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At critical moment for peacekeeping in Africa, Ghana steps up to host key summit

The gathering of defence ministers and others committed to peacekeeping efforts will focus on civilian protection, addressing misinformation and disinformation, promoting safety and security, protecting mental health, and boosting the pivotal role of women in UN missions.

Ghana’s Foreign Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, together with senior UN officials, said the flagship biennial meeting will help secure political support and generate pledges to strengthen UN Peacekeeping, in line with Action for Peacekeeping and A4P+.

The meeting is the fifth ministerial summit overall and the first to take place in Africa.

Key multilateral tool

“The 2023 Ministerial is an important opportunity for leaders to reaffirm their commitment and make pledges to UN Peacekeeping, which remains one of the most significant multilateral tools to achieve sustainable peace and development”, said Jean-Pierre Lacroix, head of UN Peace Operations. 

“We are grateful to Ghana for hosting this Ministerial meeting and for their critical contributions to strengthening our operations.” 

Peacekeeping missions are navigating major challenges including the withdrawal due to government request of MINUSMA in Mali, and MONUSCO in the DR Congo, whose president this week said he wanted blue helmets to pull out a year early, by the end of December.

Fill gaps, boost effectiveness

UN peacekeeping said the Accra summit will focus on securing concrete commitments from Member States to fill gaps, leverage new technologies, and address key priorities to improve the maximum operational effectiveness of all peacekeeping missions.

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“In addition to the myriad challenges currently before us, United Nations peace operations are also at a critical juncture in preventing and addressing misconduct as a central element of performance,” said Catherine Pollard, head of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance. 

“This is a collective endeavour,” she emphasised.

Strengthening partnerships

Member States are being encouraged to create or strengthen bilateral and triangular partnerships to ensure proposed improvements are sustainable and have the required impact. 

“Ghana and Africa’s contributions to peacekeeping are advancing beyond troop contributions to offering a vital forum in which countries can unite and collaborate on innovative strategies to address current challenges and discuss the future of peacekeeping,” said Atul Khare, who heads up Operational Support for the UN.

“I look forward to the formation of partnerships amongst participants to enhance the effectiveness of our peacekeepers, elevate the quality of their medical care, and foster environmentally responsible operations.”

The meeting in Accra is the latest in a series of high-level events that have seen world leaders pledge resources to help UN peacekeeping missions fully implement their mandates.

Generous contributions by various Member States at similar meetings have helped generate rapidly deployable military units, key aviation assets, better medical capacities, and helped advance the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda.

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