The maiden United Nations (UN) Senior Mission Leaders’ (SML) Course has opened at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Accra.
The objectives of the SML course are to prepare participants to assume roles and responsibilities associated with serving as a member of a mission’s leadership team, including such roles as Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG), Deputy SRSG, Force Commander, Police Commissioner, Director of Mission Support, or Chief of Staff.
The course is also intended to deepen the understanding of Member State officials of contemporary UN peacekeeping missions.
The 26 participants attending the course were nominated by UN Member States, or drawn from UN Departments, Funds, Programmes and field operations.
The SML course is a 10-day programme conducted by UN’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) in conjunction with a host Member State.
Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, said the SML Course would go a long way in cementing Ghana’s accolades in peacekeeping and to leave a credible footprint in the international community.
She lauded the Government of Canada and the Integrated Training Services of the UN’s DPKO for collaborating with Ghana to make it all happen.
Madam Botchway said contemporary peacekeeping operations are becoming more and more complicated and dynamic.
She said that the complexities could be seen in the modus operandi of the various armed groups and militants; declaring that “They are adopting the latest state-of-the-art technologies to perpetuate their motives and agenda, this calls for peacekeepers to be one step ahead of them in a bit to ensure that peace and order prevails in the areas of operations”.
Madam Botchway said this task has implications on leadership hence the importance of the SML Course.
She urged the participants to bring their experiences to bear by contributing effectively on the Course.
Madam Ellen Loej, a former Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, said more than 30 graduates of the SML Course were currently serving in the leadership teams of Peacekeeping Operations, Special Political Mission and Offices of Special Envoys.
She said sixteen of their graduates from member states hold or have held a senior position in their various governments or diplomatic service which was directly related to peacekeeping operations.
“Effective leadership and management are recognized as drivers of these efforts. Senior Leaders must be equipped to manage contemporary crisis, lead teams and make decisions to effectively deliver the mandate of the UN,” said Madam Loej.
Dr Heather Cameron, the Canadian High Commissioner, said nowadays conflicts have registered effects by allowing extremism in crime to take roots, by displacing millions and by creating ungoverned spaces.
She said these generates flows that disrupt both human and economic development.
Dr Cameron said nations are collectively sharing leading to effective multilateral responses to conflicts.
“It wasn’t too many years ago that there were 25,000 peacekeepers in the Mano River Union countries of West Africa and today all of those countries have peace and are moving forward”, she said.
Dr Cameron said globally the nature of peacekeeping has evolved and the challenges are becoming more diverse such that many who used to be engaged in conflicts were not interested in the peace process.
She said conflicts resolution are becoming more complex requiring a wider range of skills, assets and new technologies to get the job done in an increasingly difficult environment.
She said the UN is facing pressure for reforms, for cost savings and for operational efficiencies; stating that for these reasons the UN has embarked on a period of reflection and renewal.
She said the SML Course would empower participants to reflect on their leadership positions and to develop it further.
The event was hosted by Air Vice Marshall Griffith S. Evans, the Commandant of the KAIPTC.