Ghana received high praise for its remarkable contribution to global peacekeeping operations, earning commendations from Mr Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the Under Secretary-General in charge of Peace Operations at the United Nations (UN).
The accolades were expressed during the opening ceremony of the 75th UN Peacekeeping Ministerial Conference in Accra on Wednesday.
As the sixth-largest contributor of UN troops and police to peacekeeping missions, and an elected member of the Security Council, Ghana's peacekeepers were lauded for their exemplary track record and commitment to maintaining international peace and security.
Mr Lacroix particularly highlighted Ghana's achievement in meeting uniformed gender parity targets for troops, police, and staff officers.
“Ghana's peacekeepers have an exemplary track record, and it is one of the few troop-contributing countries that has met our uniformed gender parity targets for troops, police, and staff officers,” he stated.
Acknowledging the immense contribution of peacekeepers worldwide over the past 75 years, Mr Lacroix emphasized their role in saving lives and fostering peace in challenging and often dangerous conditions.
“The contribution of the two million women and men who have served since the first peacekeeping mission was deployed in 1948 is immense. They have helped many countries successfully navigate the difficult path from war to peace,” he noted.
While expressing gratitude to all troop and police contributors, Mr Lacroix paid tribute to peacekeepers who sacrificed their lives, with a special mention of the 311 who died in the service of peace in Mali.
The UN Under Secretary-General stressed that peacekeeping operations played a crucial role in preserving ceasefires, protecting civilians, mediating local conflicts, and strengthening institutions.
However, he highlighted the evolving challenges faced by peacekeeping missions, including terrorism, digital threats, and financial constraints.
“Peacekeepers are facing terrorists, criminals, armed groups, and their allies, who have access to powerful modern weapons, and a vested interest in perpetuating the chaos in which they thrive,” Mr Lacroix explained.
Addressing the financial aspects, he pointed out that the UN Peacekeeping budget comprised only 0.3 percent of global military spending. Despite the challenges, Mr Lacroix emphasized the cost-effectiveness of peacekeeping, stating, “Our peacekeepers are saving countless lives for a relatively small investment. It is cost-effective. But for our missions to enable countries to reach a durable peace, we need your full support.”
The 2023 UN Peacekeeping Ministerial Conference in Accra marks the first-ever such event hosted in Africa, providing Member States with an opportunity to collectively assess peacekeeping operations and implement the Secretary-General's Action for Peacekeeping initiative. The conference is attended by over 600 delegates, including Foreign and Defense Ministers, academics, and journalists from across the globe.