Friday, September 22

Regional peace conference kicks-off in Gambia

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The Gambia is hosting a two-day regional peace conference spearheaded by Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), with support from the Government of Denmark amid growing insecurity facing the sub-region.

“Following a surge in atrocity crimes in the West African sub-region over the years, there has been a pressing need for the adoption of renewed strategies to combat the canker in compliance with the principles of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) as endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly. In West Africa, there are numerous recorded cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity in countries such as Mali, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Gambia, etc. where identity-based violence are also pronounced. Recent cases of atrocity crimes in West Africa have further pushed the atrocity prevention agenda to the fore of policy discourses.

“Whereas some progress has been made since 2005 when the R2P was adopted, it is becoming increasingly apparent that implementation at the country level has been slow and, in some cases, worsening. For instance, accountability for atrocity crimes has been mostly lacking, encouraging a culture of impunity in many spaces. It is against this backdrop that the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), with support from the Government of Denmark, is organizing a 2-day Regional Conference on the aforementioned subject.”

The ongoing peace conference “is geared towards achieving the under mentioned objectives: Provide a platform for engagement on critical policy issues impacting atrocity prevention efforts in West Africa; deliberate on national experiences on best practices in atrocity prevention; discuss appropriate structures and mechanisms for preventing and responding to atrocity crimes in West Africa; and Create a networking opportunity for relevant state officials, civil society actors and other practitioners to facilitate a community of practice for atrocity prevention,” a statement from the institution said.

“A total of forty – five (45) participants from four participating countries; Ghana, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire and Gambia have since converged in Banjul for the event. Participants were selected from experienced practitioners and policy level officials from ECOWAS, national human rights commissions, state security agencies, civil society organizations, and other international organizations. The event will leverage both in-person and virtual platforms to facilitate interaction among a wide network of critical stakeholders. The Danish Government is supporting the KAIPTC to implement strategic projects in areas such as: Women Peace and Security (WPS), Responsibility to Protect (R2P), and Conflict Prevention. The project is on the theme: “Promoting Peace and Security in West Africa”. The activities as part of the project comprise research, training, and awareness creation, with the research findings feeding into training courses, policy dialogues, and other events for stakeholder representatives at all levels (from UN General Assembly participants and ECOWAS and AU officials to community-level leaders),” it added.

Meanwhile, the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre

The Ghana Ministry of Defence (MoD) established the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in 1998 and commissioned it in 2004. The purpose was to build upon and share Ghana’s five decades of internationally acclaimed experience and competence in peace operations with other states in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region and the rest of Africa. This was in recognition of the need for training military, police and civilian men and women to meet the changing demands of multidimensional peace operations. The Centre is one of the three (3) Peacekeeping Training Centres of Excellence mandated by the ECOWAS to offer training in peacekeeping and peace support operations (PSO) in Africa.

The Centre delivers training courses in three thematic areas; Peace Support Operations, Conflict Management and Peace and Security Studies and also runs Masters and PhD programmes in same. The KAIPTC has a world-class research department that undertakes research in the thematic areas in Peace and Security. Located in Accra, Ghana, the KAIPTC is an internationally recognized institution and has to date trained and tutored over 25,207 participants and students since its inception.

KAIPTC is a gender-sensitive organization and committed to gender equality. Following the launch of its gender policy in 2014, the Centre has mainstreamed gender into its policies and programmes, and integrates same in its focal areas, namely training, research and postgraduate education. The Centre has developed a Sexual Harassment policy and fully oriented employees on same. It has also provided a Nursing and Childcare Centre and instituted a paternity leave policy, all with the aim to create a conducive work environment at KAIPTC.