Peacekeeper protection, training, and telemedicine under the spotlight at UN Symposium


The United Nations’ 6th Partnership for Technology in Peacekeeping International Symposium is scheduled to take place at the CSIR in Pretoria from 21 to 24 June and will cover a range of topics relevant to peacekeepers, from protection and training to information-driven peace operations and eco-responsibility.

The first topic up for discussion is ‘Protecting Peacekeepers’, with a working group set to discuss the threat spectrum against UN peace operations and the status of technologies currently utilised, including camp security and protection, early warning systems, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), counter-UAS systems, patrol/convoy protection, and counter improvised explosive devices (C-IED).

The discussion will present the status of efforts in these fields, identify new technology ideas that can enable peacekeepers on the ground to more effectively face current and near future threats. It will also cover transport security measures, including how to secure mobility and C-IED options, the UN said.

The second topic under the spotlight covers ‘Information-Driven Peace Operations’ and how to leverage the variety of data now available to deliver value and inform short term and more strategic decision making; how to merge the myriad of external and internal data streams; and how to integrate and standardize intuitive systems and tools.

‘Integrated Training and Capacity Building’ is another theme that will be explored. A significant output of the first Partnership for Technology in Peacekeeping symposium held in 2014 was the establishment of the UN C4ISR1 Academy for Peace Operations (UNCAP) in 2015.

“With support of partnering Member States, an Operation Centre Simulated Training Environment has been created at UNCAP in Entebbe, Uganda. A wide range of eLearning products are being developed to support technology training objectives, their adoption, and sustainability. C4ISR and camp security technology courses are now being delivered to uniformed and non-uniformed personnel with plans to expand to terrestrial radars, electronic spectrum management and cybersecurity, among others.”

The topics to be discussed in this working group will include the status of UN C4ISR Academy for Peace Operations programme; UNCAP’s current partnerships, results/impact, and gaps; UNCAP’s support requirements and opportunities; innovation in support of technology training delivery; and moving to an C4ISR integrated training concept.

The fourth topic under the microscope is ‘Eco-Responsibility’ and how the environmental impact of deployments can be mitigated through shared responsibility with troops and police contributing countries (TCC/PCC), and by enabling technology to develop smart camps that minimize the UN’s environmental footprint.

The topics to be discussed in this working group will include initiatives related to energy, fuel, water and wastewater, and environmental impact; broader strategic environmental issues, such as the potential of global and local environmental monitoring; and the role of analytics and “smart” technologies applied to peacekeeping camps and Member States’ experiences.

The final topic at the Symposium is ‘Telemedicine’, as the UN is exploring opportunities to use telemedicine to provide high quality remote medical support to eliminate the barriers of geographical distance and challenging operational contexts with limited resources.

A broad range of communications technologies can be leveraged including real-time interactive audio-video solutions, plug-and-play interoperable digital medical devices, portable ruggedized telemedicine kits and store-and-forward applications capable of streaming data using terrestrial or wireless transmission technologies. In addition, aircraft, drones and other means can be utilized to deliver medical-related goods and services.

The Symposium is open to all interested military, police and civilians from United Nations Member States and other UN partner entities, but delegates must be nominated by their organisation to participate in the symposium.

The South African Department of Defence, SA Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industries Association (AMD) and Armscor are organising an exhibition alongside the Symposium. South African companies are invited to take exhibition space and showcase local capabilities to the high-level UN gathering.

On 24 June the CSIR will also host a UN Procurement Summit, which will examine what the UN is looking for in a supplier, and how companies can best supply the UN. Key speakers are Atul Khare, Under-Secretary General for Operational Support UN Department of Operational Support, and Christian Francis Saunders, Assistant Secretary-General for Supply Chain Management.

Some of the topics under discussion at the Summit will cover doing business with the United Nations, the tender process, tips to win a tender, and aviation requirements.

To register to attend the UN Procurement Summit 2022, click here.