“I believe that we have a lot to learn from how you have developed this facility into an internationally recognised centre of excellence, which is making a significant and valuable contribution to peacekeeping in this region, and indeed throughout the world,” the Minister stated on Thursday in his address at a public lecture in Accra.
The lecture was organised by the KAIPTC in collaboration with the Irish Embassy on the topic “Irish Peacekeeping: Over 50 years of service”.
The KAIPTC, established in 2003, is a Centre of Excellence for training, education and research in African peace and security and named after the former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, a native of Ghana and one of Africa’s foremost Diplomats.
The Centre was established to address not only Ghana’s needs for training men and women to meet the changing demands of complex and multidimensional peacekeeping activities, but also to help meet the peacekeeping training requirements of the West African sub region, and the wider African continent.
According to Mr Coveney, the professionalism of peacekeepers was dependent to a large extent on the training and education they received, stating that “We need to continue to ensure that we are ahead of the curve in having well trained and well equipped personnel to undertake the challenging peacekeeping roles that are emerging from the range of challenges facing us today”.
Mr Coveney stated that Ireland and Ghana had a common bond in their long-term dedication and commitment to United Nations peacekeeping and international peacekeeping generally.
He said: “Ireland’s first troop contribution came shortly after in 1960 with its deployment to the UN mission in the Congo, alongside Ghanaian Armed Forces.”
“Today both our nations continue to serve together in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the United Nations Mission in the Ivory Coast (UNOCI), the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO),” he added.
Mr Coveney said he looked forward to the continuing development of relationships, and hopefully partnerships, between training institutes in both countries.
Speaking on the anniversary of Irelands’ membership of the United Nations, Mr Coveney said “Ireland is celebrating a significant anniversary this year. Sixty years ago, on this very month, Ireland joined the United Nations and in that time we have pursued a series of policy priorities, including peacekeeping, which continue to be central to our foreign policy today.”
He also spoke about Ireland’s contribution to the Ebola crisis in West Africa and the current refugee crisis facing Africa, adding that as part of the new White Paper on Defence, the Irish Government had committed to evaluating and developing a new Institute for Peace and Leadership at the Curragh.
Major General O. B. Akwa, the Commandant, KAIPTC, in his welcome address said in recent times, the subject of peacekeeping and how it relates to international peace and security had become topical and had been of research interest in academia, think-tanks and training Centres of excellence such as the KAIPTC.
“Therefore, for us as a peacekeeping training institute, we are very excited to be part of this programme, because it will contribute to our stock of knowledge on the subject and also enhance our collaboration and partnership with friendly country of Ireland.
“We believe that today’s event will help deepen our understanding of the subject and also strengthen the cordial relations that exist between our two countries,” he stated.
Mr Alidu Fuseini, the Chief Director, Ministry of Defence, lauded the remarkable relationship that had existed between the two countries in the area of UN Peacekeeping over the past decades.