Patricipants and course instructors
Patricipants and course instructors

Political training for peace support operations opens in Accra

Stakeholders working in the area of peace support operations have converged on Accra for a 10-day training on essential skills for the role of political advisors. 

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The participants – including intelligence officers, defence advisors, journalists, traditional rulers and graduate students – were drawn from various West African countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Liberia, Gambia, and Cote d’Ivoire among others.

Dubbed, “Political Advisor Course for Peace Support Operations in Africa”, the programme is being organised jointly by the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Defence.

Key among topics to be treated include policy advising, negotiation, mediation and public diplomacy. 

Opening  

Opening the training session in Accra last Monday, the Course Director, Col. Emmanuel Larbi Sarpong Gyadu, explained that the West African sub-region and the African Continent as a whole had witnessed a surge in international efforts to end wars, stabilise fragile states, and rebuild war-torn societies leading to an unprecedented number of peace operations and political missions.

He added that the role of the political advisor in a mission was critical for providing the mission leadership with proper analysis of political developments, trends and emerging issues in the country or region and making recommendations on possible policies, strategies and other measures to address those issues.

Col. Gyadu said the overall objective of the course was to train Political Advisors for United Nations, African Union, and ECOWAS missions in West Africa, as well as senior staff from African countries and organisations.

“I do not doubt that this training will expose you to internationally required competencies and standards for political advisors and I am certain that it will enable you to better understand the dynamics of conflict and crisis management to function effectively in multi-dimensional peace support operations”.

Austria

The Head of Regional Cooperation at the Austrian Federal Ministry of Defence, Gunther Barnet, recounted how a small delegation from the landlocked country in Central Europe sent to Congo was taken hostage in 1960 until Nigeria intervened.

Consequently, he said Austria, had since then decided not to send troops to Africa until 2002 when his government took another troop to Congo through the European Union adding that Austria had subsequently engaged in bilateral military assistance to countries such as Burkina Faso, Kenya and Senegal.

For this reason, he said Austria was interested in the stability and the prosperity of the African continent, hence the decision to partner with KAIPTC for the training. 

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