Under-Secretary-General Mr. Atul Khare opening remarks for 6th Partnership for Technology in Peacekeeping International Symposium,
More than 87,000 women and men from 121 Member States serve in 12 UN Peacekeeping Operations around the world.
H.E. Ms. Thandi Modise, Minister of Defence and Military Veterans of the Republic of South Africa
H.E. Ambassador Mathu Joyini, Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa to the United Nations
H.E. Ms. Candith Mashego-Dlamini, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation,
H.E. Gen. Rudzani Maphwanya, Chief of the South African National Defence Force,
H.E. Ms. Sonto G. Kudjoe Secretary for Defence,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the United Nations, I wish to welcome you to the opening of the 6th Partnership for Technology in Peacekeeping Symposium and to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Republic of South Africa for hosting and facilitating this important event.
This year’s event is particularly significant as it is the first time the Symposium is being hosted in Africa.
I want to thank our South African hosts for the outstanding work done preparing for this event and for making available this excellent facility.
I wish to highlight the keen interest by Member States in this symposium and its objectives. Today we have 200 delegates in attendance from 40 member states, as well as representatives from academia and other interested Organizations.
From the United Nations, I am supported this week by four Assistant Secretaries-Generals. Eighty UN staff are attending, representing UN field missions, UN Headquarters, our Global Service Center, and UN Agencies Funds and Program.
I would like to particularly thank the senior representatives attending today from Member States, who are our key partners in peacekeeping, along with representatives from missions and partner organizations. .
Since 1948, United Nations peacekeeping has worked to end conflicts in dozens of countries.
Today, more than 87,000 women and men from 121 Member States serve in 12 United Nations Peacekeeping Operations around the world, contributing to laying the foundation for durable peace.
Peacekeepers implement mandates in challenging conflict environments, marked by the regionalization of conflict, the proliferation of armed groups, erosion of the rule of law, exclusion, and impunity.
Many peacekeeping missions are performing multiple, interdependent tasks in non-permissive and high-risk environments, with diminishing resources.
Over the last 10 years we have increasingly looked to technology to address current and emerging challenges across a wide range of disciplines. From 2014, this Partnership for technology in peacekeeping has offered Member States an opportunity for a new kind of relationship with United Nations Peacekeeping beyond the traditional troop, police, and financial contributions.
A relationship that aligns global technological and innovative capacities with the specific needs and challenges of field missions.
This Symposium is designed to facilitate interactions and create synergies that will produce technology outcomes, addressing current and emerging challenges of peacekeeping.
This year, the theme of the Symposium is “Informed - Aware – Effective”, with the following five priority areas being examined in depth:
- Protecting Peacekeepers
- Information-Driven Peace Operations
- Integrated Training and Capacity Building
The five areas reflect current priorities and, most importantly, where significant impact can be made through the application of technology solutions.
Over the next two days each area will be examined by a focused working group, but I wish to say a few words about each topic.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Protecting Peacekeepers has always been a focus of this Partnership for Technology.
Important successes, such as the deployments of Counter Rocket Artillery Mortar (CRAM) systems and other protection technologies now deployed in many missions to protect UN camps.
During this Symposium we will examine the threat spectrum against UN peace operations and the status of technologies currently utilized, with particular emphasis on protection of convoys and temporary operating bases.
Major steps have also been taken in recent years to move towards information- driven peacekeeping.
The Unite Aware technology platform designed to support Situational Awareness in Field Operations is about to be rolled out to the first set of missions.
The newly constituted Situational Awareness Team in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations is here and anxious to engage on next steps to optimize the use of data to inform both short team and more strategic decision making.
In the area of training, one of the outcomes of the first Partnership for Technology event was the establishment of the United Nations C4ISR Academy in Entebbe, Uganda.
Its goal was to address gaps in military signals and Information & Communications Technology (ICT) of Uniformed Peacekeepers.
The Academy is now developing training projects related to C4ISR in response to the operational needs of deployed personnel. It seeks to develop further partnerships and move towards an integrated training concept as part of this week’s engagements.
As you all know, peacekeeping missions generally have large footprints. It is therefore vital for the UN to minimize its environmental impact on local communities.
In this regard, the Symposium will examine the ongoing work on developing and operationalizing the UN Smart Camp Concept and consider critical issues such as aligning TCC and UN environmental management objectives.
The fifth topic we will examine in this Symposium is improving the quality of medical care for peacekeepers through the use of telemedicine.
This week we will build on the work done at the 2019 Symposium, by examining. the significant impact of the UN telemedicine system and exploring further life-saving innovations.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
In closing, I wish to reiterate my gratitude for the support of Member States as we deal with emerging challenges across the Organization and as we further develop and expand the our partnerships.
Significant advances have been made in engineering and medical through the Triangular Partnership Project, which brings together the UN Secretariat, troop and police-contributing countries and Member States to fund and advance agreed projects.
I am confident that together we can – and we will – continue to advance and reinforce peacekeeping as a unique and fundamental instrument of multilateralism.
I confirm the complete commitment of the Organization with respect to these engagements.
It is also my wish that, as well as making important contributions to peacekeeping this week, all delegates will also be able to gain knowledge and ideas that will positively influence your own work.
Last but not least, while we continue to make every effort to protect peacekeepers and peacekeeping casualties have decreased, too many peacekeepers have made the ultimate sacrifice for peace or bear lifelong disabling conditions because of their service.
I pay tribute to all our peacekeepers including fifty South African colleagues who lost their lives and dedicate our work this week to creating a better and safer environment for them to work and live in.
I believe that making their work safer and becoming more effective in peacekeeping is the only way to pay tribute to our fallen colleagues. Let us work together to achieve our purpose.
I wish you all a very successful Symposium and look forward to the fruits of your work.