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Peacebuilders and role models – Maas honours peacekeepers

Group photograph

Foreign Minister Maas, Secretary of State Vitt (Ministry of the Interior) und Secretary of State Zimmer (Ministry of Defence) and the nine German peacekeepers who were honoured for their outstanding dedication in fragile states and crisis regions, © Janine Schmitz/photothek.net

06.06.2019 - Article

From Afghanistan to Mali to Albania – nine German peacekeepers received recognition today for their work in peace missions around the world.

They train security forces in Afghanistan, protect the civilian population in Mali and serve as soldiers in UN, EU, OSCE and NATO peace missions. Peacekeepers are working around the world in fragile states and crisis regions to promote peace.

Nine peacekeepers were honoured today on behalf of the more than 3000 Germans who are members of international peace missions. In a ceremony at the Federal Foreign Office, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, State Secretary Klaus Vitt of the Federal Ministry of the Interior and State Secretary Benedikt Zimmer of the Federal Ministry of Defence officially honoured three soldiers, three police officers and three civilian experts for their commitment.

Kerstin Bartsch, Sebastian Frowein, Claudia Vollmer – civilian peacekeepers

Three civilian experts who were seconded by the Federal Federal Foreign Office are being recognised today: Kerstin Bartsch works as an advisor in the fight against human trafficking in the Niger; Sebastian Frowein is deployed to Mali as an expert on the protection of civilians; and Claudia Vollmer supports democratisation in Albania, for example by promoting women and strengthening civil society.

Multidimensional peacekeeping operations

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas speaks at the ceremony at the Federal Foreign Office
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas speaks at the ceremony at the Federal Foreign Office© Janine Schmitz/photothek.net

Civilian peacekeeping experts play a key role – because, often, conflicts can not be resolved by military means alone. Civilian aid workers cooperate closely with local actors in crisis-torn countries to help stabilise the situation, i.e. to improve security for the local population and rebuild state structures.

That is why, in most peace missions of international organisations like the United Nations, the European Union or the OSCE, military and civilian personnel work hand in hand. These days, many international peacekeeping operations, such as those of the EU or the United Nations, are multidimensional, meaning that the military, the police and civilian experts work together to secure peace, implement their mandate and address the respective conflict. In Mali, for example, the aim is to both train military personnel and police officers and rebuild reliable rule-of-law structures, so that the state can provide its citizens with better security and more government services.

ZIF – Center for International Peace Operations

In Germany, it is the Center for International Peace Operations, or ZIF, that deploys civilian experts on behalf of the German Government. The mission of ZIF is to strengthen civilian capacities for crisis prevention, conflict resolution and post-conflict peacebuilding. Its core mandate is the qualification, provision, placement and support of civilian personnel for international peace and election observation missions, including by establishing and maintaining a pool of German experts (ZIF personnel pool). At present, it seconds approximately 150 experts to peace missions as well as 300 election observers. Furthermore, ZIF drafts analyses and concepts on the topics of peacekeeping and peacebuilding.

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