Academic journal article Military Review

UN Concept for Peacekeeping Training

Academic journal article Military Review

UN Concept for Peacekeeping Training

Article excerpt

IN RESPONSE TO the change in the nature of peacekeeping operations (PKO) that began in the early 1990s-and has continued to evolve with each succeeding mission-there was an increasing demand by the growing number of participants in PK to better prepare themselves for the challenging dynamics found in mission areas. This need reinforced the underlying requirement for specialized training for military and civilian personnel being deployed to the field. The UN needed to further develop and improve its capacity to train peacekeepers worldwide for service in this new era of operations.

The 49th General Assembly passed a resolution calling upon the UN Secretary General to establish, "on a trial basis, a peacekeeping training coordination programme; such a programme administered by the United Nations."' This resulted in the development of a UN Training Program to be administered by the Training Unit of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Planning Division. Since its establishment in 1995, the Training Program has been able to provide invaluable benefits to mission participants, services that had not normally been associated with UN PK activities in the past.

To fairly evaluate what the UN PK training program has achieved over the past three years, it is necessary to understand the training methodology that has been employed; the types of training activities which have been conducted and their associated immediate and long-term advantages; and the costs of training in relation to the benefits accrued from these activities by both the organization and the member states.

Model and Methodology

The UN used the study Training for Peacekeeping: The United Nations' Role, completed by the Henry L. Stimson Center in July 1994, as a basis for selecting an appropriate model with which to respond to the need for increased training capacities.2 The four methodologies proposed in the study were:

Information service model

Coordinator model

Trainer model

Contractor model

In reviewing these alternatives, the UN had to weigh the advantages and disadvantages against several important criteria. The strategic objective was to be able to rapidly gather and deliver information to member states which could accurately reflect their needs. The UN had to deliver specialized training that built upon proven traditional PK techniques while incorporating lessons learned from the new environment. Additionally, this had to be achieved within a context of financial and personnel constraints.

The information model was least suited to meet the UN's needs due to its focus on encouraging member state interaction with minimal guidance from the organization. And while the training and contractor models had the ability to deliver highquality training, they were burdened by very large personnel, financial and/or facility commitments. In fact, expenditure projections for these models exceeded 21 million US dollars annually. As a result, the coordination model was adopted as the best paradigm to fit the organization's goals. Thus, the training unit was established as "the focal point for peace-keeping training in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), [to] act as a coordinating centre on peace-keeping training matters between the United Nations and national and international peace-keeping training centres with counterpart bodies and to encourage the exchange of training materials with and between member states." 3

The Workshops

Within this framework, as mandated by Resolution 49/37, the UN established a baseline for training assistance for member states. Four regional workshops were conducted between February 1995 and March 1996 in Denmark, Argentina, India and Egypt, to obtain a comprehensive and cohesive view of PK training. Overall, 89 nations participated in these workshops to ultimately provide the organization with the following priorities for PK training:

* Nations expressed an interest in greater regional cooperation with an emphasis on cost-sharing in preparing for missions. …

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