In 2004, President Bush announced the launch of an ambitious new program, the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI), to support training of 75,000 foreign peacekeepers worldwide by 2010, primarily in Africa. Announced at the G8 Summit in Sea Island, Georgia, the program was described as an effort “to help bring stability and security to troubled regions, with an initial focus on the continent of Africa.” As early as 2002, the G8 nations had recognized an exponential growth in demand for peacekeepers, and crafted an Africa Action Plan. GPOI was aimed at increasing the supply of available and well-trained troops for deployment to UN-led and regional peace operations, especially in light of the surge in demand for such forces. Indeed, in sub-Saharan Africa alone, the demand grew from roughly 31,000 peacekeepers in 2002, to nearly 65,000 by 2006.
This issue brief describes the impetus for GPOI’s creation; examines how the program is structured, organized and integrated with similar international training initiatives; analyzes some of its central challenges; and finally, offers recommendations for enhancing GPOI’s effectiveness.
This Issue Brief was produced in conjunction with the above workshop. The even was one of six held as part of Stimson’s series, A Better Partnership for African Peace Operations, made possible by a generous grant from the United States Institute of Peace. The series examined progress, challenges, and potential steps forward in expanding national, regional, and international capacity to lead and participate in peace operations in Africa. The six issue briefs produced in conjunction with this project provide background and analytical context for the insights gained through the Better Partnership workshops. Each brief also highlights workshop findings and identifies recommendations for the US, UN, regional organizations, and policymakers.