With the United Nations being asked to shoulder ever more peacekeeping responsibility, especially in Africa, countries must provide greater support for missions, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today in a message to the inauguration of a new centre in Ghana bearing his name.
As the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre was officially opened in Accra, a UN official read the message hailing its establishment in an era of rising demands for trained peacekeepers.
"The Centre provides an important forum for sharing the expertise," he said in a message delivered on his behalf by Alfred Fawundu, the UN's Resident Coordinator in Ghana.
Mr. Annan noted that UN peacekeeping "has undergone a dramatic surge in activity," with six operations currently underway in Africa alone and several others planned.
"The UN is increasingly discharging wide-ranging, complex and often unprecedented tasks," he said, calling for "sustained and practical" international support for peacekeeping.
A national of Ghana, the Secretary-General said he was "deeply honoured" that the Centre, which was established by the Ghanaian Government and armed forces, has been named after him.
Mr. Annan also praised the international peacekeeping role played by Ghana over the past 40 years. Ghanaians have served in 29 UN missions, while 98 of the country's personnel have lost their lives in the course of duty.