A new report, entitled Unprepared for Peace? The Decline of Canadian Peacekeeping Training (and What to Do About It), has just been released by the Rideau Institute and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Written by Walter Dorn, Professor at the Royal Military College, and Joshua Libben, doctoral candidate at the University of Ottawa, the study identifies the need to reinstate and update the many training programmes and exercises that have been cut over the last decade, in order to restore the Canadian Armed Forces’ readiness to participate in peace operations.
Military personnel are provided with less than a quarter of the training activities for UN peace operations that they were a decade ago. For the first time ever, Canada has a generation of soldiers with no experience in peacekeeping. Says Dorn,
The complexities of modern peace operations require in-depth training and education…. With UN peace operations at an all-time high, and Canada’s contribution at an all-time low, Canada is currently lagging far behind other nations in its readiness to support the United Nations and train for modern peacekeeping.
The study recommends the reinstatement and update of the many training programmes and exercises cut over the last decade. The closure of the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre in particular was a devastating setback to Canadian preparedness, according to the authors.
The report also calls for the introduction of new training activities to reflect the fact that modern peacekeepers face significantly more dangerous environments and challenging mandates than was true for traditional peacekeeping. Particularly important is the requirement to work effectively with a variety of non-military partners in modern peace operations.
If the Liberal government is serious about renewing its leadership role in international peacekeeping, then it must re-establish a facility dedicated to the training of civilians, military, and the police for UN peace operations.
Read the full report here.
For recent press commentary on the report, click here: Canada needs to retrain military for peacekeeping: Editorial (Toronto Star, 4 Feb 2016).
See also “Peacekeeping Works Better Than You May Think”, (Roland Paris, Centre for International Policy Studies, 2 August 2014).