Travel Diary: Partnership for Peace -- Working With African Nations To Strengthen Peacekeeping

Posted by David McKeeby
August 4, 2009
African Union Peacekeepers

Interactive Travel Map | Text the Secretary | Behind the Scenes PhotosAbout the Author: David McKeeby is a Public Affairs Specialist in the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs.

Secretary Clinton arrived in Kenya today on the first leg of her 11-day trip to seven African nations. Throughout her trip, the Secretary will reaffirm the commitment of the United States to building new partnerships to promote responsible governance, economic opportunity, and shared responsibility.

One model of effective partnership that is producing real results is the State Department’s Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI), which trains and equips military personnel to serve as international peacekeepers and bring stability to post-conflict communities worldwide.

GPOI has surpassed its 2010 goal a year early, training over 81,000 foreign peacekeepers and facilitating the deployment of nearly 50,000 peacekeeping forces to 20 United Nations, African Union, and other regional peace support operations around the globe.

Overseen by the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, GPOI is part of a U.S. effort to build on its role as the world’s leading financial contributor to peacekeeping operations and meet a growing international demand for trained military and police personnel to secure the peace and protect at-risk populations in a host of global hotspots, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Lebanon, Somalia and Sudan’s Darfur region.

African nations have been central to the GPOI partnership’s success. Nearly half of the 56 GPOI partner countries are located in Africa. The bulk of the training in support under GPOI has been conducted in Africa by the Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) Program, a component of GPOI administered by our colleagues in State’s Bureau of African Affairs. Peacekeeping is truly a “whole-of-government” challenge, and Political-Military Affairs works closely with partners across the U.S. government to implement GPOI, including the Department of Defense and its regional commands, including Africa Command.

GPOI was launched in support of the G-8 Action Plan to Expand Global Capability for Peace Support Operations, adopted at the 2004 G-8 Sea Island Summit, with the goal to train and equip 75,000 new peacekeepers worldwide by 2010.

GPOI also provides support to the Italian-led Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units that instructs police unit trainers also essential to creating civilian police officers essential to post-conflict recovery. In all, the Center has graduated over 2,000 trainers from 29 countries.

Starting in October 2009, the peacekeeping initiative will launch Phase II, where it plans to build on its successful partnerships in Africa and elsewhere from 2010-2014 by shifting its focus from direct training to increasing the self-sufficiency of GPOI partner to train peacekeepers on their own. By doing so, GPOI will further multiply the number of future peacekeeping forces and offer African nations the chance to strengthen their role in the shared global challenge of keeping the peace, in Africa and beyond.

Comments

Comments

palgye
|
South Korea
August 4, 2009

Palgye in South Korea writes:

it`s good..

Azeezah
|
South Carolina, USA
August 5, 2009

Azeezah in South Carolina writes:

this is great, but i wish that somehow we as humans could enter some sort of post-military era in which peacekeeping would not require the use of force.

Ron
|
New York, USA
August 5, 2009

Ron in New York writes:

Shift that paradigm.....

GPOI.....should be conflict prevention and development
peace-making not post-conflict stabilization and peace-keeping. Use intelligence....not the military.

Pat
|
Kenya
August 5, 2009

Pat in Kenya writes:

Looking forward to hearing more from this remarkable Secretary of State whom I met when she was First Lady..at Ngorongoro Crater

Suleman
|
South Africa
August 5, 2009

Suleman in South Africa writes:

The U.S.A. ought to be careful not to repeat the mistakes committed over years when dealing with African countries, training of military personnel from a dictatorial regime does not help anybody other than legitimising the dictator and making him more autocratic.i.e President Museveni of Uganda, with all the Military training assistance received , he has now militalised the country and has transformed himself into a life President. He is now a burden to the country and all those who have nurtured him including the U.S.A. Training would be good but from democratic countries and with the consent of the Parliaments.
God Bless
Suleman

David M.
|
District Of Columbia, USA
August 6, 2009

DipNote Blogger David McKeeby writes:

@ Suleman in South Africa -- Thank you for your comment. Like all recipients of U.S. security assistance, any foreign military personnel receiving training under the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI) must first be carefully reviewed by U.S. authorities to ensure they have not been involved in any past human rights abuses. We call this process "Leahy Vetting," after U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, who led the effort to enact this important law in 2008.

John
|
Georgia
September 12, 2009

John in Georgia writes:

Peacekeeping is one of the most noble pursuits of mankind. Would that we had these troops when the Hutus and Tutsis were squaring off; or in Bosnia in the early '90s; or in East Timor in the '80s. The USA should put the funding and support of this program as a priority.

David
|
District Of Columbia, USA
September 28, 2009

DipNote Blogger David McKeeby writes:

@ John in Georgia -- Thank you for your comment. You'll be pleased to know that at the U.N. General Assembly last week, President Obama renewed U.S. commitment to supporting international peacekeeping. See our Dipnote post about it at as well as a briefing by White House Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs Samantha Power.

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