Government of Germany supports UNITAR in quest to build capacity in Africa

Germany supports UNITAR29 February 2012, Geneva, Switzerland - Germany’s Permanent Representative in Geneva, Dr. Hans H. Schumacher, presented the letter for the US$ 1.6 Million grant to UNITAR Executive Director, Mr. Carlos Lopes, as a contribution to support the project for “Enhancing the Capacity of African Peacekeeping Training Institutions through the Training of Trainers (ToT).”

The grant comes after the successful implementation of the pilot phase of the ToT project, and the subsequent lessons drawn, as well as a review of the programme in consultation with the partners and beneficiary training institutions in Africa. The German Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs has, through this grant, reiterated its commitment to contribute to peace in the world through enhancing the capacity of training institutions in Africa.

Based on the concept developed by the Chairman of the PTP Advisory Board, Mr. Jean Marie Guéhenno, for “Enhancing the Capacity of African Peacekeeping Training Institutions,” which was prefaced by Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, UNITAR has developed a ToT programme. The ToT methodology has proven to provide a legacy of competent trainers and full-ownership of the programme at the beneficiary institutions, thereby ensuring the programme’s sustainability. The “Enhancing Capacity of African Peacekeeping Training Institutions” programme is well aligned with the recommendations of the Senior Group on Civilian Capacity, also led by Mr. Jean Marie Guehenno. This initiative will contribute to meeting some of the challenges identified in the report in terms of capacity, particularly for civilians working in post conflict zones.

In 2000, the Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations, which was chaired by Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, highlighted the pressing need for UN peacekeepers to be fully trained to face the increasingly complex tasks they are expected to undertake. Since then, the UN has been given more numerous and challenging missions, especially in Africa. The Report firmly recommended that units that did not meet the minimum standards of training and equipment should not be deployed.

Africa’s peacekeepers deserve to receive the best training possible prior to deployment. It was noted by Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi that with this programme for Africa, “UNITAR is positioning itself to be uniquely qualified to provide African governments and their national, sub-regional and continental institutions with the tools they need to proudly acquit themselves of their responsibilities when they take part in peace operations.”

As underlined by Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi: “African nations have commendably come to the fore when it comes to the implementation of Security Council and General Assembly resolutions to establish peace operations in conflict afflicted countries. However, the indispensable political will shown by these countries needs to be matched with much better capacities than are readily available to them. Peacekeepers need to be adequately led, trained, equipped and afforded access to new methods of operating in multicultural and multidisciplinary environments that characterize present day conflict and post conflict environments.”

Photo: Dr. Hans H. Schumacher (centre) presents letter for grant to UNITAR’s Mr. Carlos Lopes and Ms. Isabel Hubert.