The United Nations (UN) Under-Secretary-General of Peace Operations Department, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, has urged Ghana to involve more women in critical areas of peacekeeping operations, to help deal with conflicts and its associated challenges.
He said women were widely regarded as agents of peace, hence their involvement in peacekeeping processes and operations was likely to produce greater success in the fight for peace and security across the world.
In line with the UN’s Women in Peace Agenda, he explained that an increase in the number of women in peacekeeping operations across the world would contribute significantly to addressing sexual abuses suffered by the vulnerable in conflict hit areas.
Mr Lacroix was speaking in Accra last Thursday with some members of the military high command including the Chief of Defence Staff, Lieutenant General Obed Boamah Akwa and management of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), as part of his visit to the country.
The visit was also to mourn with the family of the late Major General Francis Vib-Sanziri, Head of Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), who passed away in Israel on April 24 this year and was buried on Friday.
Commending the country for its role in peacekeeping worldwide, he said, “Ghana is synonymous with peacekeeping and it has for decades contributed a lot of both human and other resources to promote peace in the world.”
Out of 16 peacekeeping operations across the world by the UN, Mr Lacroix said Ghana was contributing more than 3,000 personnel to 14 of them.
To improve the capabilities of the troops, he stated that the UN was committed to partnerships with peace and security training institutions, including the KAIPTC to provide the needed training and re-training to enable personnel deal effectively with various challenges in operations.
“The UN views training as key to achieving its objectives. Intense cooperation with institutions is necessary to address challenges in peacekeeping operations which is now more than ever dangerous, records more fatalities and expose vulnerable civilians in areas of operations to possible abuses,” he added.
The Under-Secretary-General called on all countries to increase their efforts towards identifying political solutions to conflicts and work together to address equipment and training gaps for peacekeeping troops.
Lieutenant General Akwa said that peacekeeping was a core part of Ghana’s foreign policy which ensured that the country made available peacekeepers when needed at all times.
He said the military high command was already working to meet the 16 per cent of women in peacekeeping troops requirement by the UN, adding that the country was currently at 12 per cent.
Commandant of KAIPTC, Griffiths Santrofi Evans, said the centre would continue to work closely with the UN to improve peace relations among the countries.
Ernest Ansah-Lartey, Programme Head, Peace and Security Studies, KAIPTC, said the centre would in September commence an annual forum dubbed ‘Kofi Annan Peace and Security Forum’ to honour the late Secretary General of the organisation and seek the experience and expertise of former leaders in resolving emerging threats to peace and security.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS