boutros-ghali foundation celebrates egyptian peacekeepers
Kemet Boutros-Ghali Foundation for Peace and Knowledge organized a webinar entitled "Egyptian Peacekeepers." This meeting celebrated Egypt's outstanding role in the international peacekeeping forces, especially the role of its military and police forces on the African continent. It also paid tribute to the memory of the 28 Egyptian martyrs who lost their lives in the line of duty over the years.
Among the distinguished speakers were Ambassador Ihab Badawi, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for Multilateral Affairs and International Security, Ambassador Mohamed Idriss, Egypt's former Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Major General Mohamed El Keshky, Retired Assistant Minister of Defense for External Relations and Senior Advisor to the Board of Trustees of Badr University, and General Amir Al Damhogy, former head of Egyptian Liaison with International Organizations. Ambassador Maged Abdel Fattah, Permanent Representative of the League of Arab States to the United Nations, Ambassador Hisham Al-Zimaity, Secretary-General of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Mohsen Al-Nomani, former Minister of Local Development, also contributed to this experts' dialogue.
Mr. Mamdouh Abbas, Chairman of the Foundation, noted that Dr. Boutros-Ghali had tackled the very notion of peacebuilding since the beginning of his mandate upon assuming the post of Secretary-General of the United Nations. He published "An Agenda for Peace," issued in June 1992, as an integrated concept on ways of resolving and then preserving world conflicts and peacebuilding, namely, procedures for dispatching United Nations forces to prevent the recurrence of conflicts.
The first peacekeeping missions began in May 1948 when the Security Council formed a small group of military observers of the International Organization for the Middle East (UNTSO), representing the international body, to monitor the armistice agreement between the Arab States and Israel.
Egypt is the seventh largest participant in peacekeeping forces. It currently participates in six peacekeeping operations in Central Africa, Mali, Sudan, South Sudan, Western Sahara, and Congo. Many disciplines have emerged among these forces over the past years because of the evolving nature of their mandated tasks. After the demand had mainly been for infantry troops, there is now a need for engineers, medical services, mobile field hospitals, logistics services, and civilians with different fields of expertise.
Egypt's role in peacekeeping forces is an integral part of its principles in support of international peace and security and its distinctive role in the African continent since its adoption of national liberation movements in Africa.
But Egypt's role is not limited to participating in peacekeeping forces, as it also contributes as rapporteur of the United Nations Peacekeeping Commission to Egypt's vision for the development of concepts of peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Egypt is also engaging through the Egyptian Centre for Conflict Resolution - which began in 2008 - in training 200 African recruits per year, providing advice and recommendations for better performance and trying to resolve conflicts, not just manage them, as well as developing peacekeeping policies and leading negotiating paths to ending the conflict. The latter is known as the "Cairo peacekeeping roadmap," an Egyptian and African contribution.
The presence of peacekeeping forces is not a substitute for a solution to the original conflict, especially since those areas now suffer from the presence of security companies or so-called "non-governmental actors," who are playing roles unfavorable to security in those areas. Peacebuilding must be an integrated framework in which State institutions must be supported beyond the peacekeeping forces' exit so as not to fall again.
On May 30 each year, the United Nations celebrates its peacekeeping forces, which now employ more than 1 million men and women under the international organization's banner in 72 peacekeeping operations in regional conflict and civil war areas. Funding, most of which is carried out by members of the United Nations Security Council, amounts to approximately $6.5 billion, which is twice the budget of the United Nations itself. This situation has often caused developed countries to refrain from lending their troops, which leaves it up to developing states and their regional organizations to contribute their personnel in the fields of conflict.