Minister for the Armed Forces remarks at UN Peacekeeping Ministerial

Speech by the Minister for the Armed Forces at 2023 United Nations Peacekeeping Ministerial in Accra, Ghana, 6 December 2023

The Rt Hon James Heappey MP

I want to begin by thanking Ghana for being such gracious hosts. The U.K. has been proud to work hand-in-hand with Ghana in UN peacekeeping and beyond, and we look forward to expanding that cooperation.

My thanks also to all those who have made such generous pledges so far.  Now more than ever, we must re-affirm our commitment to peacekeeping reform, and ensure that it evolves to meet the challenges of today, both in the way we form mandates, but also in the way we train and support each other for, and on, operations.

I’m proud to pledge therefore our new Enhanced Training Model. The Enhanced Training Model will complement the existing Mobile Training Team framework. Many countries are rightly proud of their significant contributions of troops and police to UN peacekeeping. It is our belief that those with the specialist capabilities to train and support those personnel should be prepared to be closer to the action, and help those countries to undertake ever more demanding roles on UN missions.  

As such, we plan to provide training and assistance to our partners where it is needed most – which means both before and during peacekeeping missions, enhancing capability and assisting mission delivery while in harm’s way. Subject to UN agreement, we look forward to our pilot programme with Malawian forces on MONUSCO next year.

We hope, with UN support, this model of mentoring and partnering will become the norm, and strengthen the capability and resilience of peacekeeping missions.

It was the UK’s pleasure to co-host a preparatory conference on countering mis- and dis-information earlier this year with our colleagues from the Netherlands, Rwanda, and Indonesia. Both malicious information warfare and a lack of military intelligence expertise can bring harm to our peacekeepers. The UK therefore pledges to seek accreditation for our British Peace Support Team in Africa to deliver military peacekeeping intelligence courses, and to fund the UN’s efforts on tackling mis- and dis-information.

Finally, it is clear that missions are more effective when they reflect the communities they serve. Earlier this year my colleague, Lord Ahmad, committed £1 million to the Elsie Fund, and today, I pledge to continue funding Elsie, the Senior Women Talent Pipeline, and to support the delivery of the Women’s Military Peace Operations course in 2024.

I want to finish by thanking our peacekeepers. I hope the pledges we make here will do justice to their bravery and sacrifice on operations all over the world.

Ministry of Defence
The Rt Hon James Heappey MP