Cairo, Egypt – Marking the 20th anniversary of the first protection of civilians (POC) mandate in UN peacekeeping operations, CCCPA, in cooperation with the UN Department of Peace Operations (DPO)/Integrated Training Service, is organizing a Training of Trainers (ToT) course on the Comprehensive Protection of Civilians in Peacekeeping Operations, from 13-24 October 2019.
Since the initial POC resolutions in 1999 (Res. 1265 and Res. 1270), the nature of operational environments has evolved into a complex and ever-changing threat landscape, where civilian populations are most at risk. Consequently, the role of peacekeepers in protecting civilians has expanded significantly. Today, POC is an essential duty for more than 95 per cent of the deployed UN peacekeepers.
Despite the development of tools and mechanisms enhancing the implementation of POC mandates, there is still room for improving implementation, especially in light of the Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative, and ongoing peacekeeping reform efforts--emphasizing the need for tailored and context-specific peacekeeping approaches to implement POC mandates, especially the protection of women and children.
As a top troop-and police-contributing country, Egypt has been at the forefront of efforts to implement existing principles and guidelines of peacekeeping operations, including its endorsement of the “Kigali Principles on the Protection of Civilians” in November 2018.
In continuation of such efforts, in March 2019, during the United Nations Peacekeeping Ministerial Conference, Egypt made a number of pledges including this ToT course and translating the “Comprehensive Protection of Civilians (CPOC) Training Materials for UN Peacekeeping Operations” into Arabic—which CCCPA is taking the lead on.
The course brings together trainers from leading peacekeeping training institutions and officials from top African troop-contributing countries, including Egypt, Ghana, Rwanda, Tanzania and Togo, with the aim of enhancing the delivery of POC pre-deployment trainings. Participants will be familiarised with the training packages developed by DPO, including (i) the Core Pre-deployment Training Materials, which include the essential knowledge required by all peacekeeping personnel – military, police and civilians – to function effectively in a UN peacekeeping operation; and (ii) the Specialized Training Materials on CPOC, which target military peacekeepers at the tactical level, as they provide troop-contributing countries with a comprehensive training package that covers the various protection functions in UN peacekeeping operations, including POC, Child Protection and Conflict-Related Sexual Violence.
H.E. Masaki Noke, Ambassador of Japan to Egypt, stated that “Peacekeeping Operations have been changing significantly and have to keep evolving even more to respond to the changing nature of conflicts and challenging operational environments.” He also stressed that “The skill-set required for POC is different from conventional peacekeeping and usual military operations. This is why thorough training is indispensable before the deployment and the role of trainers like you has never been more important.”
Mr. Sylvain Merlen, Deputy Resident Representative of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Egypt, underscored that “Achieving the promise of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Developments, and the Sustainable Development Goals, requires urgent efforts to put an end to the age of conflict.” He further explained that “Exposure to violence can have lifelong impacts on people, hence, UNDP’s Strategic Plan (2018-2021) places stronger emphasis on conflict prevention, peacebuilding, peacekeeping and crisis response, to help countries avoid crises and return quickly to stable development after crises occur.”
Major Veronica Owuor, head of the ITS team, highlighted that the training “comes at a time when the UN recently launched the A4P, which seeks to refocus peacekeeping with more targeted mandates, better equipped and trained forces.” Adding “This course will introduce...participants to the new approach in POC, which involves deeper understanding of the conceptual and legal frameworks while emphasizing the tactical decision-making process through an enhanced scenario-based experience.” Finally, she urged the trainers “to take this opportunity to internalize the POC concepts” as they “will be expected to transfer the knowledge to units and sub-units on the ground.”
In his opening remarks, Brig. Gen. Ehab Khedr, CCCPA Peacekeeping Advisor, highlighted that “The ever-changing reality of conflicts needs from us to develop our current toolbox for a more effective implementation of protection of civilians mandates.” He also noted that the training is a continuation of the strong relationship between the Cairo International Center and the UN Secretariat, being the fifth training co-organized by CCCPA and ITS.