Seoul, 8 December 2021(TDI): The 2021 Seoul UN Peacekeeping Ministerial Conference is being hosted in Seoul, South Korea. It’s a two-day event in a hybrid format. This is the first time that an Asian country is hosting the conference.
2021 Seoul UN Peacekeeping Ministerial Conference
The conference was initially scheduled to proceed in an in-person format. However, South Korea chose to host it in a hybrid format amid rising fears of the omicron COVID-19 strain. The conference coincides with the celebration of the 30th anniversary of South Korea’s accession to the UN.
The conference aims to serve as a platform to augment the collective commitment of the international community for establishing sustainable peace in conflict-laden parts of the world.
It’s official, the 2021 Seoul UN #PKMinisterial is underway! UN Peacekeeping is a truly global partnership. For the next two days, Member States will pledge resources, in line with #A4P+, to enable peacekeepers to continue to help countries transitioning from conflict to peace. pic.twitter.com/Ooc6jwJV1E
— UN Peacekeeping (@UNPeacekeeping) December 7, 2021
The theme of the Peacekeeping Ministerial is Technology and Medical Capacity Building. Foreign And Defense Ministers as well as other officials from approximately 150 countries and related international organizations attended the event.
The event consists of remarks by UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres and remarks by the Foreign Minister, Chung Eui-yong, and Defense Minister, Suh Wook of South Korea. The two co-hosted the meeting.
The key session included four major themes; partnerships, training, and capacity building, sustaining peace, protection of civilians and safety and security, and performance and accountability.
The themes are the embodiment of the Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative. The A4P initiative was launched by Antonio Guterres, in 2018, to enlist the support of the international community for the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations (PKO).
South Korea’s Peacekeeping Missions
Ever since South Korea became a member of the UN, it has contributed to the PKO operations. South Korea sent a military unit to Somalia on its first peacekeeping mission, in 1993. Presently, 520 South Korean people are serving in five UN PKO missions, as of August. These missions are stationed in Lebanon and South Sudan.
South Korea has steadily worked to foster perpetual peace on the Korean Peninsula. In addition, the country has unwaveringly endeavored to embrace a key role to stabilize the situation in Africa, the Middle East, and other conflict zones.
— ROK_UN🇰🇷 (@ROK_Mission) December 7, 2021
During this year’s UN Peacekeeping Ministerial, South Korea announced the Seoul Initiative. The initiative aims to support the medical and technological capacity of UN PKO operations.
South Korea pledged to build smart camps for the PKO and it will build IT and smart city technology as well, to build a network for peacekeeping troops and their facilities. Moreover, it will donate one million US dollars.
The UN peacekeepers strive to prevent conflicts, protect civilians and strengthen security. Presently, due to the prevalent changes, peace has morphed from the conventional realm to non-conventional technological.
Foreign Minister of South Korea Chung Eui-yong at the Conference
by H.E. Chung Eui-yong
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea
2021 Seoul UN Peacekeeping Ministerial
December 7, 2021 pic.twitter.com/PdbwJSjXFM
— MOFA (@MOFAkr_eng) December 8, 2021
The Foreign Minister of South Korea, Chung Eui-yong, and the Defense Minister, Suh Wook underscored the need to restore peace on the Korean peninsula, during the conference. South Korea hopes that the efforts will end the 68 year-long ceasefire with a peace declaration.
The Korean government has been pushing for the declaration of a formal end to the Korean War, that will involve the two Koreas, the US, and China.
Remarks of President Moon Jae-in
South Korean President Moon Jae-in also addressed the 2021 Seoul UN Peacekeeping Ministerial conference. He called on the international community to support Korea’s efforts to declare a formal end to the Korean War.
The 2021 Seoul #PKMinisterial is a critical moment for Member States to reaffirm support to @UN peacekeeping. As host of the conference, the President of the Republic of Korea 🇰🇷 underlined his country’s commitment to peace & security around the 🌍. @TheBlueHouseKR @moonriver365 pic.twitter.com/SHMAFb1xdQ
— UN Peacekeeping (@UNPeacekeeping) December 8, 2021
According to him, the end-of-war declaration was the first step to restore peace on the Korean Peninsula. Eventually, the decision will lead to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
Moon Jae enunciated that such a step will restore peace on the Korean Peninsula, create a new order of cooperation and reconciliation as well as establish peace in Northeast Asia. He said that hopefully, the international community will join the cause.
Furthermore, he pledged to do more for the UN PKO operations to help war-torn nations around the world. Additionally, Korea will dispatch more medical personnel to the nation’s peacekeeping units as well as provide more equipment to UN peacekeeping operations around the globe.
Remarks of South Korea’s Defense Minister at the Conference
Suh Wook, South Korea’s Defense Minister further elaborated on the country’s commitment to contribute to the UN PKO missions. This would entail 16 500MD helicopters for operations in Africa along with an additional 1 million US dollars to the peacekeeping trust fund.
Appreciation for Korea on hosting 2021 UN Peacekeeping Ministerial Conference
Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the Undersecretary-General for Peace Operations also attended the 2021 Seoul UN Peacekeeping Ministerial Conference. During the meeting, he met with the Ministers of Defense & Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea. He appreciated Korea’s peacekeeping contributions.
Pleasure to meet Ministers of Defense & Foreign Affairs of Republic of Korea at Seoul #PKMinisterial. Thanked them for exceptional support & pledges to @UNPeacekeeping. Look forward to continuing working with them & all partners to strengthen our work & meet challenges thru #A4P pic.twitter.com/FIHwFoKnwB
— Jean-Pierre Lacroix (@Lacroix_UN) December 7, 2021
Tobias Pietz, the Deputy Head of Analysis at the Zentrum für Internationale Friedenseinsätze (ZIF) also participated in the conference and appreciated Korea’s decision to host it in a hybrid format.
— Tobias Pietz (@tobias_pietz) December 7, 2021
Susanne Baumann, the Commissioner for Disarmament and Arms Control and DG for International Order, the UN, and Arms Control also lauded South Korea.
Grateful to @MOFAkr_eng for virtually convening 2021 #PKMinisterial in 🇰🇷, Seoul. 🇩🇪 is delighted to pledge material, medical capacities&trainings – in line with our role as #A4P Champion. We remain a firm supporter of @UNPeacekeeping. Follow the debate at https://t.co/BQsvxsHFHg
— Susanne Baumann (@GERMANYonUN) December 7, 2021
Alexander Kh, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia also participated in the peace event. He commented that such endeavors will help to enhance international peace.
Glad to participate in very important two-day 2021 🇰🇷 UN #PKMinisterial hosted virtually by the Republic of Korea. Excellent opportunity for member states to once again enhance international peace and security worldwide 🌎 pic.twitter.com/7FiOB7pDm0
— AlexanderKh (@AlKhvtis) December 7, 2021