CO-CHAIR'S SUMMARY REPORT OF
THE 3rd ARF PEACEKEEPING EXPERTS' MEETING
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA
24-26 June 2009
- Pursuant to the decision of the 15th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Ministerial Meeting in July 2008, Cambodia and Japan co-chaired the 3rd Meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum's Peacekeeping Experts' Meeting in Siem Reap, Cambodia on 24-26 June. The Meeting was co-chaired by Lt. Gen. NEM Sowath, Director General of Policy and Foreign Affairs from Cambodian Ministry of National Defense, and Mr. Hiroshi OE, Director General for International Affairs from Japanese Ministry of Defense. The Meeting was attended by 17 ARF participating countries and the ASEAN Secretariat. The United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations was also present. The list of Participants appears as ANNEX A.
- The theme of the Meeting was "Enhancing the Regional Capacity to Participate in United Nations (UN) Peacekeeping Operations."
Against the background of overstretch of peacekeeping missions with increasingly complex and multidimensional mandates and confronted with limited human and financial resources, the Meeting aimed at enhancing the regional troop contribution for peacekeeping operations, sharing of best practices for peacebuilding and networking among peacekeeping training centers in the Asia-Pacific region so that UN peacekeeping remains a viable and indeed a stronger instrument for the future.
- H.E. PRAK Sokhonn, Minister Attached to the Prime Minister, President of the National Coordination Committee for Sending Troops to UN-PKO, Cambodia in his Opening Remark referred to its history of receiving the assistance from the blue berets 18 years ago and explained that Cambodia has become a contributor to peacekeeping activities, emphasizing that Cambodian soldiers who were previously armed to fight have been transformed to peacekeepers. The Minister also introduced the background and objective of the 3rd ARF Peacekeeping Experts' Meeting. The Opening Remark appears as ANNEX B.
- In her keynote address, Ms. Sunaina LOWE, Coordination Officer of the Policy, Evaluation and Training Division from UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (UNDPKO), briefed on the UNDPKO's initiative of New Horizon for UN Peacekeeping, which aims at addressing challenges and maximizing the opportunities for UN peacekeeping success in the near term. She presented to the Meeting the recommended actions and proposals in three aspects: enhancing cohesion among stakeholders, credibility of UN peacekeeping missions and capacity to deliver on mandates effectively so as to find solutions for the current challenges. The presentation and keynote address appear as ANNEX C.
Session one: Overstretch of UN peacekeeping operations and enhancing regional troop contribution for peacekeeping operations
- In the presentation, the Indonesian delegate introduced the institutional overview and training activities of Indonesian Defense Force Peacekeeping Centre and explained capstone training events including GARUDA SHIELD 2009 which was held in Indonesia on 11-29 June. The presentation appears as ANNEX D.
- The US delegate explained the current status and strategy, USPACOM's role, overview of training and capstone exercises of Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI) whose objectives are to train peacekeepers and to enhance the capacity of regional organizations. The presentation appears as ANNEX E.
- The Chinese delegate explained its participation in peacekeeping operations since 1990 and the training of its peacekeepers, including its soon-to-be-established peacekeeping center near Beijing. The presentation appears as ANNEX F.
- The Bangladesh delegate explained its policy on peacekeeping and role of Foreign Ministry in deployments of troops to UN Peacekeeping missions. Bangladesh delegate also highlighted the extraordinary role of the Bangladeshi troops playing since 1989 to the UN Peacekeeping missions and attached great importance for further opportunities vis-a-vis more international and regional technical and financial assistance in areas related to UN PKOs. The presentation appears as ANNEX G.
- The Meeting shared the concern on serious challenges facing UN peacekeeping operations. The Meeting stressed the need to encourage countries to enhance capacity for peacekeeping operations by providing qualified training to their troops so that peacekeepers are well-prepared for increasingly complex and multi-dimensional UN peacekeeping operations. The Meeting also discussed the possibility of improving UN Standby Arrangement System (UNSAS) and of creating strategic reserve while keeping in mind its financial implication. The Meeting also noted the importance of providing technical and financial assistance to the peacekeeping centers and promoting regional trainings to enhance region's capacity in peacekeeping operations.
Session two: Sharing best practices for peacebuilding
- In the presentation, the Japanese delegates presented its experiences and lessons learnt from its international peace cooperation activities and proposed the Meeting to develop a best practice reference paper on peacekeeping/ peacebuilding to share national experience and lessons learnt among ARF countries. The presentation appears as ANNEX H.
- The Cambodian delegate explained its activities and achievement of demining in UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), its humanitarian aid in Sudan, its participation in multinational exercises as well as the lessons learnt from its own experience of ending its 30-years war and dispatching Cambodian troops to PKO. The presentation appears as ANNEX I.
- The delegate of Republic of Korea explained its experiences and lessons learnt from its participation in peacekeeping operations, such as taking both software and hardware approaches to secure stability, developing friendship and partnership to win the hearts and minds of the local population, and improving quality of life of the local society. The presentation appears as ANNEX J.
- The Meeting discussed and generally supported Japan's proposal on consolidating the Best Practices Reference Paper for Peacekeeping/ Peacebuilding and endorsed the paper, which appears as ANNEX K [PDF], as an initial and a "living document" for accumulating the best practices of respective countries. The paper will be open to future comments and will be discussed and updated as necessary at future ARF Peacekeeping Experts' Meetings.
Session three: Networking among peacekeeping training centers in the Asia-Pacific region
- In the presentation, the Australian delegate briefed on the International Association of Peace Training Centres (IAPTC) and proposed to form a regional chapter of the IAPTC in the Asia-Pacific region on the occasion of the 15th IAPTC Conference to be held at Sydney from 24-27 Nov 2009. The presentation appears as ANNEX L.
- The Malaysian delegate explained the role, objectives, organization, courses of the Malaysian Peacekeeping Training Centre (MPTC). The presentation appears as ANNEX M.
- The Indian delegate explained the history, organization, objectives and activities of Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping (CUNPK) and showed the video clipping its trainings. The presentation appears as ANNEX N.
- The Meeting noted the importance of further strengthening regional cooperation among peacekeeping training centers, such as exchange of information including syllabus, exchange of students/ instructors, and holding joint training, exercises, seminars, workshops and research, so as to foster regional and international cooperation in peacekeeping operations. The Meeting encouraged ARF participants to consider participating in the upcoming 15th IAPTC conference in order to strengthen regional cooperation, including the possibility of forming a regional chapter. There was also a suggestion on the importance of promoting inter-regional cooperation.
- The host of the 4th Meeting in 2010 will be coordinated and communicated to the ARF participants through diplomatic channel in due course.
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