Tokyo Preparatory Meeting: Innovation in Training and Capacity Building

Meeting Summary
Tokyo, 23-25 August 2017

The Tokyo Preparatory Meeting was hosted by the Governments of Japan and Bangladesh with attendance from military, police and civilian personnel of 32 Member States, as well as the European Union and the United Nations. The meeting was organized at Canada’s request in preparation for the Vancouver Ministerial on 14-15 November 2017. The goal of the meeting was to prepare insights and potential deliverables and pledges related to the Vancouver Ministerial theme of Innovation in Training and Capacity Building. The discussions served as an opportunity to explore remaining gaps and challenges related to theme, and to shape Member State options for responding to them through the development of concrete deliverables and pledges to be announced at the Vancouver Ministerial. The UN’s August 2017 Uniformed Capability Requirements paper outlines the pledges being sought.

The meeting was divided into three sessions, with each session comprising of presentations by panel members, and an open discussion to review and identify possible areas of new pledges for Vancouver. Participant discussions were informed by an academic discussion paper commissioned by the Government of Canada.  Several Member States also participated in a visit to learn more about Japan’s efforts on capacity-building and the UN African Rapid Deployment of Engineering Capabilities.

Session 1A: Key discussion points and recommendations on training and capacity-building developments and challenges

  • Training is in many cases inadequate – support from Member States willing to partner with TCCs and who are also prepared to deploy  units in a ‘Train, Advise and Assist’ capacity is critical.
  • Developing and maintaining coordination mechanisms for training and capacity-building has been and continues to be a challenging endeavour for both Member States and the UN. Participants agreed that training and capacity-building activities are not well coordinated and that current mechanisms in place do not necessarily respond to well prioritized needs. There is also a sense that there is overlap and sometimes competition among member states on different training issues, but also that neither donors nor recipients are always interested in being coordinated, and that training and capacity-building for peacekeeping are often just one aspect of defence/security cooperation between two countries (which can be sensitive and highly political).
  • Training and capability-building coordination requires accurate, real-time information and transparency; such accuracy and transparency can be difficult in the area of bilateral defence cooperation.
  • The UN can play an important role in facilitating training and capacity building efforts. The conduct of Assessment and Advisory Visits (AAV’s) has helped to identify new partnerships to rectify shortfalls in T/PCC equipment and training; and has enhanced existing partnerships. Over 100 units from 37 countries have received AAVs, and 29 units/subunits of more than 3,000 troops have already been deployed or are in the process of deploying to missions. 
  • Sustainable capacity-building and effective, standardized training for all T/PCCs are major efforts that must be given a high priority moving forward. There are four areas in particular on training and capacity building that need more attention:
    • Ensuring that those who are trained actually deploy immediately or, if trainers, they deliver training immediately after being trained. This means strengthening the relationship and linkages between capacity building efforts, T/PCCs and our own force generation efforts. 
    • Ensuring T/PCCs comply with the standards set out in the operational readiness assurance policy, including the provision of certificates attesting that the pre-deployment training standards set in the policy have been met. 
    • Ensuring that all T/PCCs remain fully committed to preventing sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) and that they meet the requirements of the SEA policy including the use and distribution of the “No excuse” pocket cards and training.
    • Strengthening female participation. Too few T/PCCs that deploy women in operational capacities are deploying women to peacekeeping and no T/PCCs that deploys women in operational capacities has sent women to a DPKO-DFS training of trainers’ course in Entebbe. 

Session 1B: Key discussion points and recommendation on UN capability requirements

  • Despite troop reductions in some missions and the closure of others, specialised and high-performing capabilities for UN peacekeeping are still in short supply, particularly enablers, rapidly deployable capabilities and women peacekeepers.  Likewise, training and capacity-building programs that meet UN standards are as important as ever.
  • There are a number of key capability areas that the UN is in the process of improving and for which sustained support and contributions of Member States is needed, including:
    • More mobile units: High mobility units that are agile and offer greater flexibility to the commander will continually be required for the protection of civilians and to protect mission personnel.
    • Improved situational awareness:  a necessity in current missions given the changing environment in which peacekeeping is undertaken and will become increasingly important.
    • High-quality enabling units: Effective enabling units such as multi-role engineers, transport, signals, and aviation are particularly necessary given that the areas of operation for peacekeeping missions are frequently underdeveloped, with limited transportation, infrastructure and scarce local resources.
    • Force protection: Along with defensive measures and assets to safeguard camps, in missions like Mali we need measures to counter improvised explosive devices and indirect fire attacks.
    • Rapid deployment capability: In the past, the UN did not have the capability to deploy a major new military force or Formed Police Units in a crisis in less than six months. But in the weeks and months that pass until a mission reaches a minimum operating capacity, lives are lost and the cleavages within a society grow. This has financial implications as well, as a peacekeeping operation deployed late will only have a more intractable situation to address, prolonging the life of that mission. A group of diverse Member States prepared to pledge capabilities at the Rapid Deployment Level of the PCRS, deployable within 60 days of a UN request is sought by the UN.
    • Language facility with a particular focus on French-speaking troops: More than 70 per cent of UN peacekeepers are deployed in Francophone missions. In these, the UN lacks the capability to deploy sufficient uniformed contingents that can adequately interact with the local population, a critical element of the protection of civilians and early peacebuilding.
    • More female participation in peacekeeping: In order to achieve the goal of deploying 15 per cent women to  staff officer and military observer’s positions by the end of 2017, as well as to double the total number of female peacekeepers by 2020, integrating a gender perspective and improving gender balance is paramount to meeting our current and evolving needs.
    • UN medical capability needs are at the forefront of capability gaps that need to be addressed by the UN and Member States as these directly affect the survivability of UN peacekeepers and civilians affected by conflict in areas where peacekeepers are deployed.
  • Participants underscored that female peacekeepers increase the operational effectiveness of UN peacekeeping missions. Some countries (like Bangladesh) are preparing to increase the women participation. However, some participants pointed out the difficulty of achieving the 15 percent goal is due to the existence of small number of women in their military. Some identified the present arrangement as ‘social construct.’ There was also an argument that greater engagement and deployment of women by TCC/PCCs is ultimately a question of the leadership of Member States. In addition, the importance of training and deploying gender-sensitive male peacekeepers was also underscored.

Session 2 and Session 3: Key discussion points and recommendations on current best practices, existing gaps and new potential pledges

  • The United States, Japan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Zambia provided presentations on their efforts to train and equip UN peacekeepers.  Key best practices included, triangular partnerships for meeting capability gaps, the provision of specialised training (such as CIED), targeting female officers in national militaries for training and deployment to a UN peacekeeping missions, building cohesion in PKO contingents through training and adjusting training delivery styles from a “trainer-led’ to a ‘trainees-led” approach.
  • Participants agree on the need to undertake a holistic approach to building capacity and self-sufficiency, and emphasised the importance of peer-to-peer learning rather than a dichotomy of “providers of training” and “training recipients”.
  • Member States reaffirmed their responsibility to ensure operational readiness and certification of their contingents prior to deploying.
  • Comprehensive preparedness (that includes organizing, training and regimenting the contingents) may be emphasized, with a view to preparing the contingents well for PKO.
  • Post-training evaluation and assessment of training and capacity-building initiatives should be used by Member States to further improve pre-deployment training.
  • The quarterly uniformed capability requirements papers issued to the Permanent Missions in New York and available on the UN’s PCRS website relays updated training and capacity building gaps, and identifies further areas in which Member State support could be provided in the lead up to the Vancouver Ministerial.
Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: