The United States thanks the Republic of Ghana for hosting the 2023 UN Peacekeeping Ministerial in Accra on December 5-6, 2023. We and other participating Member States are united behind a common cause to strengthen UN and regional peace operations by pledging willing and able uniformed forces, enhanced capabilities that promote the highest standards of performance and accountability, and new capacity building resources to enable peacekeepers to safely and effectively implement their mandates. Our collective efforts seek to uphold and expand our commitments under the UN’s Action for Peacekeeping agenda, operationalize the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women in peace operations, and enhance environmental management in the field.
Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield’s participation at the Ministerial highlights U.S. leadership and commitment to improving peacekeeping effectiveness. The United States believes in the critical importance of UN peacekeeping as a tool to prevent conflict and protect civilians. The United States further upholds the strategic and operational imperative of women in leadership and decision-making roles in the peacekeeping context, and in a demonstration of U.S. support for UN gender goals, the U.S. Ministerial delegation was led by and largely comprised of powerful women leaders.
The United States is equally striving to achieve climate-related targets in peacekeeping. Toward this end, we hosted a ministerial side event on improving environmental management in UN peace operations. The event explored innovative partnerships that support troop and police contributing countries’ (T/PCC’s) efforts to address UN environmental goals, with a focus on transitioning contingent owned equipment to more sustainable technologies. The event also looked forward to new and emerging partnerships that contribute to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals through T/PCC and donor partnerships across energy, water, and sanitation initiatives that promote cleaner and greener UN peacekeeping.
Reflective of our commitment to these peacekeeping objectives, the United States is the world’s single largest financial contributor to UN peacekeeping, as well as the largest provider of peacekeeping capacity-building support. Since 2005, we have invested nearly $1.8 billion in assistance specifically focused on enhancing T/PCC capabilities and performance in UN and regional peace operations. In fiscal year 2023 alone, we committed more than $74 million through our two primary peacekeeping capacity-building programs: the U.S. Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI) and the International Police Peacekeeping Operations Support Program (IPPOS). And the United States plans to sustain our investments in the development of critical mission capabilities assisting partner T/PCCs with training, equipment, infrastructure improvements, and institutional capacity building to effectively prepare, deploy, and sustain peacekeeping units.
To continue our robust and longstanding peacekeeping capacity-building efforts, address UN Action for Peacekeeping priorities, and support ambitious action globally, on December 6, 2023, the United States pledged to:
1) Operationalize our Commitment to Women, Peace, and Security Objectives through the Establishment of a New Partnership to Implement a Women’s Body Armor Pilot Project. The United States continues to prioritize and undertake initiatives that promote the full, equal, and meaningful participation and operational imperative of women in peacekeeping. In recognition of Ghana’s and Zambia’s leadership in expanding the meaningful participation of women in UN peacekeeping deployments, the United States, the Netherlands, Ghana, and Zambia are partnering on a quadrilateral women’s body armor pilot program.
This partnership is being launched in response to needs cited in relevant studies and barriers-to-women assessments regarding the issue of ill-fitting equipment and, specifically, the inadequacy of “unisex” protective equipment for women peacekeepers. The United States and the Netherlands will provide an initial investment of nearly $3 million that will equip deployed women peacekeepers from Ghana and Zambia with women-specific body armor.
2) Support Efforts to Address Persistent Peacekeeping Capacity Gaps to Enhance Peacekeeper Safety and Security and Protection of Civilians. High demand peacekeeping capabilities, including aviation, intelligence, and explosive ordnance disposal, are vital to bolstering mission capacity, reinforcing peacekeeper safety and security, and enabling the protection of civilians.
- Aviation: Building on past aviation commitments, this year the United States is committing over $10 million in support of the Republic of Korea helicopter donation pledge made at the 2021 UN Peacekeeping Ministerial in Seoul.
- Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR): The United States will continue to focus on and invest in assisting partners with ISR capabilities, which are critical for improving situational awareness, supporting information driven operations, and enhancing peacekeeper safety and security and the protection of civilians. We have invested more than $30 million in support of a previous ministerial pledge to enable Bangladesh’s development of an Unmanned Aerial System for UN peace operations. Recognizing that improved situational awareness and actionable information can greatly enhance protection of civilians and performance in mission, the United States is now committing more than $20 million to assist Nepal with the development of a reconnaissance unit capability for UN peace operations.
