TfP/ACCORD participate in expert workshop on impact of peacekeeping training on peace and security in West Africa
10 Mar 2015
The Training for Peace in Africa (TfP) Programme at ACCORD (TfP/ACCORD) participated in an Expert workshop on Impact of Peacekeeping Training on Peace and Security in West Africa. The workshop forms part of a research on peacekeeping training which was carried out in 2014 in eight West African countries. The research was done to determine whether peacekeeping training has impacted on peace and security in West Africa after ten years of trainings conducted by the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center (KAIPTC), National Defence College (NDC) - Nigeria and Ecole de Maintien de la Paix (EMP). The workshop provided a platform for discussions among key stakeholders on the findings of the research as well as brainstorming on ways to enhance peacekeeping training in West Africa in order to improve peace and security in the sub-region. The Expert workshop was organized by KAIPTC in Accra, Ghana from 4-5 March 2015. The workshop brought together 25 participants - stakeholders including policy makers, researchers, training centres, and other civil society groups from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Some of the stakeholders represented in the workshop includes the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), Legon Centre for International Affairs (LECIAD), the African Peace Support Trainers Association (APSTA) and the United State military. TfP/ACCORD was represented by Ms Olivia Victoria Davies, Programme Officer, Peacekeeping Unit. Following ten years of active peacekeeping training by training centres of excellence in West Africa, the stakeholders discussed the extent to which peacekeeping training has improved the performance of peacekeepers, and by extension mission effectiveness. They also discussed how these trainings has met the needs of regional organizations in Africa, and the emerging conflict and insecurity trends in the sub-region that peacekeeping trainings should focus on. In particular, stakeholders discussed synergies and coordination mechanisms required for effective peacekeeping training. These discussions contributed to identifying and mapping out of the key areas in which training has contributed to peace and security in West Africa. These include the contribution to building the African Standby Force (ASF) pool, training human resources who are on standby in their countries of origin, enhanced knowledge of national police senior staffs around peacekeeping issues, facilitation of better national policies for management of personnel and contingents, and facilitation of networking and interaction amongst partners in the field. Peacekeeping trainings has also contributed to the institutionalization of peacekeeping trainings at national, regional and continental levels, and have enhanced the knowledge, skills and professional competences of African Union (AU), the Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs), and their Planning Elements (PLANELM). Recommendations to strengthening peacekeeping training were centred on improvement of the quality of trainings; the need to address gaps in doctrinal challenges; and the need to establish mechanisms for better and effective coordination of the work undertaken by the training institutions at national, regional and continental level. Going forward, in order for peacekeeping training to continue having impact in West Africa, the establishment of realistic and systematic performance indicators, strong evaluation, monitoring and feedback mechanisms into training is needed. Therefore, the development of coherent training strategies by key actors and increased coordination was recommended as part of success factors for increasing the impact of peacekeeping training. TfP/ACCORD as part of the panel, shared its experiences on strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for peacekeeping training in Africa. This initiative is in line with the TfP Programme’s strategic goal for an improved sustainable capacity for peace operations on the continent, through ensuring that functional organizational systems are in place in the UN, AU and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) using relevant policy frameworks mandated by the UN, AU and RECs. For more information on ACCORD's work through the TfP Programme, please contact Ms. Irene Limo, Senior Programme Officer, Peacekeeping Unit on Irene@accord.org.za, and Ms. Olivia Davies, Programme Officer, Peacekeeping Unit on Olivia@accord.org.za.