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MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR


Cesar Jaramillo

Even as the global public health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic continued to upend our lives in 2020, Project Ploughshares endeavoured to adapt to the new reality in a way that allowed us to persist in our longstanding pursuit of a more just, peaceful, and secure world. We remained committed to building back better by exposing truths, analyzing the consequences of policies and actions, and promoting just solutions to problems related to conventional and nuclear weapons, emerging technologies, and the security of outer space.

Because the presence of a pandemic did not mean that the multifaceted security challenges facing Canada and the international community had gone away. Quite the contrary. The current security landscape continued to pose grave risks to international peace. And so the work of Project Ploughshares went on.

We were active participants in international coalitions, including the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the International Network on Explosive Weapons, Control Arms, and the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. We were in the vanguard of a movement to develop norms on responsible behaviour in outer space. One major goal: to limit if not stop the weaponization of space, before it is too late. This work is essential, because human use of outer space has become so integrated with most daily activities, including communications, transportation, food production, and the provision of health and security services.

In response to the Canadian government’s arguments in late 2020 for continuing arms sales to Saudi Arabia, we laid out the flaws in their case. We repeatedly called upon Canada to meet its obligations under the international Arms Trade Treaty and existing domestic law.

In 2020, Ploughshares produced significant new work on the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in defence and security applications that are being used by more and more militaries and police services around the world—including in Canada. This vital information helped civil society and ordinary citizens protect personal liberties and human rights—without which, there can be no true peace.

And, as we have for our entire history, we advocated for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, which could destroy all life as we know it and which must never be used.

The production of evidence-based research and the effective communication of the policy implications of such research to a wide range of stakeholders in Canada and abroad remained top priorities for us in 2020.

In 2021, we are continuing this vital work. New initiatives, including public events, focus on disarmament education and public engagement. We continue to nurture and expand partnerships with likeminded organizations around the world.

I invite you to read through our Annual Report for further details on our work in 2020.

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Established in 1976, Project Ploughshares is an operating division of the Canadian Council of Churches that supports arms reduction and control, nuclear disarmament, space security,
and peacebuilding efforts around the globe.
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PLOUGHSHARES AT A GLANCE

PROJECT PLOUGHSHARES is a Canadian peace research institute with a focus on disarmament efforts and international security, specifically related to the arms trade, emerging military and security technologies, nuclear weapons, and outer space.

Project Ploughshares is the peace research institute of The Canadian Council of Churches.

Project Ploughshares operates out of the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement (CPA) at Conrad Grebel University College on the University of Waterloo campus. The CPA is home to University of Waterloo faculty and graduate students, as well as peace-oriented entrepreneurs and established local peacebuilding organizations.

Policy work and program implementation are often carried out in collaboration with other nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), in Canada and internationally.

Project Ploughshares is a member of the following groups:

 
International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
 
Campaign to Stop Killer Robots
 
Control Arms
 
Canadian Defence and Security Network
 
Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
 
International Action Network on Small Arms
 
International Network on Explosive Weapons
 
Canadian Council for International Co-operation
 
Peacebuild
 

Highlights

Nuclear Weapons

Nearly 14,000 nuclear weapons still exist. But arguments in favour of the purported benefits of possessing nuclear weapons are being strongly opposed by arguments that emphasize the humanitarian imperative for disarmament. Progress in achieving the abolition of nuclear weapons is hindered by factors that include the breakdown in the strategic relationship between Russia and the United States, the pursuit of a Mideast zone free of weapons of mass destruction, the overt nuclear deterrence policy endorsed by all NATO members, and the growing impatience by non-nuclear-weapon states over the lack of credible progress toward nuclear abolition. These factors and others underscore the precariousness of the global nuclear disarmament regime.

In 2020 Ploughshares staff:

  • Provided expert input for the webinar series organized by Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention; “Nuclear Disarmament in a World Emergency: Canada’s Responsibility” focused on the growing threat of a nuclear catastrophe in the context of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Collaborated with the Canadian Council of Churches’ Commission on Justice and Peace on an open letter urging the Canadian government to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
  • Strengthened our relationship with domestic and international networks working on nuclear disarmament, including the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, SEHLAC, Canadian Pugwash Group, Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, and the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.
  • Produced commentary and analysis, including on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Iran nuclear deal) and on the anticipated entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

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Conventional Weapons Control

The global trade in conventional weapons fuels armed conflict, props up tyrannical regimes, and contributes to the destruction of the built and natural environments. For more than four decades, Project Ploughshares has been collecting and sharing data on the Canadian trade and transfer of conventional weapon systems. Our research and analysis are intended to curb irresponsible arms sales, encourage Canada’s adherence to export controls, and support multilateral efforts to reduce the humanitarian threats posed by the global arms trade.

