5 Ways UN Peacekeeping Partnerships Boost Peace and Development — Global Issues

From protecting civilians in war-torn areas and building social cohesion to safely delivering humanitarian aid, rebuilding infrastructure and providing livelihoods to impoverished communities, peacekeepers are working with local and international partners to improve the conditions. create political solutions and sustainable development .

Ahead of the United Nations’ International Day of Peacekeepers (May 29), whose theme this year is People Peace Progress: The Power of Partnerships, here are five ways peacekeeping partnerships are driving change.

1. Promoting Climate Action

Climate change increases the risk of conflict and makes recovery more difficult. Increasing drought, desertification, flooding, food insecurity and water and energy scarcity in many parts of the world are making it more difficult for conflict-affected communities to rebuild their lives. UN peacekeeping is serving on the front lines of these mounting crises.

By December 2021, 70 percent of South Sudan’s Unity region was under water after its worst flooding in 60 years.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), in collaboration with humanitarian organizations and local authorities, has taken immediate action, with technical peacekeepers from Pakistan building 70 kilometers of levees to protect the city, camps for displaced families, the airport and roads that provide essential access for both humanitarian aid and trade.

On January 4, 2022, UNMISS and its partners marked 100 consecutive days of fighting the rising waters. In a truly concerted effort, displaced families patrolled the perimeter and checked for cracks in the mud dikes.

Reflecting on the remarkable commitment of all partners involved, Hiroko Hirahara, head of the UNMISS field office in Bentiu, explains: “What I can proudly say is that everyone came together. I mean, this is the beauty of the people in Bentiu that we can argue here, there, anywhere, but once the situation hits, everyone comes together. We work in solidarity. I think we are making progress.”

2. On the Frontline of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, peacekeepers have continued to protect civilians from violence and maintain peace, while also supporting national responses to the pandemic.

During the pandemic, radio has been an essential channel to disseminate timely and accurate information about the transmission, prevention, treatment and best practices of COVID-19, especially in local communities. At a time when most people were telecommuting due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, MONUSCO’s Radio Okapi host Jody Nkashama was in the studio trying to stop the spread by keeping listeners informed.

“We braved fears to provide more than 24 million listeners with reliable information about the pandemic, which had led to various rumors and the loss of lives, negatively impacting the national economy,” explains Nkashama.

In addition to providing life-saving information and fighting dangerous misinformation about the virus, Radio Okapi, which is operated by the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), played an important educational role for young students. Because millions of children could not go to school because of those who stayed at home, Radio Okapi intervened to fill the gap.

3. Support Local Livelihoods

For peace to last, conflict-affected communities must be supported to rebuild their livelihoods. Peacekeepers conduct and fund vocational and skills training workshops and services to help local communities generate income to support their families.

In South Sudan, healthy livestock is not only a symbol of social status, but also a lifeline for many families, as it helps them put food on the table, meet nutritional needs and raise their children.

A weekly veterinary clinic is a longstanding tradition in Malakal, South Sudan, thanks to Indian peacekeepers serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). From 2006-2015 and then in 2018, after a hiatus during the fierce conflict in the region, Indian peacekeepers provided free veterinary services and training to local farmers to ensure the health of their livestock.

With no other vets treating animals in Malakal, UNMISS veterinary services have saved lives and livelihoods.

“Helping people make a living contributes greatly to peacebuilding efforts in this young nation,” said Lt. Col. Philip Varghese.

4. Building National Capacity to Maintain Peace and Security

Peacekeeping missions work with host governments to build and enhance national capabilities to maintain security, law and order and effective police and justice mechanisms.

In March 2022, the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) launched Operation “Secret and Commanded” (“Let Peace Reign”) in the northwest of the country.

The operation aims to reduce the influence of illegal armed groups and the impact of explosives through increased patrols and aerial reconnaissance missions.

In close cooperation with local communities and the national military, peacekeepers conduct patrols to assess the security situation and also to understand the concerns of the local communities. During recent patrols, the lack of medical supplies and access to schools has been highlighted by the communities.

In response, peacekeepers have provided daily clean drinking water, school supplies and sports equipment, as well as free medical care, including for women and children. Roads have also been repaired to improve living conditions and access to services.
“The number of incidents and attacks in the area has decreased dramatically in recent weeks, proof that the actions of our units have a real impact,” said Lt-Col. Abdoul Aziz Ouedraogo.

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5. Supporting women and youth in building lasting peace

The leadership of women and youth is crucial in shaping the solutions that impact lives and lead to peace and development. UN peacekeeping operations support the meaningful engagement of women and youth to ensure their priorities are at the heart of security and political decisions.

Decades of conflict have divided the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities. In 2021, a project facilitated by the United Nations Mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and sponsored by the Dutch embassy helped bring women from both communities together through an age-old tradition: weaving.

The Klotho Women’s Initiative created projects on the loom that allowed Greek and Turkish Cypriot women of different ages to exchange their weaving knowledge.

“At first we felt like strangers, but through this collaboration between two communities, we came to know that we are the same,” explains Hande Toycan, a Turkish Cypriot. “By meeting each other, getting to know each other’s lives and customs, we are slowly paving the way to peace.”

“Until then, I had no contact with Turkish Cypriots at all,” said Greek Cypriot Flora Hadjigeorgiou. “The first time I came into contact with a Turkish Cypriot was through the Klotho project. At age 65.”

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