  • Canada’s top exports to the Philippines were meat, wood and related products and cereals. Top merchandise imports were electrical machinery and equipment, precision and technical instruments and machinery.
  • There are approximately 662,600 people of Philippine descent in Canada. The Philippines has recently become one of the largest source countries of immigrants to Canada.
  • The Philippines is currently the only ASEAN country that offers direct air transportation services to and from Canada. With close to 430,000 one-way trips in 2013, the Philippines is Canada’s 14th-largest air travel market, just behind Japan.


“Strengthening economic and commercial ties with the fast-growing and dynamic Asia-Pacific region and opening new markets for our exporters is part of our government’s ambitious pro-trade plan to create jobs and opportunities for hard-working Canadians and businesses. Our successes in the Philippines show that our small and medium-sized businesses can find markets for Canadian-made products and services that deliver jobs and benefits at home and abroad.”

– Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade

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Employment: Commission proposes €700,000 from Globalisation Fund to help redundant workers in the carpentry sector in Spain

European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 22 July 2014

Employment: Commission proposes €700,000 from Globalisation Fund to help redundant workers in the carpentry sector in Spain

The European Commission has proposed to provide Spain with €700,000 from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to help 400 workers made redundant in the carpentry and joinery sector in the Castilla y León region to find new jobs. The proposal now goes to the European Parliament and the EU’s Council of Ministers for approval.

EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor commented: “The Spanish society and economy have been hard hit by the financial crisis and the employment situation in the region of Castilla y León is a matter of great concern, but I am convinced that the proposed support from Europe’s Globalisation Adjustment Fund would help the workers who lost their jobs to find new opportunities in the same or other sectors”.

Spain applied for support from the EGF following the dismissal of 587 workers in three businesses operating in the joinery and carpentry sector in the region of Castilla y León. The workers primarily make doors and window frames used in the construction of buildings. These dismissals were the result of the shrinking market for wooden doors and window frames worldwide and the decline in the volume of exports of these goods from Spain during the past years.

The measures co-financed by the EGF would help the 400 workers facing the greatest difficulties in finding new jobs by providing them with intensive job-search assistance, counselling and guidance, general training and re-training, vocational training, promotion of entrepreneurship and a variety of allowances and incentives.

The total estimated cost of the package is €1.4 million, of which the EGF would provide half.


The market for joinery and carpentry products for the building sector is shrinking globally and the volume of worldwide exports of this commodity decreased by 3.4% from 14.2 billion US dollars in 2008 to 13.7 billion US dollars in 2011. Between 2008 and 2011 the volume of EU-27 exports of these products decreased by 10.33 % and its market share dropped from 17.24% to 16%.

During the same period the Philippines almost doubled its market share (which rose from 6.31% to 12.13%) and other Far Eastern countries also increased their share although to a lesser extent – China for instance increased its market share by 15% and Malaysia by 37%.

This decline in the EU-27 market share led to the closure of a number of enterprises operating in the sector, with negative consequences for employment. As noted in the staff working document accompanying the Commission’s communication on A new EU forest strategy for forest and the forest based sector, the number of enterprises in the manufacture of wooden and timber products decreased by 8% between 2003 and 2010, while employment in the sector decreased by 20% in the period 2000-2011.

Employment in Castilla y León has been severely affected by the crisis. The unemployment rate in the region increased rapidly from 8.2% in the first quarter of 2008 to 22.70% in the same quarter of 2013. The redundancies in the manufacture of wood and timber products will further magnify the unemployment situation, since the affected territory, Pinares (literally ‘pine groves’), is highly dependent on the wood sector and the pine trees constitute the main economic resource, which has resulted in an industrial area of primary and secondary processing of wood.

The region already received EGF support for another mass redundancy case in the automotive industry (IP/09/233).

More open trade with the rest of the world leads to overall benefits for growth and employment, but it can also cost some jobs, particularly in vulnerable sectors and affecting lower-skilled workers. This is why Commission President Barroso first proposed setting up a fund to help those adjusting to the consequences of globalisation. Since the start of its operations in 2007, the EGF has received 125 applications. Some €518 million has been requested to help more than 112,000 workers. EGF applications are being presented to help workers in a growing number of sectors, and by an increasing number of Member States. In 2013 alone, it provided more than €53.5 million in support.

In June 2009, the EGF rules were revised to strengthen the role of the EGF as an early intervention instrument forming part of Europe’s response to the financial and economic crisis. The revised EGF Regulation entered into force on 2 July 2009 and the crisis criterion applied to all applications received from 1 May 2009 to 30 December 2011.

Building on this experience and the value added by the EGF for the assisted workers and affected regions, the Fund continues during the 2014-2020 period as an expression of EU solidarity, with further improvements to its functioning. Its scope has been expanded to include again workers made redundant because of the economic crisis, as well as fixed-term workers, the self-employed, and, by way of derogation until the end of 2017, young people not in employment, education or training in regions of high youth unemployment.

Further information

EGF website

Video News Releases:

Europe acts to fight the crisis: the European Globalisation Fund revitalised

Facing up to a globalised world – The European Globalisation Fund

Subscribe to the European Commission’s free e-mail newsletter on employment, social affairs and inclusion

László Andor’s website

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Philippines’ First Typhoon of Season Raises Concerns over Evacuation Centres

Philippines – IOM teams are conducting assessments of the areas affected by Typhoon Rammasun (known locally as Glenda), a Category 3 storm that made landfall in the Philippines three times earlier this week, prompting the evacuation of over 500,000 people and claiming at least 40 lives.

