FACT SHEET: U.S. Commitments at the 2021 Seoul Peacekeeping Ministerial
December 8, 2021
The United States thanks the Republic of Korea for hosting the 2021 Seoul Peacekeeping Ministerial on December 7-8, 2021. We and participating member states were united at the Ministerial behind a common cause to strengthen UN peacekeeping operations by committing new resources, driving innovations, and promoting the highest standards of performance and accountability to enable peacekeepers to safely and effectively implement their mandates. These efforts enable peacekeeping missions to carry out critical activities in conflict-affected areas, including protecting civilians, promoting respect for human rights and gender equality, and paving the way for lasting peace. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield’s participation at the 2021 Seoul Peacekeeping Ministerial highlights U.S. leadership and commitment to improving peacekeeping effectiveness, including by addressing critical resource gaps, building UN civilian, troop, and police capacity, and readying peacekeepers to confront new challenges.
The United States is the world’s single largest financial contributor to UN peacekeeping, as well as the largest provider of peacekeeping capacity-building support, investing more than $1.5 billion since 2005 in assistance specifically focused on enhancing troop- and police-contributing country (T/PCC) participation in UN and regional peace operations. This year alone, we committed more than $95 million through our two primary peacekeeping capacity-building programs: the U.S. Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI) and the International Police Peacekeeping Operations Support Program (IPPOS). The United States will continue to invest in holistic capability development, assisting partner T/PCCs with training, equipment, infrastructure improvements, and development of institutional capacity required to effectively prepare, deploy, and sustain peacekeeping units. The United States is particularly focused on the development of high-demand enabling capabilities that remain persistent gaps in peacekeeping operations, including aviation, intelligence, and medical units, which are critical to bolstering mission capacity, reinforcing the safety and security of peacekeepers, and enabling the protection of civilians where mandated.
To continue our robust and longstanding peacekeeping capacity-building efforts and support ambitious action globally, on December 8 the United States pledged to:
1) Support efforts to fill persistent gaps in airlift capacity. Many peacekeeping missions operate in challenging environments with limited infrastructure. Airlift is essential to ensure these peacekeeping missions can carry out their mandates, including by responding rapidly to threats against civilians, moving freely to monitor and report on human rights abuses, and supporting medical and casualty evacuation for peacekeepers. The United States will focus investments on supporting these high-demand, enabling aviation capabilities. Specific investments include support to:
- El Salvador’s rotary wing capabilities to sustain the deployment of an aviation unit to the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), including the provision of four MD530 helicopters, spare parts, and related crew training;
- Uruguay’s rotary wing capabilities to sustain the deployment of its aviation unit in the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), including the provision of a training helicopter, spare parts, and related training; and
- Rwanda’s fixed wing capabilities, including the provision of Cessna aircraft, spare parts, and related training to develop Rwanda’s logistics and aero-medical capacity.
Additionally, the United States will explore opportunities to meaningfully support other troop-contributing countries (TCCs) interested in contributing aviation units to UN peacekeeping operations, including possible funding for a joint pledge between the Republic of Korea and Kenya to build a new helicopter unit.
2) Enable peacekeepers to safely operate in higher-risk mission environments. Peacekeepers today face complex threats and are sometimes targets of violence. It is critical to ensure that peacekeepers have the equipment they need in order to operate safely and securely in carrying out their mandates. The U.S. government will continue to invest in armored personnel carriers (APCs) to support the safety and security of peacekeepers and will further prepare peacekeepers to more safely operate and effectively maintain these vehicles in mission. Specific investments will include:
- New deployment and training APCs with spare parts packages for Uruguay;
- New training APCs with spare parts packages for delivery to Burkina Faso’s peacekeeping training center to better support pre-deployment training for battalions in MINUSMA;
- New training APCs with spare parts packages for delivery to Niger’s peacekeeping training center to better support pre-deployment training for MINUSMA battalions; and
- Driving, operations, and maintenance training to sustain previously delivered APCs.
Additionally, the U.S. government is further expanding the provision of counter-improvised explosive device (C-IED) training for select TCCs, including supporting a joint UK-Ghana-U.S. partnership to strengthen Ghana’s C-IED capabilities in peacekeeping operations.
3) Strengthen medical capabilities to keep peacekeepers safe in the field. The United States will invest in building the medical capabilities of partner nations taking on the challenges of international peacekeeping. Specific investments will include:
- Delivering two Level II hospitals to support Tunisia’s Level II hospital pledge; and
- Providing more than 4,300 buddy first aid kits to equip the contingents of five MINUSMA troop-contributing countries: Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Burkina Faso, and Niger.
Additionally, the United States will explore opportunities to support the UN Medical Services Division to develop UN doctrine and training materials for advanced trauma and life support, telemedicine procedures, tactical combat casualty care, and/or field medic assistance course support, upon request.
4) Enhance peacekeeping intelligence to enable information-led operations. Many peacekeepers operate in volatile and dangerous environments. Technology that provides timely access to accurate information about their areas of operation can help these peacekeepers respond faster to prevent violence against civilians. Improved situational awareness can also help peacekeepers to protect themselves from threats. The United States will provide training, equipment, and subject matter expertise to enhance the peacekeeping intelligence capabilities of UN missions. Specific investments include:
- More than doubling U.S. funding support (from the $13 million previously announced to approximately $30 million total) for Bangladesh’s pledge to build a new, deployable unmanned aerial system (UAS) capability for UN operations, as well as provision of a long-term UAS advisor to institutionalize capability.
