- 「Seoul Initiative」 on Technology and Medical Capacity Building in UN Peacekeeping Announced –
1. The 2021 Seoul UN Peacekeeping Ministerial, scheduled for two days on Dec. 7-8, kicked off with an opening ceremony on Tuesday evening, Dec. 7. The opening ceremony launched with a congratulatory video message from President Moon Jae-in, followed by a video message from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and opening remarks by Minister of Foreign Affairs Chung Eui-yong and Minister of National Defense Suh Wook. The two ministers welcomed the participants joining the Ministerial and urged the member states’ commitment to strengthening UN peacekeeping operations.
- The opening ceremony held at Grand Hyatt Seoul was attended by the three Under-Secretaries-General* visiting Korea for the Ministerial, officials from the co-chairing countries of the Seoul Ministerial, and Korean peacekeepers with experience in field missions.
* Mr. Jean-Pierre Lacroix of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Mr. Atul Khare of the UN Department of Operational Support, and Ms. Catherine Pollard of the UN Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance
2. President Moon, through his video message, reiterated humanity’s earnest wish for peace and the commitment to establishing peace in Korea, which transformed from a recipient country to a significant donor country for the first time in history. He pledged that Korea will actively contribute to improving technology and medical capacity building for UN peacekeepers in pursuit of more safe and effective peacekeeping operations.
- President Moon also hoped that Korea would be able to make greater contribution to building peace and preventing conflicts by becoming a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2024-25 term. He went on to request support from the international community in declaring the end of the Korean War, as the first step towards peace and denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.
3. Secretary-General Guterres introduced the UN’s efforts in building stronger, safer, and more effective peacekeeping through the Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) and Action for Peacekeeping Plus (A4P+) initiatives and expressed support for enhancing “Technology and Medical Capacity Building,” the main theme of the Seoul Ministerial. He also urged member states’ contribution to strengthening peacekeeping, including providing aviation assets, building partnerships, improving accountability, expanding women’s role, etc.
4. Foreign Minister Chung said, “Being a beneficiary of the UN’s assistance, Korea is proud to be a staunch supporter of UN peacekeeping activities, the 10th largest financial contributor, and the host of the Ministerial.” He added, “I hope our strong message for peace in Korea will resonate with others where conflict is still ongoing and give them hope that a peaceful and prosperous future is within reach.”
- Minister Chung said, based on shared solidarity and commitment, “I invite the participating delegates to make strong, concrete, and practical pledges to create peacekeeping that is stronger and fit for the future.”
- He also said, “peace is not free,” and emphasized the importance of “bringing an end to the Armistice and replacing it with a more permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.”
5. National Defense Minister Suh, through his opening remarks, said that Korea supports the UN’s efforts in maximizing the efficiency of peacekeeping, and the member states’ pledges will be a driving force for peace and prosperity. He added that Korea will take this Ministerial as an opportunity to present concrete pledges, such as providing a UN Smart Camp model and helicopter assets, to lead global peace initiatives.
6. Meanwhile, the Korean government announced the「Seoul Initiative」on Technology and Medical Capacity Building in Peacekeeping, the main theme of this year’s Ministerial in Seoul.
- Foreign Minister Chung said that the Korean government will be playing a leading role in equipping UN peacekeepers with advanced technologies and medical capacity to help them cope with the current and future threats. He also asked the international community for interest in and support for the Initiative.
※ The「Seoul Initiative on Technology and Medical Capacity Building in Peacekeeping」 identifies 9 priority areas in peacekeeping technologies and medical capacity building that demand member states’ commitment and contribution and urges their support in those areas.
7. The 2021 Seoul UN Peacekeeping Ministerial, held for two days on Dec. 7-8, stages a total of four sessions, two sessions each day. Each session has an agenda* for discussion, and the members of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C34) will continue presenting their pledges to enhance UN peacekeeping.
※ ▴ Sustaining Peace, ▴ Partnerships, Training and Capacity Building
▴ Performance and Accountability, ▴ Protection of Civilians and Safety and Security