UNAMIB, is one of the major civilian components of the exercise. It is set up and staffed by Folke Bernadotte Academy, FBA, in collaboration with other participating civilian organizations. In charge of the UNAMIB gaming is Mika Sörensen, Chief of Staff, UNAMIB. Normally he is a Civil-Military Relations officer for FBA, and in charge of pre-deployment training for the military troops going to do Kosovo and Afghanistan. He stresses how unique it is for a UN headquarters to be a fully trained part of the exercise.
- It is in particular exciting how the UN headquarters is balanced, both with organizations, nationalities, and different levels of experience. VIKING11 is a learning experience for everyone, on every level of the exercise.
- I’m fascinated with all the talent, says Julian Harston, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, SRSG, for UNAMIB. He continues by saying that it is probably the most qualified staff he has ever had. Considering his previous experiences as an SRSG for Western Sahara, MINURSO, and Representative of the Secretary-General in Belgrade, as well as experience from positions in Haiti and East-Timor, this is to be seen as a compliment.
Commenting on UNAMIB’s role in the exercise after 180 days in to the operation in Bogaland, Mr Julian Harston says:
- UNAMIB can’t do any of the development or humanitarian work without the creation of a solid secure base. The first task is therefore to work with the military to ensure security. Meanwhile the biggest challenge is managing the expectations. We have been here for 6 months, but can’t deliver anything because of the security situation.
In a recent important meeting, the 8th Implementation Forum Platform, the SRSG sat down together with the Commander of BFOR, Force Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces Sverker Göransson and the President of Bogaland, to discuss the situation. The three parties are within the VIKING11 scenario, all trying to work together to find ways to unite the different organisations and areas of responsibilities. Julian Harston concludes:
- We are dependent on the military’s cooperation to do our work within the UN headquarter of Bogaland.