Private sector has a role in peacekeeping: IPOA

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The private sector is revolutionising international peace operations and no mission could succeed without contractors.

That is the view of Doug Brooks, President of the International Peace Operations Association (IPOA).

He told defenceWeb`s Peacekeeping Africa 2009 conference at Gallagher Estate in Midrand this morning that the West has abrogated its peace support responsibility and that while developing countries are willing to conduct such operations, the West is no longer keen to provide vital logistic and specialist support.

“The West won`t support: but he private sector will,” he says.

Brooks notes that contractor support reduces the logistical burden of peacekeepers and helps ameliorate personnel and skills shortages. Citing examples such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and Liberia, he says contractors can give peace missions durability, capability and special skill.

In addition to logistic support, contractors can perform training, intelligence, security, and post-conflict reconstruction work, including security sector reform tasks.  

Several of his audience questioned the role of contractors, saying it came close to mercenary activity and impinged on the duty of the state to provide for defence and security.   

Brooks responded that while the provision of defence and security was indeed a state function, excluding the private sector handicapped peace missions at a time people were dying and amounted to a “ruthless humanitarianism”.