5) Ensure peacekeepers have the training facilities they need to effectively prepare for mission deployments. Peacekeeping cannot be effective unless peacekeepers are well-prepared for the challenging environments and complex threats they will face. In fiscal year 2021, the U.S. government invested more than $15 million in the development of partner TCC training facilities to enable more sustainable and effective training capacity. Such investments further help facilitate increased training and deployment of women peacekeepers through gender-specific facility projects. The United States intends to sustain our investments in new facility projects, which include:
- A military operations in urban terrain site and mock protection of civilians camp at Rwanda’s training center;
- In partnership with the Netherlands, classroom building and command post building in Burkina Faso;
- In partnership with the Netherlands, classroom building and vehicle maintenance facility in Niger; and
- Investments in the expansions of peacekeeping training centers in Kazakhstan and Morocco.
6) Invest in police peacekeeping capabilities. Police play essential roles in many peacekeeping settings, including protecting civilians from threats in urban environments where there can be a higher risk of civilian casualties from military operations. Police components of these peacekeeping missions are also critical to strengthen accountability and effectiveness of local police. The U.S. government investments include:
- Co-hosting a workshop with a partner country in March to certify Master Trainers on the new job-specific courses for Individual Police Officers on “Community Oriented Policing,” “Police Capacity Building,” and “Police Monitoring, Mentoring, and Advising;” and
- Hosting a “Training of Trainers” course in 2022 at one of its International Law Enforcement Academies, regarding the recently updated Specialized Training Materials for UN Police.
7) Advance efforts to increase the number of women leaders in UN peace operations. The dedicated women who serve in peace operations around the world inspire women and girls globally to be leaders in their communities and agents of change in peace efforts. They offer unique skillsets, perspectives, and opportunities for engagement, leading to peacekeeping missions that are more reflective of and sensitive to the communities they serve. The United States will explore opportunities to provide funding to the UN Senior Women Talent Pipeline, which focuses on recruitment, retention, and mentoring of women candidates for senior-level civilian posts in UN peace operations.
8) Promote energy efficiency and reducing peacekeeping missions’ climate footprints. The effects of climate change contribute to environments in which peacekeepers are in more frequent and more severe danger as they attempt to fulfill mission mandates. The United States recently released a suite of analyses that will serve as a foundation for critical work on climate and security, and which can help spotlight, prepare for, and limit the impact of climate change on the regions where peacekeeping missions are deployed. The UN Secretariat Climate Action Plan offers important opportunities to modernize and reduce the environmental footprint of UN field missions. The U.S. government will work with UN and Nepal to explore opportunities to pilot the deployment of more energy-efficient hybrid generators within peacekeeping missions, which will help the UN better collect data on fuel usage and cost data. The United States will also endeavor to assist the UN to lower its in-mission carbon footprint by exploring opportunities to provide technology and subject matter expertise in power generation, water resource management, waste management, solar, and other areas, including deploying systems to help optimize costs.
9) Strengthen efforts to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) and address the needs of SEA survivors. The United States is a global leader in working to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers. These efforts include incorporating and expanding SEA-prevention training into U.S. capacity-building assistance; serving as the primary partner with the UN on coordination and delivery of National Investigation Officer training courses which seek to improve accountability for SEA; and working with the UN to prioritize the needs of SEA survivors. The United States recently provided funding to the UN Trust Fund in Support of Victims of SEA, which facilitates funding for projects that provide psychosocial support, medical care, income generation, and awareness-raising assistance and support services to victims of SEA in the context of UN peacekeeping. The United States also encouraged other Member States to support the Trust Fund and to prioritize and promote a survivor-centered response to SEA.
10) Help missions maximize impact to protect civilians from violence. One of the most essential tasks for most peacekeepers is to protect civilians from violence. Having access to consistent, detailed analysis of missions’ protection of civilians’ activities would enable mission leaders to invest resources in the most effective interventions that reduce violence. The U.S. government will seek opportunities to fund specialists in a UN peacekeeping mission to monitor and evaluate the mission’s protection of civilians activities so that missions can strengthen their impact.
11) Counter misinformation and disinformation that threaten UN peacekeepers. Peacekeeping missions are increasingly threatened by misinformation and disinformation that disrupts their ability to implement their mandates. In some cases, this misinformation and disinformation has led to direct attacks against peacekeepers. The U.S. government will explore funding for a specialist in a UN peacekeeping mission to counter misinformation and disinformation, enabling the UN to manage this serious, emerging threat.
12) Develop innovative and practical approaches to improve peacekeeper performance. The U.S. government will consider embedding U.S. military advisors with interested partner TCCs in a peacekeeping mission, at their request, for a short duration in order to reinforce tactics, techniques, and procedures to help meet the challenges faced in today’s peacekeeping environments. Such “in-mission partnerships” would pilot a practical, field-focused partnership model that can strengthen and build on more conventional pre-deployment training. Additionally, to increase efficiency and modernization efforts, the United States will offer subject matter expertise to identify capability gaps, assess and frame requirements, evaluate alternatives, and generate possible solutions in the areas of logistics and transportation.
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