First meeting of the G7 Expert Group on Peacekeeping and Peace-building
Under the Italian G7 Presidency, the Carabinieri Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units (CoESPU) in Vicenza hosted the first meeting of the G7 Experts Group on peacekeeping and peace-building. The Group plays an important role in coordinating the G7 countries’ operations of peacekeeping and post-conflict stabilization, following-up on and implementing decisions made during its annual political summits.
The meeting focused on the training of the Blue Helmets and police units to be deployed in UN peacekeeping operations (there are currently sixteen, nine of which are in Africa). Participants analyzed how best to adapt training programs to the challenges and critical aspects that emerge in the field. This is a crucial topic, especially in light of cross-cutting issues with an increasingly relevant impact on security, such as the protection of human rights, civilians, and cultural heritage in conflict areas, as well as the involvement of women in peace processes. The personnel involved in operations are required to take into account all these aspects during the performance of their duties. The discussion allowed those present to evaluate new possible G7 strategies, in an effort to improve the peacekeepers’ training with ever more advanced skills, know-how, and ethical and professional standards in line with the UN Charter principles, which are fundamental to the success of the missions.
The meeting at CoESPU (managed by the Carabinieri Corps and co-financed by the United States, the country currently holding the Vice Command) enhanced the traditional engagement of the Italian armed forces in UN peacekeeping operations, starting with training and exercise activities. Since its establishment in 2005, the Center has trained about 10,000 police units, mainly deployed in African operations. The discussion also focused on training initiatives conducted by the Security Force Assistance Center of the Italian Army, touching on the reform of the security sector through programs implemented both in Italy and in beneficiary countries, in partnership with the European Union and other International Organizations. Finally, during the meeting, the operation of the Carabinieri Unite4Heritage Task Force for the protection of cultural heritage in contexts of crisis, conflict and natural disasters was illustrated.
In addition to the G7 representatives, delegates at the meeting included Carabinieri, Italian Defense General Staff, and military experts from the United Nations, from the European External Action Service and from the African Union. The first-time participation of a delegate from the African Union – the continent’s main Regional Organization – had a clear added value, as it fostered debate on possible G7 support to efforts to train self-sufficiency in developing countries. Over two-thirds of the UN military and police units come from such nations.
The second meeting of the Group will be held at the UN Logistics Base in Brindisi at the end of the year, and will focus on strengthening the G7 commitment to reducing the environmental impact of peace operations, a specific field in which the Base has a prominent role.