Peace-building, good governance training programme opens
A three-week International Training Programme on Peace-building and Good Governance (ITPGG) for African civilian personnel opened in Accra on Monday with a call on participants to acquire more skills and knowledge to enable them to assist their various countries against post-electoral explosions.
Thirty civilian personnel from 15 African countries are participating in the course aimed at increasing the readiness and professionalism of African personnel in the area of Peace Support Operations (PSO), and to enhance their capacity to respond effectively to challenges of post-conflict reconstruction.
The programme, the first of phase four, is being organized by the Legon Centre for International Affairs, University of Ghana (LECIA) in collaboration with the Scoula Superiore Sant' Anna Pisa of Italy, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs providing financial support.
Mr Philip Attuquayefio, Research Fellow, LECIA, said the 21st century had been confronted with the challenges of sustainable peace hence the need to device multiple responses to the challenges of peacekeeping, peace-building and peace consolation.
"Thus, multi-dimensional Peace Support Operations designed to integrate the different components of (PSOs) missions now include the promotion and protection of human rights, protection of vulnerable groups, democratization and good governance and economic development," he said.
He said the role of civilians in the enforcement of the mandate of multi-dimensional PSOs had been increased, especially with the growing participation of regional organisations in PSOs.
Mr Attuquayefio said the numbers currently employed in those operations demonstrated that significant role.
"Out of the 130,000 personnel currently serving in 28 UN peacekeeping and peace-building operations, about 21,000 are civilians. This suggests the need for adequate numbers to be trained and made readily available for missions," he added.
In a speech read for him, Mr Akwasi Osei-Adjei, Minister of Foreign Affairs, said despite the remarkable successes achieved on the continent on peace-building and good governance, a number of trouble spots continued to be sources of worry for Africans.
He said the electoral violence in Kenya and Nigeria, rebel incursions into Chad, skirmishes in Eritrea and continued violence in Somalia and Sudan continued to claim many lives and wreck destruction and havoc in their wake.
"Whilst bringing an end to armed conflict is a complex thing, sustaining the peace through democratic governance is even more difficult. It entails the development of institutions and structures where there are none, to cultivate and nurture the culture of tolerance, respect for diversity, rule of law, equity and respect for human rights," he said.
Mr Osei-Adjei said although those things could not be achieved in a day, it required competent personnel with the required skills and sensitivity to heal the wounds of affected nations and build bridges in the midst of divided people.
He said there was the need to safeguard the relative peace in countries that had not experienced violent conflicts and prevent the descent of conflicts into crisis.
He therefore urged the participants to apply their knowledge and skills to engage African governments and civil society groups as partners in activities that would foster a wider societal appreciation and acceptance of the principles and attitudes of peace and human security, tolerance and respect for political, religious and ethno-cultural diversity and human rights values generally.
The Italian Ambassador in Ghana, Fabriozio De Agostini, said the programme was also to train personnel to fill the civilian component of field PSOs and complement the work of the military and police personnel.
He said the success of the first years of activity had encouraged the Italian Foreign Ministry to approve the fourth phase of the programme at the cost of 1.5 million dollars.
Mr de Agostini said late last year, the Italian government supported African Union's peace and security efforts with a total amount of 40 million euros to strengthen the institutional, operational and logistical capabilities in the promotion of peace in Africa.
The Ambassador said the programme was a model of good cooperation between South and North in the crucial field of peace and security, which would promote further initiatives by the European Union, Africa Union, United Nations and Regional Organisations.
He commended the participants for their dedication, spirit of service and courage, which could give hope to the countless civilians involved in the dramatic situations of conflicts that continue to affect the continent.
Prof. Clifford Nii Boi Tagoe, Vice Chancellor, University of Ghana, said the civilian peacekeepers faced challenges on the field and it was important that they acquired new and relevant skills from experts to improve on their performances.