The assessments are being conducted in close coordination with local government units, at the request of the Philippines’ Department for Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Initial findings from the worst affected province, Albay in Bicol, found that 42,000 houses are heavily damaged or destroyed.  IOM is ready to support the Government in the construction of stronger houses once needs are confirmed.

In Laguna, close to Metro Manila, 13,000 houses were destroyed or in need of repair and in Northern Samar, where around 14,000 families were affected, distributions of tarpaulins and essential relief items are underway.

Rammasun is the first typhoon to hit the country since the devastating super typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda last November. 

Although the Haiyan-affected regions of the Visayas were spared a direct hit by Rammasun, heavy wind and rain caused widespread flooding.  In Tacloban, over 1,000 families, the majority of whom are still living in tents, were pre-emptively evacuated by the city government with the support of IOM and other humanitarian partners.  Days before Rammasun struck, an evacuation drill, organized by IOM and the city government, was undertaken.

Despite the success of the pre-emptive measures, the lack of safe evacuation centres – initially reported by IOM in April – remains a key concern, especially in the Haiyan affected region. 

“The primary evacuation centre in Tacloban [the Tacloban City Convention Centre, or Astrodome] has a damaged roof which leaks, and is located right by the coast.  What is available in Guiuan is even bleaker – a half-finished building with open sides, and three small classrooms in a school,” explained Brad Mellicker, head of IOM’s sub-office in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, where only eight per cent of designated evacuation centres are still standing.

IOM’s Chief of Mission in the Philippines Marco Boasso commented: “Our teams worked flat out to get vulnerable people to safety ahead of typhoon Rammasun.  But this is just the start of the typhoon season and there may be much stronger storms to come.  Our disaster preparedness precautions will be fruitless, without more efforts focused on building durable, safe evacuation centres.”

For more information, please contact

Marco Boasso
IOM Philippines

Training volcano scientists from around the world to predict, respond to eruptions

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Disaster trainingTraining volcano scientists from around the world to predict, respond to eruptions

Published 16 July 2014

Scientists and technicians who work at volcano observatories in eleven countries visited the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory earlier this month to learn techniques for monitoring active volcanoes. The International Training Program in Volcano Hazards Monitoring is designed to assist scientists from other nations in attaining self-sufficiency in monitoring volcanoes and reducing the risks from eruptions.

An uncommon undersea volcanic eruption // Source:

Scientists and technicians who work at volcano observatories in eleven countries visited the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory earlier this month to learn techniques for monitoring active volcanoes.

The International Training Program in Volcano Hazards Monitoring is designed to assist scientists from other nations in attaining self-sufficiency in monitoring volcanoes and reducing the risks from eruptions. Field exercises on Kilauea and Mauna Loa Volcanoes allow students to observe and operate a variety of instruments, and classroom instruction at the Observatory provides students the opportunity to interpret data, as well as plan a monitoring network for their home volcanoes. U.S. scientists are providing training on monitoring methods, data analysis and interpretation, and volcanic hazard assessment, and participants are taught about the use and maintenance of volcano monitoring instruments. Participants learn about forecasting events, responding rapidly during volcanic crises, and how to work with governing officials and the news media to save lives and property.

A USGS release reports that the annual program, organized by the Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, with support from the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa and the joint USGSU.S. Agency for International Development Volcano Disaster Assistance Program, has been training foreign scientists for twenty-four years. This year’s class included sixteen volcano scientists from Chile, Colombia Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Italy, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea.

“Hawaiian volcanoes offer an excellent teaching opportunity because our volcanoes are relatively accessible, they’re active, and USGS staff scientists can teach while actually monitoring volcanic activity,” said the USGS’s HVO Scientist-in-Charge, Jim Kauahikaua. “The small investment we make in training international scientists now goes a long way toward mitigating large volcanic disasters in the future.”

“Providing training in volcano hazards assessment and monitoring is by far the most cost effective strategy for reducing losses and saving lives for those developing nations exposed to high volcanic hazards risks,” said CSAV director Donald Thomas. “The goal of our course is to provide our trainees with an understanding of the technologies that can be applied to an assessment of volcanic threats as well as how to interface with their respective communities to increase awareness of how to respond to those threats.”

“The training program directly benefits the United States, through international exchange of knowledge concerning volcanic eruptions, and it serves as an important element in our country’s humanitarian assistance and science diplomacy programs around the world,” said the USGS’s VDAP chief, John Pallister.

The international participants learn to use both traditional geological tools and the latest technology. To anticipate the future behavior of a volcano, basic geologic mapping brings an understanding of what a volcano is capable of doing, how frequently it has erupted in the past, and what kind of rocks, and ash it produces. Using Geographic Information Systems, the students learn to predict lava flow paths, conduct a vulnerability assessment, and tabulate the predicted costs associated with the damage from a lava flow. Participants are trained in the emerging field of infrasound monitoring, which is critical for rapidly detecting volcanic explosions and rift zone eruptions, as well as basic seismological fundamentals, and a survey of pre-eruptive seismic swarms at various volcanoes around the world. Monitoring and modeling deformation of a volcano focuses on different techniques from traditional leveling methods to GPS and satellite-based radar.

The release notes that providing critical training to international scientists began at HVO, leading to the creation of CSAV to continue the legacy. Since 1990, almost 200 scientists and civil workers from twenty-nine countries have received training in volcano monitoring methods through CSAV. USGS’s HVO continues to provide instructors and field experiences for the courses, and VDAP has a long-term partnership with CSAV, providing instructors and co-sponsoring participants from countries around the world.

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