Chapter 5 – Doctrine, Training, and Education
To ensure that all our peacekeepers receive training on child protection prior to their deployment to peacekeeping operations and to integrate the prevention of the recruitment and use of child soldiers, as well as clear guidance regarding interactions with children associated with armed forces or armed groups, within our peacekeepers’ training, education, and doctrine to a common agreed international standard endorsed by the United Nations, and to undertake regular reviews of such training and doctrine to ensure its effectiveness.
Why is this principle important?
Specialised doctrine, training, and education are essential to ensure that Member States’ military, police, and civilian organizations involved in peacekeeping are both directed and prepared to address the unique challenges posed by child soldiers. UN Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 2143 (2014) recommends that “peacekeeping troop and police-contributing countries undertake targeted and operational trainings for the preparation of UN mission personnel including troop and police contingents on their contribution in preventing violations against children.”Endnote 52
Doctrine, training, and education should reflect the overarching need to protect children affected by armed conflict and to prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers, while also preparing peacekeepers strategically, tactically, technically, and psychologically for potential encounters with child soldiers. Training and education should include specific material on the gender-related aspects of encounters with child soldiers. Incorporating child protection into doctrine, training, and education is critical to ensuring that child protection becomes a core and enduring responsibility of peacekeepers.
How can this principle be implemented?
Develop national policy, doctrine, and directives to provide institutional guidance on the role of peacekeepers in addressing the recruitment and use of child soldiers: Member States should develop and update national policies, doctrine, and directives within their military, police, and civilian organizations to articulate the overall organizational approach to preparing for the challenges posed by child soldiers. This formal institutional guidance should set the conceptual framework that directs more specific strategic, operational, and tactical-level planning, preparations, and operations. National guidance should acknowledge that training on encounters with child soldiers should not be limited to personnel about to deploy, but should also be addressed across the full spectrum of training and be provided to all genders.Endnote 53 It should be further acknowledged that training and education will not only prepare peacekeepers for such encounters, but will also contribute to long-term prevention efforts.
Develop relevant national training and education standards and resources, consistent with existing UN material and leveraging other training resources from international partners and civil society, as appropriate: Member States are strongly encouraged to build upon the training tools offered by the UN, particularly the Core Pre-deployment Training Materials (CPTM), which represent the fundamental knowledge required by all peacekeepers to function effectively in UN peacekeeping operations, as well as the UN’s Specialised Training Materials (STMs) for military and police.Endnote 54 The STMs introduce child protection concepts, and offer mission-specific interactive scenarios and examples, for discussion amongst military and police national contingent leaders and staff. The materials are aimed at promoting a better understanding of the mission’s child protection mandate and the relevant child protection actors. These and other relevant materials are available on the UN Peacekeeping Resource Hub.Endnote 55
Member States are also encouraged to consider other existing training materials from international partners or civil society organizations, in order to bolster national training resources. In particular, the Swedish Armed Forces International Training Center (SWEDINT), in partnership with the UN Department of Peace Operations (DPO) Division of Policy, Evaluation and Training’s (DPET) Child Protection Team and the UN DPO Integrated Training Service (ITS), offers the UN Child Protection Course on an annual or biennial basis.Endnote 56 Appendices B and C, as well as the examples section at end of this chapter, offer additional information on supporting resources.
Provide training and education on the prevention of the recruitment and use of child soldiers, including relevant gender dynamics, throughout the careers of peacekeeping personnel:
- Provide early and ongoing training and education across all career training requirements: Member States should incorporate the subject of child soldiers across the professional training and education systems for military, police, and civilian peacekeepers. This is critical to establishing a baseline knowledge of the issue for all peacekeeping personnel, and to positioning the issue of child protection as a core element of peacekeeping.
- Deliver mission-specific pre-deployment training to prepare peacekeepers with the necessary competencies to manage potential encounters with child soldiers: Peacekeepers should then receive mission-specific training on child soldiers prior to their deployment to specifically prepare them for encounters with child soldiers. This training should not only build on the general professional training and education noted above, but should also offer more detail on how to handle encounters with children in the specific context of the mission and with due consideration for gender differences, and in accordance with the mission’s Child Protection Directives, as appropriate. Within the UN system, ITS is responsible, in coordination with DPET Child Protection Team, for the inclusion of specialised training modules on child protection in the UN CPTM.
- Deliver in-mission training to reinforce and adapt operational and tactical approaches to potential encounters with child soldiers: In-mission training should serve as a refresher for peacekeepers on previous training. It should empower peacekeepers to adjust and adapt their methods to the evolving circumstances on the ground, and bridge any gaps that might remain after pre-deployment training. It can also further enhance awareness of the gender dynamics associated with the recruitment and use of child soldiers. In-mission training modules should be co-facilitated with locally-engaged experts, whenever possible. It should also build on the UN’s general induction training offered by ITS, as well as the more specialised training coordinated through the Child Protection Advisors (CPAs).Endnote 57 Member States should also consider offering financial support to further develop UN in-mission training materials.
The stages of training and education discussed in this chapter, as well as the competencies produced by these activities, are illustrated below at Figure 2.
Figure 2: Stages of Training and Education on Child Soldiers
Text description of Figure 2
- This figure provides a graphical representation of the three stages of training and education on child soldiers in the form of a triangle.
- At the foundation of the triangle, ongoing professional education and training provides baseline knowledge on child solders.
