Canada hosted the 2017 UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial on November 14-15 in Vancouver, British-Columbia. The conference was the largest gathering of Defence ministers dedicated to UN Peacekeeping with more than 550 delegates from some 79 countries and five international organizations and was attended by Under-Secretaries-General for Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support, Jean-Pierre Lacroix and Atul Khare.
The goals the conference's goals were:
- To measure the progress made since the 2016 UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial;
- To encourage new pledges from Member States, particularly in areas where the UN faces gaps, such as rapid deployment, helicopters and francophone units;
- To advance peacekeeping reform through the efforts of Member States and the UN to improve the UN’s capacity to better plan and perform peacekeeping operations;
- To foster pragmatic and innovative solutions to make peacekeeping operations more effective, by building on the “3Ps” (pledges, planning, performance) with a new focus on partnerships.
48 delegations made new peacekeeping pledges and 54 countries endorsed the Vancouver Principles on the prevention of the recruitment and use of child soldiers in peacekeeping operations.
Many Member States came forward with “smart” pledges, including some in partnership with other countries and the UN to deliver key capabilities to fill gaps in peacekeeping operations, such as: Engineering units, Fixed and rotary wing aviation assets, Quick Reaction Forces, Rapidly Deployable Battalions, and Medical capabilities
Commitments also included innovative pledges for better and more sustainable training and capacity-building. These training efforts will help to ensure that peacekeepers can succeed in the difficult contexts into which they are deployed. Member States also pledged to increase the deployment of female troops and police officers.
For details on all pledges made in Vancouver, please visit the Canadian Armed Forces Facebook page.
Peacekeeping has the power to transform the world but bold innovations are needed to make UN missions more effective in the years ahead, according to Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, in his key address to the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial conference, taking place in Vancouver.
UN Peacekeeping Chief, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, who is representedthe Secretary-General, told the largest annual meeting of defence ministers from around the world that the challenges missions face could be overcome, but “we cannot do it alone”.
The meeting, hosted by Canada, began with the last post, in honour of UN blue helmets who have lost their lives over the past 70 years.
Mr Lacroix said peacekeeping missions faced greater challenges than ever before, and there were crucial gaps such as helicopters and better-qualified personnel, which are urgently needed to be filled.
“We can overcome these challenges; we cannot do it alone. We need you, we need your support, we need the support of troop-contributing countries, we need the support of civil society, and outstanding leaders who can help us in defence, and in support of the UN. So, we at the UN will work tirelessly to make UN peacekeeping more effective and more efficient.”
Mr. Lacroix said that a greater focus was needed on key priorities, finding political solutions to intractable conflicts, and boosting the presence of women so that peacekeepers could truly be a “force for peace and justice”.
Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau made the first so-called “smart pledges” of the day, designed to fill gaps in dangerous missions in countries such as Mali and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
He unveiled the new Vancouver Principles on preventing child soldiers from even reaching the battlefield, and promised that Canada would do all in its power to help transform UN peacekeeping.
Mr. Trudeau also announced new initiative to increase womens’ participation as the best way of tackling root causes of conflict; new training teams which would aide blue helmets before and during deployment; and tangible assets such as a tactical airlift capability for the UN’s transport hub in East Africa.
On Wednesday, UN peacekeeping briefed delegates on the situation in Mali, where UN peacekeepers are deployed since 2013. Under-Secretary-General Lacroix and Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, Atul Khare, gave an overview of the critical gaps the mission faces that need to address so that peacekeepers can do even more to bring stability and peace to the country. Watch the video below:
Largest gathering of defence ministers dedicated to UN peacekeeping to kick off in Vancouver: Watch Under-Secretary-General Atul Khare calls for international support as ways to improve and make peacekeeping operations more effective.