- Explosive Hazard and Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Awareness Training: Explosive hazards, including unexploded ordnance and improvised explosive devices, are a serious and expanding threat to peacekeepers and the populations they are deployed to protect. The United States has consistently and routinely invested and led on this issue. Following through on previous ministerial pledges, the United States has invested over $1.2 million to support the UN Mine Action Service’s (UNMAS’) development of standardized IED disposal and explosive hazard awareness training materials, and we fulfilled our 2021 ministerial pledge with the delivery of $2.5 million of explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) equipment to enhance Ghana’s capabilities. The United States remains focused on addressing and mitigating the explosive hazard threat and is now committing nearly $2 million to support UNMAS’s fielding of a threat mitigation advisory team. The team will support mission-specific explosive hazard awareness training during troop contributing countries’ pre-deployment training and exercises, enhancing both the safety and security of peacekeepers and protection of civilians.
3) Invest in Cleaner and Greener UN Peacekeeping as a U.S. Priority. Environmental management in peacekeeping is a cross-cutting issue that impacts peacekeeper safety and security and mission operations, as well as the legacy that peacekeepers leave behind. Cleaner and greener UN peacekeeping is a priority for the United States and a shared commitment across UN Member States and the broader peacekeeping enterprise.
- The United States has committed more than $5 million to follow through on our 2021 ministerial announcement to pursue a trilateral Nepal-U.S.-UN Hybrid Solar Power Generation Pilot Project. We are now fully realizing the project—next week, representatives from Nepal, the United States, and UNMISS will be preparing the equipment for shipment to South Sudan where it will replace traditional diesel generators.
- In 2024, we will produce a lessons learned report stemming from our trilateral project with Nepal and the UN, and we will share the report to help inform other Member States as they consider similar partnership projects in peacekeeping missions.
- This year, we are also providing an additional $2 million to expand this project to incorporate a solar energy storage system that is expected to further reduce the carbon footprint and the need for diesel fuel. We are further exploring the feasibility of replicating this project to support other UNMISS troop contributing partners.
- While partnering with TCCs to improve environmental practices in mission is critical, the process starts in their home countries. Accordingly, we are planning to proactively incorporate environmental considerations and best practices into our infrastructure projects with partners, including environmental improvements for classrooms, barracks buildings, and dining facilities at partners’ peacekeeping training centers.
- Finally, the United States is committing extra-budgetary funding to the UN Department of Operational Support’s Environment Section to sustain staffing support to ensure the team has sufficient capacity to facilitate partnerships and provide technical support for Member States interested in pursuing environmental projects.
4) Reinforce Support to African Partners to Enable Regional Peace Operations. A growing reliance on regional operations to address peace and security crises on the African continent reinforces the importance of further strengthening the peacekeeping capacity of African partners. The United States partners with several African troop and police contributing countries that deploy substantial numbers of uniformed personnel to UN and regional peace operations. This year, we are providing nearly $35 million through our peacekeeping capacity-building programs alone to support a variety of efforts for our African partners, including equipment to support critical mission capabilities, infrastructure improvements at partners’ training centers, peacekeeping and logistics advisors, mentoring and assisting partners’ pre-deployment training, funding participants in global and regional courses, and UN-led courses that introduce new materials and promote interoperability in UN peace operations.
5) Invest in Police Peacekeeping Capabilities. Police play essential roles in peacekeeping missions, including protecting civilians from threats in urban environments, where there can be a higher risk of civilian casualties from military operations. Police peacekeepers are also critical to strengthening accountability and effectiveness of local police.
- The United States will continue to support and prioritize the launch of the UN Police Job Specific Training (JST) program. Our investment will include up to six UN-certified development courses in 2024, curriculum development expertise, and the provision of instructors for JST train-the-trainer events. The U.S. investment also includes funding women police peacekeepers attendance at the Women Commander’s Course and other training and events, enhancing the meaningful participation of women in UN peacekeeping.
6) Sustain Performance and Accountability Support to UN Headquarters. In addition to peacekeeping capacity building activities in support of partner T/PCCs, the United States is also investing in enhancing performance and accountability capacity at the UN Headquarters. This year, the United States is providing $1.6 million in extra-budgetary funding to sustain key staff positions, doctrine and standards development, and training courses. We are also providing subject matter experts to support the UN’s development of specialized training materials on countering mis- and disinformation—a challenging issue that increasingly impacts the safety and security of peacekeepers and the complexity of today’s peace operations.
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Official news published at https://www.state.gov/u-s-commitments-at-the-2023-accra-peacekeeping-ministerial/