The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, H.E. Jean-Pierre Lacroix, has commended Ghana and the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) for invaluable contributions to peacekeeping on the continent and in various parts of the world. H.E. Lacroix said the Centre has proven itself as a very critical ally in the peacebuilding process through its role in training and building the capacity of persons involved in peacekeeping operations.
He said; “Ghana is synonymous with peacekeeping; we are deeply grateful to Ghana and the confidence to continually count on your support.”
HE Lacroix made these remarks on his visit to KAIPTC, upon arrival in Accra to attend the funeral of the late Major General Francis Vib-Sanziri, the former Head of Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) who passed away on Friday 19 April 2019.
He mentioned the exemplary leadership of the late Force Commander and the enormity of his loss not only to Ghana, but to the UN as well. He also paid tribute to Ghanaian peacekeepers who had fallen whiles serving, and honoured them for their invaluable sacrifices and for their courageous lives to bring peace to the world; he also expressed deepest gratitude to the venerable men and women who currently serve in peacekeeping missions, celebrating them for their tenacity, and protection for the most vulnerable.
“The Centre is a well-known institution and I am glad to be here. I congratulate you for the very rich and diverse activities you are carrying out.” He said it was refreshing to observe that aside training, the Centre has research and postgraduate programmes in African Peace and Security as two of its pillars; these, he said, are key foundations for the achievement of the global agenda for peace and security.
The Under-Secretary-General added that; “I believe that it is very important for us at the UN, particularly the peace operations department to be very strongly connected to this institution. You are very strategic in the sense that you provide the type of training that is very operational.”
He mentioned the Secretary-General’s initiative on Action for Peacekeeping, adding that it was to recognize and highlight the great achievements of peacekeepers, whiles also bringing global attention to current challenges confronting peacekeeping. He mentioned three challenges which are the sluggish implementation of political solutions; the increasingly dangerous peacekeeping environment with UN peacekeepers as targets and the importance of protection of civilians in missions.
To resolve these challenges, he said there was the need for increased political solutions, as peacekeeping by itself, cannot thrive. The resolution of these challenges, he said, was a co-operative effort. He also highlighted the need to improve performance across all levels – training, equipment, mobility, medical support, performance assessment, etc.
KAIPTC’s role in contributing to resolve these issues in relevant areas was key, he noted, reiterating the importance of KAIPTC’s Mobile Training initiative and the delivery of training off-site. He said in-mission training was critical to facilitating the achievement of the mandate of a mission.
He added further that the implementation of the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda in peacekeeping was a top priority for the UN. The target was to increase women in peacekeeping operations by 16 percent. He underscored the priceless role women played in peacekeeping, sharing that they are the ones who engage with community members and help to regain their trust. They are the crucial linkages between the community and the missions, and they make a huge difference in building the relationships with the communities to help in their protection.
He lauded Ghana for leading in the WPS agenda and urged support for more women to rise in leadership in the Armed Forces.
On his part, the Commandant of KAIPTC, Air Vice Marshal Griffiths Evans expressed his delight over the visit and noted that the Centre would continue to provide training, research and policy initiatives in peacekeeping and peace operations, adding that “KAIPTC has a niche, and our niche is to trade peace and security operations, that is what we do and we do it best. We have plied our trade with ECOWAS and the African Union. We have done it very well and extensively worked with them to give lots of training; although we have organized a few courses with the UN, we want to deepen our relationship with the UN; we want to be the eyes and ears of the UN in Africa.” He expressed KAIPTC’s readiness and commitment to collaborating with the UN to find lasting solutions to the challenges in peace operations on the continent and other parts of the world.
The Chief of Defense Staff of the Ghana Armed Forces Lieutenant General OB Akwa added that deploying peacekeepers is part of Ghana’s Foreign Policy. The Ghana Armed Forces, he said, is making all efforts to meet the objective of 16 percent in peacekeeping operations as shared by the UN. He said the goal is to deploy women peacekeepers to the core areas in the missions, and not to logistical and auxiliary roles.
The Ghana Ministry of Defence (MoD) established the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in 1998 and commissioned it in 2004. The purpose was to build upon and share Ghana’s five decades of internationally acclaimed experience and competence in peace operations with other states in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region and the rest of Africa. This was in recognition of the need for training military, police and civilian men and women to meet the changing demands of multidimensional peace operations. The Centre is one of the three (3) Peacekeeping Training Centres of Excellence mandated by the ECOWAS to offer training in peacekeeping and peace support operations (PSO) in Africa.
The Centre delivers training courses in three thematic areas; Peace Support Operations, Conflict Management and Peace and Security Studies and also runs Masters and PhD programmes in same. The KAIPTC has a world-class research department that undertakes research in the thematic areas in Peace and Security. Located in Accra, Ghana, the KAIPTC is an internationally recognised institution and has to date trained and tutored over 21,000 participants and students since its inception.
KAIPTC is a gender-sensitive organisation and committed to gender equality. Following the launch of its gender policy in 2014, the Centre has mainstreamed gender into its policies and programmes, and integrates same in its focal areas, namely training, research and postgraduate education. The Centre has developed a Sexual Harassment policy and fully oriented employees on same. It has also provided a Nursing and Childcare Centre and instituted a paternity leave policy, all with the aim to create a conducive work environment at KAIPTC.