United Nations Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial: Protecting Those at Risk


November 15, 2017 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

More than 500 delegates from 84 countries and international organizations are gathering in Vancouver for the 2017 UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial to discuss the following themes:

  •  Protecting Those at Risk
  •  Innovation in Training and Capacity Building
  •  Early Warning and Rapid Deployment
  •  Smart Pledges

Protecting Those at Risk

Protecting those at risk in conflict zones is the ultimate goal of all UN peacekeeping operations. This includes protecting vulnerable populations, such as women and children, and keeping them safe from sexual exploitation and abuse.

preparatory meeting was held in Kigali, Rwanda on August 29-30 to prepare insights and potential pledges related to this theme for the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial. Military and civilian personnel from 25 Member States and international organizations participated in the meeting.

The Protecting Those at Risk discussions at the 2017 UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial aim to:

1. Address performance and accountability of UN mandates to protect civilians

The UN has a mandate to protect civilians. The aim is to address challenges associated with this mandate and to discuss best practices for peacekeepers and mission planners, as well as the role of the UN in strengthening performance as it relates to the protection of civilians.

2. Discuss and promote the Kigali Principles

The “Kigali Principles on the Protection of Civilians” are a non-binding set of pledges to implement certain best practices in peacekeeping. The aim is to encourage more countries to endorse the Kigali Principles, with a particular focus on how endorsement translates to positive effects on the ground.

3. Explore approaches to address sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel

This includes fostering culture change among professional peacekeeping forces such that sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel is considered antithetical to the very nature of their mission. Instances where it occurs are dealt with through the full force of respective military justice systems or criminal courts where appropriate and ensuring timely and meaningful support to victims.

4.  Address gender-specific capability shortfalls

Addressing gender-specific capability shortfalls requires examining how troop/police-contributing countries are addressing gender perspectives, including in efforts to combat sexual and gender-based violence. The importance of female or mixed engagement teams must also be considered.

5. Address policing capability gaps

UN police play an important role in protecting those at risk and strengthening the law enforcement capacities of host-nations. In addressing policing capability gaps, Member States may also highlight steps at a national level to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeeping personnel.

6. Reflect on operating in francophone environments

UN troops must effectively communicate with local populations and governments in settings where French is an official or commonly-used language. Accordingly, this theme includes determining best practices and lessons learned when protecting those at risk in francophone environments, as well as how to address capability and linguistic gaps.

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2017 UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial conference


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