CANADEM's Future (Forward to the past)
Over twenty years CANADEM has become many things to many people, premised upon our very large and ever growing roster of experts: 45,017.
Along the way, our original raison d’être was terminated by a new government under Prime Minister Harper that did not value the United Nations, and was not very supportive of Canadian NGOs like CANADEM. So in 2007 his government stopped supporting CANADEM as a nation roster to advance international placements.
So what was CANADEM’s original 1996-2007 mandate and persona?
The Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs wanted to strengthen the United Nations by rostering and showcasing qualified Canadians so that more Canadians would be hired by the UN and similar organizations like the OAS and the OSCE.
Some countries already had such national roster mechanisms. Some located them within government, others such as Norway and Germany felt that it was more effective and less costly to have their national roster outside of government. Canadian Foreign Affairs similarly chose to set up CANADEM as foreign policy tool but housed outside of government as an NGO.
Fast forward to 2017
The importance of the UN hiring the brightest and the best has not changed. The utility of national and regional rosters has only expanded, and the number of governments supporting rosters has grown.
Here is a link to a recent CANADEM position paper that also talks about the demise of the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre and the failure to realize Canada Corps, which also transpired under PM Harper. As the Trudeau government continues to think about bringing Canada back to UN peace operations, this paper sets out a civilian option on how to move forward.