The meeting, in the framework of the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+), was co-chaired by Senior Colonel Mac Duc Trong, Deputy Director of the Vietnam Department of Peacekeeping Operations (VNDPKO) and Head of Vietnam’s Expert Group on peacekeeping operations, and his Japanese counterpart Ms. Matsuzawa Tomoko.

An overview of the event

The event in Hanoi was also attended by representatives from the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense’s functional agencies, the UN Development Program in Vietnam, the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), defense attaché offices of the ADMM+ member countries in Vietnam. Representatives from the ASEAN Secretariat, groups of experts of ADMM+ members and speakers from the UN headquarters attended the event online.

At the virtual meeting, delegates reviewed the outcomes of the third cycle, and discussed a working plan for the fourth cycle, the subject on women’s participation in peacekeeping operations, as well as challenges in dealing with issues related sexual violence, woman exploitation, and woman abuse.

The event takes place in Hanoi

In her speech, Ms. Matsuzawa Tomoko expressed her belief that discussions at the event would actively contribute to realizing each country’s commitments to UN peacekeeping operations. “Japan, as co-chair, is firmly committed over the next three years to striving to make this cycle a beneficial and productive one for all member states,” she stressed.

Addressing the event, Senior Colonel Mac Duc Trong said that although many ADMM+ members are big financial contributors and large troop providers for UN peacekeeping operations, they still have little cooperation mechanism to support each other on peacekeeping operations.

Trong added that through this online meeting, Vietnam, as the other co-chair next to Japan, wishes to make the most of the outcomes of the previous meetings to develop a sound working plan for the fourth cycle and bolster cooperation among ADMM+ members in peacekeeping operations through the meeting’s agenda.

He also hopes that this meeting would create conditions for participants to exchange views, share information, and join hands to address operational limitations in UN peacekeeping operations and challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As one of the initiatives launched at the meeting, Vietnam and Japan decided to establish a women, peace, and security (WPS) platform in the fourth cycle, and encourage member states to actively share experience in the field.

According to Vietnamese officer Mac Duc Trong, the COVID-19 pandemic has left long-term economic and political consequences to UN peacekeeping operations. In fact, a number of in-person training and online conferences on peacekeeping activities have been postponed or cancelled as the consequences of COVID-19.

Therefore, according to Trong, the organization of this virtual meeting demonstrates great efforts of both Vietnam and Japan to sustain the momentum of theEWG on peacekeeping operations.

This is the first event of the EWG on peacekeeping operations, the fourth cycle. It shows that Vietnam has actively and proactively fulfilled its dual role as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council and co-chair of the event. It also affirms Vietnam’s role, prestige, position, and strong commitment to multilateral cooperation mechanisms on peacekeeping operations.

Translated by Mai Huong