Magazine article UN Chronicle

UN and US Working Together on Peacekeeping

Magazine article UN Chronicle

UN and US Working Together on Peacekeeping

Article excerpt

The United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) recently participated in a peacekeeping seminar at Montevideo, Uruguay, to provide the United States Southern Command (SouthCom) additional assistance in preparing Latin American member nations for future UN-sponsored peacekeeping operations.

The surge in peacekeeping missions in the early 1990s led to the creation of DPKO in 1992 to provide support to the field missions. The increasing tasks and complexity of issues that peacekeepers were mandated to undertake resulted in the creation of a training unit within that Department.

According to Lt. Col. Bjorn Skjaerli, Department chief of the DPKO Training and Evaluation Section, the unit has, among other tasks, the responsibility to provide guidelines to member nations on training issues, so that troops are adequately prepared for the complex multitasks that they are expected to perform.

Participants of UN-sponsored peacekeeping operations must understand command and control, rules of engagement, use of force, and human rights issues. "Training should also cover the mandate of the mission, historic knowledge of the conflict, and operational and geopolitical issues", Lt. Col. Skjaerli said. Because of increased volatility in certain regions, training in peacekeeping operations is therefore essential. Lectures on the mission's mandate, overseeing ceasefire agreements, patrolling and appropriate use of force are topics that will enable the peacekeepers to execute their tasks more efficiently, he added.

Maj. Gen. Gary D. Speer, acting Commander-in-Chief of the SouthCom, concurred. "These seminars and exercises are extremely necessary, in light of the fact that the requirement for peace operations worldwide has grown exponentially.

By their very nature, peace operations are multilateral and may involve the United Nations and other international organizations, as well as non-governmental organizations. We try to replicate all of these players in our exercises", said Maj. Gen. Speer.

These regional seminars that are conducted under the auspices of the SouthCom are extremely important since it permits the United Nations to further the understanding of United Nations peacekeeping operations, said Adriaan Verheul of DPKO. They also promote regional cooperation for peacekeeping. "The participating Armed Forces in this seminar, such as Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil and Chile, among others, have vast peacekeeping experience, and their presentations on lessons learned enhance all participants' understanding of the complexities of these missions, and therefore they are better prepared to participate in future UN peacekeeping operations", Mr. …

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