Rwanda is hosting one of the three preparatory meetings to the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial due to take place in Vancouver, Canada from 14 to 15 November.
The 2-day meeting was officially opened on Tuesday by Minister of Defence James Kabarebe and the High Commissioner of Canada to Rwanda, Sara Hradecky. It brings together more than 100 delegates from 46 countries.
“The meeting will build the foundation of the forthcoming Vancouver Defence Ministerial Conference by instilling in it the key outcomes of our deliberations on protecting those at risk and early warning and rapid deployment,” Kabarebe said.
He commended the positive contribution by peacekeepers but deplored the continued suffering of vulnerable people even in areas where peacekeepers are deployed.
“There is a need to review the specific challenges in the whole early warning process and rapid deployment as well as the challenges associated with protecting those at risk,” Kabarebe said. “These challenges can be addressed by filling the capability gaps and by taking appropriate and timely measures at the various levels. They can also be addressed through institutional reforms, a change of mindset as well as drawing lessons from past mistakes and inactions.”
Canada’s High Commissioner Sara Hradecky said she hopes the forthcoming Peacekeeping Ministerial Conference in Canada will bring positive results to the UN Peacekeeping, and that Canada is strongly committed to enhance partnership with African countries to solve security challenges on the continent.
“Canada values efforts of African partners to address the security challenges,” she said.
Hradecky hailed Rwanda for its major contribution to UN Peacekeeping, adding that participants to the meeting should learn from the country’s good leadership and vast experience in peacekeeping operations.
Ambassador Michael Grant, Canadian deputy permanent representative to the UN, clarified that the purpose of these meetings is to help improve efficiency and effectiveness in UN Peacekeeping Operations. He also remarked that during the forthcoming Defence Ministerial Meeting, countries are expected to make new specific pledges in terms of capabilities and troops.
On Monday, discussions centred on ‘Protecting those at Risk,’ and Gen Patrick Cammaert, former commander of UN peacekeeping forces in the eastern DRC, made a presentation on ‘Strengthening performance and accountability for protection of civilian mandate.’
Gen Patrick Nyamvumba, the Chief of Defence Staff of the Rwanda Defence Force, discussed ‘How the Kigali Principles enhances the protection of civilian mandate.’
Participants also discussed ‘Gender Perspectives in Peacekeeping’ with Gen Isaac Chikadibia, former UN military adviser and CGP Emmanuel Gasana , inspector general of the Rwandan police, as main presenters.