Enhancing And Strengthening Civil And Military Coordination During Peacekeeping Operations

Ms Mendoza (in the hat) during a feeding programme she had organized in Mindanao, Philippines. Photo courtesy of Ms Mendoza.
The project was conceived to address the growing demand for expertise and skills to effectively negotiate the international peace keeping operations. | Photo: UNDP Malaysia

In the last decade, the nature of conflicts has changed. Peacekeepers are no longer dealing with inter-State conflict but in complex intra-state conflicts and civil wars which require longer term interventions. The increasing complexities of working in conflict-torn countries in recent years have also resulted in the expectation that peacekeeping missions will operate in ways which go beyond their original mandate of maintaining peace and security.

Highlights

  • During the project period, a number of activities took place including the capacity assessment of MPC, training needs assessment of Asian and African peacekeepers, development of training modules on civil military coordination and gender in peace keeping.
  • Organized a number of training courses on Civil Military Coordination Module including Training of Trainers, involving participants from Malaysia and a number of Asian and African countries.
  • Promoted gender issues in peacekeeping through organizing an international seminar on Gender in peacekeeping, the first of its kind in Malaysia.
  • Organised an international roundtable which brought together experts and practitioners from United Nations agencies, United Nations peacekeeping operations in countries such as Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and international peacekeeping training centres in Africa and Asia to assess the institutional capacity needs of the Malaysian Peacekeeping Centre, including benchmarking against other regional training centres, and to derive inputs for the development of training modules which would assist in addressing emerging challenges of 21st century peacekeeping missions.

As such, the objectives of peacekeeping operations often evolve from just maintaining a status quo to a far more ambitious and holistic approach of managing changes such as ensuring the implementation of comprehensive peace agreements and supporting the laying of foundations for sustainable peace rather than traditional field operations that involve strictly military tasks. United Nations peacekeeping and peacebuilding missions today are increasingly involved in assisting political processes, supporting judicial reform, training law enforcement and police forces, disarming and reintegrating former combatants, and supporting the return of internally displaced persons and refugees.

Within this changing global landscape, a peacekeeping force is no longer the solitary or even leading actor in the field, but rather one actor among a wide range of institutions providing humanitarian aid, reconstruction, reforms and institution building to mention a few. This has resulted in the increasing interaction between military, police and various civilian elements in areas not directly related to security. All these actors are increasingly dependent on each other. With this has come the need for better coordination and integration between military/security and civilian actors in peacekeeping operations and peacebuilding efforts to achieve a more coherent and unified approach for a long-term viability of a peace process.

Recognizing that increasingly complex settings require new dynamic models of peacekeeping training, UNDP with the financial support of the UNDP-Japan Partnership Fund collaborated with the Malaysian Armed Forces and the Ministry of Defense on a project titled Capacity Building Support for Malaysia’s role in Multidimensional Peacekeeping Training. The project was conceived to address the growing demand for expertise and skills to effectively negotiate the international peace keeping operations.

The project specifically focused on strengthening the role of the Malaysian Peacekeeping Center (MPC) in building the capacity of trainers and personnel from Africa and Asia (as the largest troop contributing continents) in multidimensional peacekeeping training and operations so that they are able to better fulfil their roles and functions as peacekeeping trainers and officers in the field.
Under the project, a civil military coordination (CIMIC) module was successfully produced and utilised for training in MPC. A total of 174 participants were trained in 3 training-of-trainers courses and 4 CIMIC training courses. Most of the participants were from military back ground and from Malaysia, and a significant number from South countries (representing 26 different countries in Asia and Africa). Participants for the CIMIC courses also included civilian participants/ experts.

Due the expertise brought in from UNDP and close cooperation between UNDP and its partners, MPC has strengthened its role as an international peacekeeping training center and enabled Malaysia to play an increasing role in supporting South-South cooperation.

When Ms Mendoza, a humanitarian worker from Philippines was asked whether she has applied the knowledge and experience gained during the course in your peace keeping work CIMIC course, she said, “Yes! I have incorporated the training modules as references in my training design and lecture content in the Philippines. (I organize summer executive courses in Miriam College where I am a part time faculty, and also do volunteer trainings for Caritas Partners - Church-based social action organizations in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.)”

Ms Aman, from Afghanistan also found that that the curriculum arranged for this course was beneficial and interesting particularly as the concepts could be used within different countries and was easy to contextualize the learning’s into their own environment.Malaysia has a long and proud history of supporting UN peacekeeping operations. 

Malaysia’s first UN peacekeeping mission was to the Republic of Congo in 1960, soon after it joined the United Nations in 1957. Launched on the 50 years anniversary of Malaysian participation in peacekeeping missions, this project further accentuates the country’s strong commitment to the United Nations mission of maintaining peace and security. Since its establishment in 1996, the Centre has trained over 20,000 Malaysian military personnel who have participated in over 25 missions in more than 20 countries.


Ms Aman (second row from the bottom, standing third from the left) and the other course participants in MPCMs Aman (second row from the bottom, standing third from the left) and the other course participants in MPC | Photo: UNDP Malaysia

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