2021 Seoul UN Peacekeeping Ministerial meeting opens next week

Representatives of United Nations (UN) member states, including Ghana, will converge on Seoul in Korea, next week, to strengthen their support to peacekeeping, at the 2021 Seoul UN Peacekeeping Ministerial meeting.

Scheduled for December 7 and 8, 2021, the platform would enable countries to close peacekeeping capability gaps through pledges on technology, medical capacity building, reduction of the UN’s carbon footprint, and increase of the number and role of women peacekeepers.

The two-day event, being hosted for the first time in Asia, would assemble foreign and defence ministers, heads of international organisations, academics, and journalists to enhance the impact of the UN’s 12 peacekeeping operations.

This would be the latest in a series of meetings at the head of state, government, or ministerial level since 2014 with the last meeting held in 2019, in New York.

In a virtual pre-event interview with the Ghanaian Times on Friday, the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Africa in the Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations, Ms. Martha Pobee, described the meeting as crucial to peacekeeping operations.

“UN peacekeeping is the most effective tool to help countries transition to peace and over 70 years of its experience, it has proven to be a highly resilient adaptive and cost-effective response to armed conflict. It is an important tool in maintaining global peace and security”, she said.

Ms Pobee said the meeting would, therefore, take stock of operations and tailor responses to the ever-changing complexities in peacekeeping and afford member states the opportunity to make pledges on logistics and other support they could provide to better tackle threats, especially in the area of aviation and medical support.

 At the meeting, she said political support and commitment would be rallied for the new implementation strategy for the Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative called A4P+.

On the women, peace and security agenda, Ms Pobee said member states discuss how they would increase the number of women in peacekeeping operations and leadership positions as well as support their participation in the peace process.

She commended Ghana for her impressive record of consistently ranking among the top 10 in troupe contributing countries and currently being the ninth amongst 160 countries.

 With a total deployment of 2,296, comprising troupes, police, and observers, Ms Pobee said, the women in Ghana’s troupe had increased from   9.4 per cent in 2012 to 16 per cent in 2021.

She said “Ghana has been in UN peacekeeping efforts for longest since the 1960 and Ghana remaining there, obviously mean that there is a lot of good the country has been doing. It is good for Ghana to be seen as a country interested in the preservation of global peace and security. It is good for the country’s global image”, she said.

 Ms. Pobee stated that 90 per cent of the energy needed in peacekeeping was provided by diesel generators, and as part of the UN’s goal to reduce emissions, member states would discuss how to pilot the deployment of military or police units with renewable energy capacity.

Although were some outbreaks of COVID-19 in some peacekeeping missions, she said vaccination and other measures put in place, including a solid monitoring regime, had brought the situation under control.

BY JONATHAN DONKOR

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