By Hannah Dadzie
Ninety-one UN Member States and three international organisations, have expressed their commitment and political support to United Nations Peacekeeping at the 2023 Ministerial, which concluded in Accra, yesterday.
At the first Peacekeeping Ministerial Meeting held in Africa, 57 Member States announced new pledges to meet current and future challenges and needs, in line with ongoing reform under Action for Peacekeeping and A4P+, key priorities to improve peacekeeping effectiveness.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey said concrete pledges generated by this historic event will provide the cushion UN peace operations require to execute complex mandates in complicated environments.
The Ministerial produced significant new commitments in high-need areas, such as aviation and infantry units, including quick reaction forces and rapidly deployable units to help missions become more robust in responding to threats. Member States also pledged reconnaissance and critical enabling units, such as Explosive Ordnance Disposal units. Together, these specialized capabilities will contribute to the protection of civilians and improve the safety and security of peacekeepers.
These include, 33 Member States made pledges of over 110 new military and police units to UN peacekeeping. Partnerships, through training and capacity-building of troop and police contributing countries, were also a key commitment from many Member States.
45 Member States pledged specialized trainings on an array of critical issues such as peacekeeping-intelligence, protection of civilians, gender-responsive leadership and the prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.
In line with the meeting’s core themes, Member States recommitted to deploying more women in peacekeeping operations, including in leadership roles. Pledges were also announced to improve environmental management of missions by harnessing new technologies and switching to renewable energy as well as leaving a positive environmental legacy in host countries.
In addition, Member States provided new support to strengthen mental health services for uniformed peacekeepers, the digital transformation of peacekeeping and resources to bolster strategic communication and address mis- and disinformation. 14 Member States made environment-related pledges, including to deploy with or help other countries deploy with renewable energy. 12 Member States made pledges to support the UN’s strategic communications efforts, including resources to address mis- and disinformation.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey
asked members to put into actions, the pledges and commitments made to shape peacekeeping operations.
“Now more than ever we need to put into action all the bold pledges made at the Accra Ministerial. I wish to on behalf of government and people of Ghana, thank you sincerely for coming to Accra for the first Peacekeeping meeting to be held on the continent of Africa. As a top troop contributing country to the UN Peacekeeping, Ghana remains resolute in her commitment to support efforts aimed at making UN Peacekeeping effective. The takeaways from the Accra Ministerial should feature in future engagements to help address the gaps facing modern-day peacekeeping in various fora.”Madam Ayorkor Botchwey said.
The UN Under Secretary-General of Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix expressed gratitude to member states for their commitments to peacekeeping.
“We are grateful to the Republic of Ghana for hosting this Ministerial and their ongoing contributions to UN Peacekeeping. As missions navigate unprecedented challenges, the political support and concrete pledges received will help strengthen our effectiveness. In a world that is more divided than ever, the united and active engagement of Member States in this process is critical. Under-Secretary-General, Jean-Pierre Lacroix noted
Minister of Defence, Dominic Nitiwul, said relationships formed and the commitments made by member states are seeds planted for a more peaceful and secured world, the harvest of which they will reap in the years ahead.
“We believe that over the last two days, the deliberations that we’ve had have become a vehicle to transform UN and harness ideas that will reshape the UN Peacekeeping efforts across the world” Mr Nitiwul said
Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support, Atul Khare congratulated the Government of Ghana on the resounding success of the Peacekeeping Ministerial. He was particularly grateful for wide ranging pledges from those that strengthen partnerships to build the capacity of uniformed peacekeepers to others that improve our logistics and health support as well as reduce our environmental footprint in the field.
“It underscores the pivotal role that partnership plays in UN peacekeeping. We are fully committed to do our utmost to support Member States in implementing their pledges to make peacekeeping more effective, efficient and impactful,” Mr Khare noted.
Under-Secretary-General for Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance, Catherine Pollard said every peacekeeper must serve with honour, upholding our standards and the reputation of the United Nations. This is an essential requirement for acceptance by local communities and to effectively implement our mandates.
“We work in close partnership with troop and police contributing countries to ensure those standards are met, and I thank all Member States who pledged their commitment to work with us to manage the risks of sexual exploitation and abuse, in particular, with a focus on prevention. I also thank those Member States who have voluntarily contributed to the Trust Fund in Support of Victims of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and welcome any further contributions,” Madam Pollard added
At the closing, Ghana passed the baton to Germany, who will host the next UN Peacekeeping Ministerial in 2025. The State Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Germany, Nils Hilmer, said Germany would keep up the momentum that was generated in Ghana and continue the important discussion on the future of Peacekeeping and how to strengthen UN operations.
More than 70,000 peacekeepers, who currently serve in 12 missions around the world, are helping to save lives, prevent conflict and creating conditions for lasting peace.