More than 600 dignitaries and high-profile personalities from about 100 countries across the globe are arriving in Accra today to participate in the first United Nations Peacekeeping Ministerial Meeting to be hosted on the African continent.
The Minister of Defence, Dominic Nitiwul, who disclosed this at a press briefing in Accra yesterday, said the two-day event scheduled to take place at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC) would begin tomorrow and end on Wednesday, December 6, this year.
He stated that tomorrow there would be a welcome reception at 12:30 p.m. at the AICC with two side meetings on "Women in peacekeeping" and "Environmental aspects of peacekeeping". The side meetings would be jointly organised by Sweden and the United States respectively.
The event is expected to be attended by personalities such as the Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix; Foreign and Defence Ministers, Heads of International Organisations, Academia, Social Partners, civil society organisations and journalists.
They are expected to enhance the impact of the current peacekeeping operations of the UN.
The participants will be joined by several key players in the peacekeeping domain, including heads of relevant international organisations.
The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, is expected to address the main conference on Wednesday, December 6, 2023.
Briefing the media further on the high-level event on the UN calendar, Mr Nitiwul said the expectation for this year's conference was even higher for two reasons: “firstly, it is the first time Africa is hosting the conference and secondly, the conference is being convened at a time of increased calls for Peacekeeping Operations programmes to rapidly evolve”.
He said the meeting would focus its attention on thematic issues identified by Ghana for the meeting, including the issues of Women in Peacekeeping, which had become a topical issue in peacekeeping operations in recent years, given the demonstrable impact of the inclusion of women in peace processes.
“As a country which has exceeded UN targets on the inclusion of women in peacekeeping operation programmes, Ghana is proud to instigate further discussion on the issue,” Mr Nitiwul who is also the Member of Parliament for Bimbilla, further stated.
The Defence Minister said in line with the UN's Action for Peacekeeping, the conference would also discuss existing efforts to improve the Mission's capacity to protect civilians in their areas of responsibility, safeguard the mental health of peacekeepers as well as the safety and security of the gallant men and women who made sacrifices in pursuit of world peace.
The conference, he explained, would further address the issues of misinformation, disinformation and hate speech targeting peacekeeping missions, which often fueled discontent for peacekeeping operations.
Mr Nitiwul said three panel sessions would be convened on five themes that Ghana selected.
They included women in peacekeeping, protection of civilians, mental health of peacekeepers, safety and security of peacekeepers and strategic communications in peacekeeping.
The event, he further observed, would generally showcase a digital exhibition of Africa's role in the UN Peacekeeping Enterprise, the Elsie Initiative, with a number of bilateral meetings to be held in rooms at the AICC that had been earmarked and put in shape for that purpose.
The Defence Minister stated that the choice of themes for the event was informed largely by “the wealth of experience of our uniformed personnel, who, for decades, have been at the forefront of UN Peacekeeping.”
The press briefing was also addressed by a Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration in charge of Political and Economic Matters, Kwaku Ampratwum-Sarpong, and the Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah.