S. Korea to host two-day UN peacekeeping ministerial forum

08-Dec-2021 Intellasia | yonhap | 5:02 AM Print This Post

A South Korea-hosted UN peacekeeping ministerial forum got under way Tuesday, designed to solidify the global community’s collective commitment to sustainable peace in conflict-laden parts of the world.

The two-day 2021 Seoul UN Peacekeeping ministerial comes as Seoul has steadily pushed to foster lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula and embrace a greater role in global efforts to stabilise volatile regions in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere.

This photo, taken on Friday, shows an exhibition on UN peacekeeping operations under way at Dongdaemun Design Plaza in central Seoul. (Yonhap)

This photo, taken on Friday, shows an exhibition on UN peacekeeping operations under way at Dongdaemun Design Plaza in central Seoul. (Yonhap)

Under the main theme of “Technology and Medical Capacity Building,” the gathering brought together foreign and defense ministers, and other officials from more than 150 countries as well as those from related international organisations, according to Seoul’s foreign and defense ministries.

Three UN under-secretary-generals handling peace operations, operational support and management strategy Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Atul Khare and Catherine Pollard, respectively attended the gathering in person.

It marks the first time for an Asian country to host the high-level PKO forum, which was launched in 2016 as a follow-up to the 2015 UN peacekeeping summit. The previous ministerial sessions took place in Britain in 2016, Canada in 2017 and at the UN in 2019.

At the opening ceremony, Seoul’s Foreign minister Chung Eui-yong and Defense minister Suh Wook, the co-hosts of the meeting, were set to deliver congratulatory remarks. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also planned to deliver a video message.

Then will come key sessions on four major themes: sustaining peace; partnerships, training and capacity building; performance and accountability; and protection of civilians and safety and security.

The themes are core parts of the Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative, which Guterres presented in 2018 to call for the international community to exert greater efforts to strengthen PKO operations.

Chung will lead the first session, during which ministerial or vice-ministerial officials from 20 countries, including Britain, China and India, are set to announce their respective commitments to PKO operations in video speeches.

During the second session, Suh will deliver a keynote speech detailing South Korea’s contribution plans, such as its decision to offer more than a dozen helicopters to the PKO mission.

The third and fourth sessions, slated for Wednesday, will be led by Pollard and Lacroix, respectively.

The sessions are to be livestreamed on YouTube and UN Web TV.

The Seoul gathering was initially set to proceed in an in-person format, but South Korea decided later to hold it virtually amid growing fears of the omicron COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa.

The conference coincides with South Korea’s celebration of the 30th anniversary of its accession into the UN The two Koreas concurrently joined the world body on September 17, 1991.

Two years after its entry into the UN, South Korea sent a military unit to Somalia in 1993 on its first peacekeeping mission. As of August, 520 South Korean people are serving in five UN PKO missions, including in Lebanon and South Sudan.




Category: Korea

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