Ghana meeting seeks to boost political support to strengthen UN Peacekeeping
They are taking part in the 2023 UN Peacekeeping Ministerial, which opens in the capital, Accra, on Tuesday.
The two-day meeting aims to secure vital political support and concrete commitments to strengthen UN Peacekeeping efforts to meet current and future challenges and needs, in line with ongoing reform under the Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) framework and the A4P+ implementation plan.
UN peacekeeping and special political missions in Africa have been navigating major challenges this year, including the withdrawal at the military government’s request of MINUSMA in Mali, and the drawdown of MONUSCO in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, whose president said in September he wanted ‘blue helmets’ to start their planned withdrawal early, by the end of December.
Just last week, the Security Council agreed to terminate the political mission in Sudan, following a Government request for its immediate withdrawal last month, although a personal envoy of the UN Secretary-General will continue to work towards resolving the devastating civil conflict between rival militaries there.
A demonstration of support
“Ultimately, peacekeeping is a political endeavor. Our goal is to help parties secure and implement peace agreements and related processes. To succeed in a world that is more divided than ever, we need the united and active engagement of Member States,” said Jean-Pierre Lacroix, UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations.
He added that as field missions “navigate unprecedented challenges and threats, the Ministerial is an important opportunity for Member States to demonstrate their support and make concrete pledges to strengthen our effectiveness.”
The flagship event, co-hosted by the UN and Ghana, marks the fifth such meeting at the Ministerial-level and the first to be held on the African continent.
Advancing peace, protecting civilians
This time the focus is on crucial issues such as advancing sustainable peace, protection of civilians, strategic communications, and improving the safety and mental health of peacekeepers.
Member States and the UN will also work together to improve environmental management of peace operations and deploy more women peacekeepers to ensure they are more diverse and inclusive.
UN Peacekeeping ‘indispensable’
Ghana's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, spoke of her country’s long-standing contribution to UN Peacekeeping, having provided uniformed personnel – troops and police – since the 1960s.
She also acknowledged the “long and positive track record of peacekeeping in Africa”.
She said Ghana “believes that UN Peacekeeping has a future and remains indispensable and invaluable in advancing peace in conflict settings globally.”
“It is therefore pertinent that the world remains resolute in our commitment to jealously guarding this multilateral tool and fully support the Secretary-General’s initiatives such as the Action for Peacekeeping and A4P+ which are essential to improving the effectiveness of modern-day peacekeeping and tackling the security challenges of our time,” she added.
Pledges and commitments
The Accra meeting is the latest in a series of high-level events that have enabled world leaders to pledge resources to help missions fully implement their mandates, according to UN Peacekeeping.
Past Ministerials in New York, London, Vancouver, and Seoul have helped generate rapidly deployable military units, key aviation assets, better medical capacities and to advance the Women, Peace, and Security agenda.