News & views | 16 May 2018 | by Hans Rouw


UN Training on Comprehensive Protection of Civilians in Ghana

Peacekeeping missions with a Protection of Civilians (PoC) mandate are bound to fail when peacekeeping staff are not sufficiently prepared for their protection tasks. Unfortunately, pre-deployment training and mission preparations at the national level are not always adequate to prepare peacekeepers for these difficult tasks. The UN is now training trainers (ToT), so they in turn can train people from their countries to professionally contribute to peacekeeping missions

PAX participated in this Comprehensive Protection of Civilians (CPOC) Peacekeeping training to gain understanding of the military dynamics in peacekeeping and to contribute examples of protection as seen by people in violent conflict. The Integrated Training Standards (ITS) mobile team traveled to Accra to execute this 4-day training organized by AFRICOM and the Netherlands, in collaboration with the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC).

The training consisted of a Legal, Conceptual and Operational component with particular attention to a scenario exercise to practice operational choices during peacekeeping. The need to view security through the population’s eyes and the need to collaborate within and outside the UN mission were apparent in the exercises on the last two days. While devising an operational PoC within the fictional setting of Carana, it proved challenging for all participants to look beyond their previous experiences. Practicing in a real-life scenario enabled participants to prioritize civilian needs over personal hesitance to intervene and to weigh force protection with the need to protect civilians.

Photo: Ranking the threats by impact on the population in space and time

The widely shared military perception that they are send out on a mission impossible that will always result in the military receiving blame for the inevitable failure was addressed during the course.  Also to many participants’ surprise, military units always have different courses of action such as Prevention, Pre-emption, Engagement and Consolidation. Collaborating beyond the military component also widens the potential for early warning and early action and thus success for the entire mission to protection of civilians.

PAX will continue to highlight the importance of inspiring and holding to account the actions of peacekeeping missions with a mandate to protect civilians.


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