Chris Koney’s column: Switzerland’s effort at maintaining peace in the West African sub-region


Over the years, Ghana and Switzerland have remained committed to global peace and security and the two countries both applied for non-permanent seats on the UN Security Council; Ghana for the 2022- 24 period and Switzerland for the 2023-24 period. In May 2021, Ghana received the highest number of votes, cementing Ghana’s high standing in the community of nations.

In 2021, Switzerland marked the 15th anniversary of its partnership with the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center (KAIPTC) in Accra, Ghana. As part of the celebration, there was a special visit of an official delegation of the Swiss Armed Forces headed by Brigadier General Mäder, Director of International Relations Defence in the Armed Forces Staff in October 2021.

Prior to this official visit, the Swiss ambassador to Ghana, Philipp Stalder attended an event to commence the Multidimensional Peace Support Operations Course (MDPO) 2021, at KAIPTC in Accra, Ghana on June 28, 2021. He highlighted the great relationship between Switzerland and Ghana during his opening remarks in the area of peace and security.

The Swiss-funded course, MDPO 2021, had participants from Ghana and five other West African countries, namely, Nigeria, Cameroon, Benin, Liberia, Sierra Leone. Three Swiss officers are currently supporting the KAIPTC, engaged as Head of TED (Training, Evaluation and Development), Course Director and Digital Communications Officer respectively. In addition, Switzerland finances three courses at the Centre every year.

Switzerland is proud to support these activities and is pleased to cooperate with KAIPTC at all times and at any level, as the Center plays an important role in the overall African security architecture as one of the few centres of excellence for training.

Switzerland has shown its contribution to international peace efforts, with 280 Swiss personnel from the ranks of Private to Major General serving in peace missions in 19 countries. They are in various contingents including SWISSCOY in Kosovo, UN Military Experts in Mission and as Humanitarian Deminers in the Middle East, Africa and Asia or supporting training institutions such as KAIPTC or the L’école de maintien de la paix Alioune Blondin Beye in Mali.

MDPO 2021 was designed to provide the knowledge and skills required to plan, coordinate and implement multidimensional peace operations at the operational level to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of every component involved in peace operations. Participants of MDPO 2021 are in their future missions expected to protect civilians, ensure active conflict prevention, reduction of violence, strengthening of security and empowerment of national authorities to take on these tasks.

Initially developed to deal with inter-State conflict, Peace Operations have increasingly been used in intra-state conflicts and civil wars, which are often characterized by multiple armed factions with differing political objectives and fractured lines of command. The changing environment has led to an evolution in the structure of peace operations, particularly since the 90s. It has evolved from the traditional model of military operations to the multidimensional model.

In recent times, multidimensional peacekeeping operations are used not only to maintain peace and security, but also to facilitate the political process, protect civilians, assist in the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants; support the organization of elections, protect and promote human rights and assist in restoring the rule of law.

More than two generations after the first UN Peacekeeping Mission in the Middle East in 1948, the size and scope of Peace Operations has therefore expanded dramatically. Success is never guaranteed, and there is no “one-size-fits-all” model. To succeed, current Multidimensional Peace Operations must have clear mandates and adequate resources, and must be tailored to fit the political, regional and other realities of the country or territory in question.

Most importantly, they must respond to the desires and aspirations of the local population. How can these Herculean tasks be mastered? Certainly, it can only be accomplished with united efforts! That is why members of the military, police, judiciary, civilians, members of government institutions and NGOs sit together to learn and exchange ideas.

>>>the writer is a Creative Writer & Multimedia Production Specialist

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