In 2020 Ploughshares staff:

  • Virtually attended the 6th Conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), as well as related preparatory committees.
  • Released our report Killer optics: Exports of WESCAM sensors to Turkey, which was a significant factor in Canada’s decision to suspend the exports of Canadian-made L3Harris WESCAM surveillance and targeting sensors to Turkey.
  • Were featured in several media reports on Canadian arms exports to countries where there is a clear risk of misuse, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
  • Testified before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development (FAAE) on the granting of arms export permits, with a particular focus on Turkey.
  • Continued to support efforts to create a political declaration that addressed the harm caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, including through participation in consultations organized by the government of Ireland.

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Space Security

Earth is becoming more and more reliant on outer space for social, scientific, and economic benefits at a time when no clear regulations exist to prevent an arms race in outer space.

In 2020 Ploughshares staff:

  • Led a flagship project on the development of norms to support peace and security objectives in outer space. This work included:
    • Compiling and coding 100+ primary documents related to outer space governance
    • A survey of global space experts
    • A global series of three interactive, virtual workshops
    • The presentation of elements of this research and its findings at the following events: Rand workshop on space norms, (September); Space Sustainability Summit (September); AMOS Policy Forum (September); Balsillie School of International Affairs, Global Insights (September); Wilson Center (October); International Astronautical Congress (October); Operating in Space: Current Multilateral Policy Issues and Challenges (UK Mission to the United Nations, October); Space Court Foundation/Secure World Foundation seminar "Reducing Space Threats Through Norms, Rules, and Principles of Responsible Behaviour” (December).
  • Program staff also transitioned the long-standing Space Security Index project into an online portal aimed at public education and knowledge mobilization.

Read More

Emerging Technologies

Technological advancements continue to pose new challenges for global security. While some applications have clear societal benefits, others threaten to be destabilizing and dangerous.

In 2020 Ploughshares staff:

  • Conducted research on autonomous weapons and the responsible use of emerging technologies.
  • Engaged in consultations with government, academia, and civil society stakeholders on issues related to autonomous weapons.
  • Hosted a public discussion in Winnipeg on the issue of autonomous weapons.
  • Held an outreach event on autonomous weapons in Calgary with civil society and academic representatives.
  • Held a public event on Canada’s role in regulating autonomous weapons at the Ottawa Art Gallery.
  • Attended the Second Global Meeting of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • Participated in a virtual consultation on the impact of the global pandemic on national security hosted by the Canadian Defence and Security Network.
  • Organized a webinar on autonomous weapons, highlighting the need for Canadian leadership on this issue.
  • Participated virtually in the UNIDIR Innovations Dialogue: Life Sciences, International Security And Disarmament.
  • Participated in a webinar hosted by the Balsillie School of International Affairs on “The Future of Peace and Conflict.”
  • Attended the online forum on autonomous weapons and virtual discussions hosted by the Government of Germany.
  • Participated in a feminist foreign policy roundtable.

Read More

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ORGANIZATION

Management Committee

  • Bruce Adema Christian Reformed Church in North America 
  • Stephanie Brubacher Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
  • Rev. Dr. James Christie Chair, Member-at-large
  • Bob Clarke Vice Chair, Member-at-large
  • Dale Dewar Canadian Yearly Meeting, Religious Society of Friends
  • Kathryn Hare Treasurer, The Presbyterian Church in Canada (ended Nov. 2020)
  • Dwayne Hodgson The Anglican Church of Canada (ended April 2020)
  • Matthew Lingard The Presbyterian Church in Canada (started Dec. 2020)
  • Reina Neufeldt Member-at-large
  • Colin Read Canadian Unitarian Council
  • Rebekah Sears Mennonite Central Committee Canada
  • Vacant Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace
  • Vacant The United Church of Canada

Staff

  • Julia Bandura Administrative Assistant
  • Christopher Earle Peace Researcher Intern
  • Kenneth Epps Policy Advisor on the Arms Trade Treaty
  • Kelsey Gallagher Research Assistant 
  • Tasneem Jamal Communications Officer
  • Cesar Jaramillo Executive Director
  • Branka Marijan Senior Researcher
  • Matthew Pupic Director of Operations
  • Ben Skinner Multimedia Assistant
  • Wendy Stocker Editor and Archivist
  • Barbara Wagner Donor Services Administrator
  • Jessica West Senior Researcher
  • Erin Yantzi Peace Researcher Intern

Volunteers

  • Mark McWhinney Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Andrew Nicolardi Wilfrid Laurier University

Financial Report

OPERATING FUND


Project Ploughshares is audited each year by an independent accounting firm, and accounts are maintained in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. The audited financial statements are available on request.


Thank You. 

In 2020, thousands of individuals, organizations, and churches generously provided close to three-quarters of our funding.

We are also grateful to our sponsoring churches and to The Simons Foundation Canada in Vancouver for its generous financial support.



PROJECT PLOUGHSHARES

140 Westmount Road North
Waterloo ON N2L 3G6 Canada
www.ploughshares.ca
t +1 519 888 6541
plough@ploughshares.ca

OUR MISSION

To advance policies and actions to prevent war and armed violence and build peace.

OUR VISION

A secure world without war — a just world at peace.

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