Statement by Mr. Lamin M. Manneh, UN RC, on the occasion of the Opening of Peace Support Operations Logistic course Nyakinama, 31 August 2015

Sep 1, 2015

* Nyakubahwa, the Director General of Foreign Military Relations and Cooperation, Brigadier General Andrew Rwigamba, representing the Minister of Defense; 

* Mr. Tomio SAKAMOTO, Chargé d'Affaires, Embassy of Japan in Rwanda; 

* Representative of the Director of the Rwanda Peace Academy

* Army and Police Commanders here Present, 

* My dear Colleagues from the UN Family, 

* Distinguished trainers and facilitators, 

* Distinguished participants, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

* All protocols observed. 

Mbere na mbere nagira ngo mbasuhuze. MWARAMUTSE NEZA? First of all, Good Morning, Bonjour. 

To the participants that have come from abroad to attend this important training course, I say “MURAKAZA NEZA MU RWANDA. Welcome to Rwanda, the Country of a Thousand Hills! 

It gives me great pleasure and honour to be here today to make these brief remarks on behalf of the UN Family on this important occasion. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me at the outset express my sincere appreciation and gratitude to the Government of Rwanda for organizing this regional training and for Associating the One UN. My appreciation also goes to the Embassy of Japan, here represented by Mr. Sakamoto, for not only supporting this event, but also gracing the event with their presence. Mr. Sakamoto, kindly convey my warmest gratitude and regards to your Ambassador. 

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, 

This training is timely as African Countries are more and more involved in Peace Keeping Operations. The course is of utmost importance as it will provide military, police and civilian personnel serving, or about to enter service in United Nations peacekeeping missions, with an increased awareness of accepted peacekeeping logistics doctrine, policies and procedures. 

As we all know, logistics is at the center of all UN peace keeping missions. It often refers to the art of transporting, housing, supplying and providing technical support to military troops and it covers also covers not only the needs of the military and police units, but also related civilian personnel originating from about 189 different countries and widely diverse cultures. It also covers key areas such as finances, supplies, transportation, technical support and housing needs, as well as administrative, communications, engineering and aviation services. 

All this long list shows how important and crucial is logistics in peace keeping missions as it touches on all aspects of peace keeping. Your presence here today is therefore a reflection of your Governments’ commitment to peace keeping operations through capacity building of their staff. I have no doubt that at the completion of this training, with the skills and knowledge you will gain, you will go back home to your countries, ready to embark on peace keeping operations. 

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, 

The choice of Rwanda to host training sessions on peace building, peace keeping and conflict prevention is indeed justifiable in many respects: 

First, His Excellency President Paul Kagame has personally committed to supporting peace keeping missions under the mandate of the United Nations. He has expressed at many occasions that what happened in Rwanda in 1994 should not happen anyway in the world. When the lives of civilians are at stake, we all have a supreme responsibility to act. He recently said and I quote: “What we can do as the international community is work to create a secure enabling environment, while ensuring that the necessity to protect civilians does not get lost in ideological debates. Building on that, we can provide other necessary support”. We should all understand that peace keeping operations are all about protecting civilians, and Africa is lucky to have leaders that that have such insights. 

Second, Rwanda is one of the few countries in Africa that have demonstrated local ownership in peace building through the use of local institutions such as the gacaca, ingando (solidarity camps) and abunzi (mediators), among others, to address post-conflict transitional justice, reconciliation and grassroots mediation of local disputes. These innovations together with the root and branch reform of 

the security sector, judicial system and other key institutions have led to one of few post-conflict development success stories to date. This is all the more remarkable given the traumatic legacy of genocide and total destruction of key institutions of governance in 1994. 

Third, the Rwanda Peace Academy is in an exceptional position to document and share these experiences with other countries facing similar post-conflict development challenges. In fact, while there are peacekeeping institutions of repute in Africa, the courses offered generally tend to be military-oriented and do not address the multi-dimensional nature of peacebuilding or the diversity of its actors. The Rwanda Peace Academy aims to fill this niche by offering training and research programs relevant to the conflict management challenges in Africa, that draw on Rwanda’s innovative peace building policies and practices at home as well as significant contributions to international peace support operations abroad, combined with international best practice. 

Fourth, Rwanda has demonstrated strong commitment to Peace Keeping Missions in the world. As you are all aware, Rwanda is currently the 5th biggest contributor to peace keeping operations after Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Ethiopia, with a total of 5,575 personnel, including the police, military experts and troops. In fact, Rwanda has contributed in total over 36,000 military personnel in deployment and rotation as well as 2000 police officers to 16 missions around the world. This is indeed admirable. 

Distinguished participants, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

At this point, I would like to particularly commend these efforts by Rwanda to contribute to global peace and security. I also wish to congratulate the Rwanda Peace Academy for the fantastic work done by since its establishment in 2008. We have noted that the Rwanda Peace Academy (RPA) was established to 

become an educational, training and research institution working in the field of peacekeeping training with a specialty in post conflict recovery and peace building. It was meant to become a centre of excellence for capacity building and research in peace building and conflict prevention. 

Ladies and gentlemen, 

As we start this training on Peace Support Operations Logistic course, we are also celebrating the strong partnerships between the Government of Rwanda, the Government of Japan and the One UN Rwanda. As I said earlier, the Government of Japan was the main contributor to the establishment of Rwanda Peace Academy back in 2008. A part from the infrastructure support to the Rwanda Peace Academy, the Government of Japan also supported capacity building efforts as well as public relations. 

This partnership remains strong, we are pleased that a new phase of capacity building support started this year. This new phase which we are launching officially today, builds on the gains from the previous phase, which has laid down the foundations for the Rwanda Peace Academy. We are grateful to the Government of Japan for their strong commitment to global peace and security, an in particular the continued partnership with the Rwanda Peace Academy. 

Distinguished participants, Allow me to quote the UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, who recently said and I quote: “At the heart of the Charter is a commitment to the prevention of armed conflict through the peaceful settlement of disputes and the protection of human rights. Collective security is the core purpose of the Organization”. This statement, even though referring to the core mandate of the United Nations, also explains the reason why you are here. You are here for collective security, you are here because you are committed – and your countries are committed- to the prevention and management of armed conflicts. 

As I conclude I would like to salute once again the dedicated leadership and strong commitment of the Government of Rwanda towards peace and security in Africa and around the world. The UN system in Rwanda will continue to work with the government, development partners and civil society organisations, to ensure sustainable peace and security in conflicts prone areas, and to create an environment conducive for sustainable development. 

I would like to conclude my remarks by this quote from one of the old Chinese thinker and social philosopher, Confucius, who said “Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure". I am confident that this training will prepare you to be successful in peace support operations, in particular in peace support logistics. I sincerely wish you very fruitful training. 

Thank you very much for your kind attention. 

Murakoze Cyane, Merci Beaucoup, Asante.

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