- In the middle of the triangle is pre-deployment training, which is focused on mission requirements.
- At the top of the triangle is in-mission training, which can be adapted to the circumstances on the ground.
Deliver specialised skills-focused training for peacekeepers with specific child protection responsibilities, prior to deployment: While general knowledge of child protection should be integrated across professional education curricula, certain positions – namely CPAs, Child Protection Focal Points (CPFPs), and senior mission leadership – require specialised training and education on child protection and child soldiers, including from a gender perspective. Member States should consider sending future CPFPs to the UN Child Protection Course at SWEDINT.Endnote 58 The course is aimed at preparing individual participants for assignments relating to Child Protection in UN missions. Member States can also request support from the UN DPET Child Protection Team and/or the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict (SRSG/CAAC) in delivering these specialised training modules on an ad hoc basis.
Advocate for specialised pre-deployment training for senior mission leadership: While pre-deployment training for the senior mission leadership of UN peacekeeping operations (e.g. Force Commanders and Police Commissioners) is the responsibility of the UN, Member States can strongly encourage the UN to incorporate specific and sufficient training modules on child protection, as well as on the unique challenges posed by the recruitment and use of child soldiers, including from a gender perspective. This training should prepare and empower mission leaders to fulfill their leadership role in implementing the mission’s child protection mandate, including through the development and approval of Child Protection Directives for the mission.
Use varied and practical teaching approaches during training and education, including scenario-based exercises, activities, and resources: Training and education should include both classroom learning activities, as well as scenario-based exercises, activities, and resources, in order to prepare for tactical encounters with child soldiers. Whenever possible, the latest techniques for active learning should be pursued, with an emphasis placed on practice over theory. Key information related to child soldiers should also be offered in a concise format for use by deployed personnel, such as soldier cards. When possible, integrated training for military, police, and civilian personnel should be pursued to highlight the importance of cooperation among all peacekeepers.
Support specialised training and education on preventing the recruitment and use of child soldiers through bilateral and multilateral mechanisms and partnerships: Member States should explore opportunities to develop, offer, and/or fund specialised training on the prevention of the recruitment and use of child soldiers through the International Peace Support Training Centre or other regional peacekeeping training centres, centres of excellence, or appropriate child protection actors. In addition, Member States could consider offering training on the prevention of the recruitment and use of child soldiers through the deployment of training and advisory teams.
Examples and resources
Training Topics: A suggested list of topics on child soldiers for inclusion in training is included at Appendix C. This list of topics also encapsulates the training recommendations put forward throughout each of the chapters in this implementation guidance.
UN STMs: The UN has developed STMs for peacekeeping operations that focus on specific topics or groups, particularly those that have been identified as priority areas of mandate implementation, such as child protection.Endnote 59 These training materials are arranged by the specific function or employment category of the military, police, or civilian personnel deployed on peacekeeping operations (e.g. military or police experts on mission, political affairs officers, movement control personnel, etc.). Topics on child protection are woven throughout numerous modules and are aimed at promoting a better understanding of a mission’s child protection mandate, actors both in and outside the mission that can contribute to the protection of children, and actors that are integral to the coordination of child protection. Prior to conducting training with these STMs, personnel should complete the CPTM.
UN Civilian Pre-deployment Training (CPT): Produced by the UN, the CPT course is one of the key tools used to “generate competent, institutionally knowledgeable, and ethically aware civilian peacekeepers capable of serving in dangerous and complex environments.”Endnote 60 This training is essential for deploying civilian personnel, as it improves readiness, safety and security awareness, understanding of field conditions, and knowledge of fundamental policies and procedures of peacekeeping operations.
UN Child Protection Course: This course is hosted by SWEDINT, in partnership with UN DPO. The course is aimed at preparing individual participants for assignments relating to child protection in UN missions.Endnote 61
Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative: The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative frames the issue of children in armed conflict – and particularly the recruitment and use of child soldiers – as a specific priority concern for the security sector, and aims to help military, police, and prison personnel develop better procedures and tactics to not only limit or prevent the recruitment of child soldiers, but also to improve the interactions of the security sector with children. The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative offers prevention-oriented training and employs a “Training of Trainer” methodology. Within this model, the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative develops core training standards, maintains a roster of experienced security sector trainers, and monitors and evaluates training programming.Endnote 62
To implement this principle, Member States should undertake the following:
- Develop national policy, doctrine, and directives to provide institutional guidance on the role of peacekeepers in addressing the recruitment and use of child soldiers.
- Develop relevant national training and education standards and resources, consistent with existing UN material and leveraging other training resources from international partners and civil society, as appropriate.
- Provide training and education on the prevention of the recruitment and use of child soldiers, including relevant gender dynamics, throughout the careers of peacekeeping personnel, including by:
- Providing early and ongoing training and education across all career training requirements;
- Delivering mission-specific pre-deployment training to prepare peacekeepers with the necessary competencies to manage potential encounters with child soldiers; and,
- Delivering in-mission training to reinforce and adapt operational and tactical approaches to potential encounters with child soldiers.
- Deliver specialised skills-focused training for peacekeepers with specific child protection responsibilities, prior to deployment.
- Advocate for specialised pre-deployment training for senior mission leadership.
- Use varied and practical teaching approaches during training and education, including scenario-based exercises, activities, and resources.
- Support specialised training and education on preventing the recruitment and use of child soldiers through bilateral and multilateral mechanisms and partnerships.
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