PH Co-hosts PKO Workshop with New Zealand, Indonesia and ICRC

Following the regional PKO capabilities workshop hosted by the Philippines in Manila last June, the Philippines and New Zealand as co-chairs of the ADMM-Plus Experts Working Group on PKO together with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) conducted a workshop focusing on the operational challenges of peacekeeping from 6-8 November 2012. Hosted by Indonesia's Ministry of Defense and held in Bogor, Indonesia, the workshop utilized a complex scenario to examine various challenges facing commanders, troops and police personnel including civilians involved in UN peacekeeping missions.

The importance of having collaborative interaction between military and civilian actors involved in peacekeeping was evident throughout the exercise. And beyond keeping the peace among sectors involved in an armed confrontation which necessitated the deployment of a PKO mission in the first place, the need to ensure that civilians are protected was highlighted during the discussions. Civil-military interaction and protection of civilians have indeed become key issues in UN peacekeeping operations and to a certain extent would underpin whether these missions become effective or not.

The exercise was meant to enhance pre-deployment preparations of ADMM-Plus countries, which have diverse set of PKO related capabilities. The presentations from experts provided relevant information for the participants which enabled them to thresh out issues during their small group discussions that followed. Sharing the results of the discussions to the whole group in plenary sessions enabled each group to compare notes and critic each other's contributions.

A meeting of the experts working group was subsequently held after the workshop, where the EWG members discussed the road ahead for the working group in 2013, keeping in mind the action plan crafted at the inception of the EWG in 2011.