Training for UN Operations

Mandate Letter (2015): includes “leading an international effort to improve and expand the training of military and civilian personnel deployed on peace operations” (full letter)

Pledge (Vancouver): 
“Innovative Training”
“Training activities to meet systemic UN needs”
“Canadian Training and Advisory Team” (to be established)


The Canadian government is currently less well equipped to lead in training for UN peacekeeping since so few Canadian military personnel have deployed in such operations over the past two decades. In addition, the training and education within the Canadian Armed Forces on UN peacekeeping has also declined, with the number of activities less than a quarter of what they were in 2005 (see study: Dorn and Libben, Preparing for Peace? 2018, html or pdf or the longer 2015 version: htmlpdf). The closure of the Pearson Centre in 2013 left Canada without a place to train military, police and civilians together. The Peace Support Training Centre (PSTC) in Kingston devotes only a small fraction of its efforts to training for UN peace operations (1 course out of 9) and its training is done on an individual not unit level, and this training is at the tactical level. 

The Government announced on 29 May 2018 (International Day of UN Peacekeepers) financial contributions for peacekeeping training to two institutions: École de Maintien de la Paix Alioune Blondin Beye de Bamako (EMP Bamako), and Peace Operations Training Institute (POTI, US-based). Each institution was offered $1 million. This does not demonstrate international leadership but it does assist these two particular institutions financially. 

As part of the Elsie Initiative for women in peace operations, Canada is planning in the near future help train women in Zambia (police) and Ghana (military). This programme was announced in November 2017 but is has not yet started the actual training programmes. 

The United Nations was counting on Canada to provide trainers for its courses at the Regional Services Centre Entebbe (RSCE) in October 2018 but Canada did not send the promised trainers. Also, Canadian assistance to the Women’s Outreach Course of the UN Signals Academy (UNSA), located at RSCE, has not yet materialized, even though the Elsie Initiative would seem to be an ideal source of funds, given the Initiative’s goal of increasing women’s participation in peacekeeping. Canada has announced a provision of $500,000 to the UN for a Joint Operations Centre (JOC) simulation (“mock JOC”) that is planned to enhance training in Entebe. 

Conclusion: very little of the promised leadership in training has been shown. 

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