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.