Ghana has called on the international community to help in reducing high fatalities on the field by addressing operational challenges facing peacekeepers through training, logistics and greater support for political solutions.
The call was made at the ongoing 73rd UN General Assembly Session in New York.
This year marks 70 years since the UN started deploying peacekeepers to countries torn by conflicts to maintain peace and security. From the Middle East, Kosovo and South Sudan, Ghana’s contribution in helping these societies to transition from war to peace cannot be overemphasized.
The first peacekeepers were deployed by the UN in 1948. Tragically, 3500 personnel have lost their lives in the line of duty. Over the 70 years, 71 operations have been carried out with one million women and men from 125 countries.
Data from the UN indicates that peacekeepers currently protect approximately 125 million people and this in no doubt has helped in preventing the world from being plunged into another war.
The world body points to the 1998 Noble peace prize it received as a testament to its record of success. For instance in the last five years, 2.4 million remnants of war and landmines have been destroyed, 12.2 million men, women and children received risk education and 24,700 military personnel, police, teachers and healthcare workers have been trained to create security and economic conditions for the return of refugees and migrants. Ghana has for the past sixty years supported the UN peacekeeping operations across the globe with men and women.
Mention can be made of the late Kofi Annan who was in charge of peacekeeping, General Erskine as a commander in Lebanon and Brigadier General Anyhidoho in Rwanda. Mindful of the significance of peacekeeping, the UN in March this year rolled a programme dubbed “action for peace” or “A4P” in New York.
And at the ongoing 73rd General Assembly, a high level meeting on peacekeeping was held. Ghana’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey pledged the commitment of Ghana to the ideals of peace and security but urged the world body to involve women in conflict resolution.
Key areas of focus under the “A4P” initiative include advancing political solutions in conflicts, improving safety and security of peacekeepers, performance and accountability by peacekeepers and working with partners to build and sustain peace and pave the way for development.