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We need to leverage on technologies to enhance safety of peacekeepers and civilians – Jean-Pierre Lacroix


By: Hannah Dadzie

The UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix has asked UN members states to leverage on technologies to enhance the safety of peacekeepers. He said threats to peacekeepers are evolving, therefore using technologies to ensure the safety of peacekeepers must be prioritized.

Opening a panel discussion which focused on capabilities for mandate delivery and ensuring effective operations, including protection, safety and security and technology at the ongoing the UN Ministerial Peacekeeping Meeting at the Accra International Conference Centre, Mr Lacroix said the challenges the member states face require renewed commitment, including to supply critical capabilities.

For digital transformation to take place, he said the United Nations is to empower peacekeepers with enhanced capabilities to analyze threats and conflicts and overcome challenges.

“We must ensure that our uniform personnel are properly trained with the requisite equipment to avoid the killings in operations. This requires improved and electronic counter measures. Training must be at all levels and there must be pre-deployment. We also need units with specialised skills like organised crime and cyber security” Mr Lacroix said.

He said although measures have been put in place to enhance the safety and security of peacekeepers and civilians, a lot need to be done due to the occurrences of threats.

He said there is also the need to recognise the critical importance of ensuring peacekeepers work in an environment that enables them to thrive, and also increase the number of female peacekeepers including in leadership and operational roles.

Mr Lacroix expressed worry that the protection of civilians, are often seen only in the hands of uniformed men. He said it requires leveraging the full capabilities of missions including the use of armed and unarmed approaches.

“Protection of civilians is absolutely central to the mandates of our multidimensional peacekeeping missions and it must be implemented through an integrated comprehensive mission approach” he noted.

A panel member, Minister of Defence of Rwanda, H.E Juvenal Marizamunda said there is no mission that has no shortfalls and challenges, therefore member states should impress on digital technologies, put in more resources and build collaboration and capacities.

“Much as resource remain scarce, we should integrate and coordinate various components by putting resource in place to achieve synergies. Such will allow rapid response to threats” H.E. Marizamunda said.

Minister of Defence of Portugal, H. E Helena Carreiras reaffirmed her country’s role in peacekeeping in whatever form it takes.

She said beyond effective training and professional performance, there is the need to work on cultural interoperability that is needed to create trust, because trust is the cement of operations.

“If we lack trust, non of our operations will be very rewarding. There is the need to build trust for the success of peacekeeping operations. This will help us face the challenges of peace keeping operations across the globe. We can under-evaluate the need to build trust. To build trust is to promote dialogue, respect and to understand that we are not producing security but we are co-producing security. This is something that at all levels should be underlined because the success of missions sometimes is due to the recognition of mutual trust” H. E Carreiras noted.

Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, H.E. Pahala Nugraha Mansury, also called for adequate resources and participation because peacekeeping cannot thrive without inclusivity and partnership.

“The situation of threats is becoming more challenging with what troops are facing on a daily basis. We must explore innovative approaches to meet the growing threats” H.E. Nugraha Mansury said.

Members states who have pledged their commitment through a number of interventions hopes there would be actionable outcomes, continuous dialogue and also forge partnership in the commitment of peacekeeping for a more secured future.


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