#PK70: 7 Things you (probably) didn't know about peacekeeping

28 May 2018

#PK70: 7 Things you (probably) didn't know about peacekeeping


On 29 May, the United Nations celebrate 70 years of peacekeeping operations. Led by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), peacekeeping operations help create the conditions for sustained peace in countries torn by conflict. But how does a new operation start? And what is the role of the UN Security Council and the General Assembly? Learn 7 facts about the history of UN peacekeeping operations.


#1More than 1 million Blue Helmets

Over the past 70 years, more than more than 1 million men and women have served under the UN flag in more than 70 UN peacekeeping operations. More than 100,000 military, police and civilian personnel from 125 countries currently serve in 14 peacekeeping operations, including 1 275 police offers and 351 civilians in Haiti with MINUJUSTH.


#2 Multidimensional Peacekeeping

In the early years, UN Peacekeeping’s goals were primarily limited to maintaining ceasefires and stabilizing situations on the ground so that efforts could be made at the political level to resolve the conflict by peaceful means. Those missions consisted of military observers and lightly armed troops with monitoring, reporting and confidence-building roles in support of ceasefires and limited peace agreements.

Over the years, UN Peacekeeping has adapted to meet the demands of different conflicts and a changing political landscape. Today's multidimensional peacekeeping operations are called upon not only to maintain peace and security but also to facilitate the political processes, protect civilians, disarm combatants, support elections, protect and promote human rights and restore the rule of law.


#3 14 per cent of Civilians

While most peacekeepers are serving military or police, 14 per cent are civilians who perform a wide range of functions, from serving as the civilian leadership of the mission to working in the areas of political and civil affairs, human rights, elections, strategic communications, IT, logistics, transport and administration and more.


#4 Women AND Blue Helmets

Women peacekeepers today play an increasingly prominent role and are crucial towards improving the performance of our missions. They serve as police officers, troops, pilots, military observers, and other uniformed and civilian posts, including in command positions.


#5 How to lauch an operation?

As a conflict develops, worsens, or approaches resolution, the UN is frequently involved in a number of consultations to determine the best response by the international community. During this initial phase the UN Secretary-General may request a strategic assessment to identify all possible options for UN engagement. As soon as security conditions permit, the Secretariat usually deploys a technical assessment mission to the country or territory where the deployment of a UN Peacekeeping operation is envisaged.

Based on the findings and recommendations of the assessment mission, the UN Secretary-General will issue a report to the Security Council. If the Security Council determines that deploying a UN Peacekeeping operation is the most appropriate step to take, it will formally authorize this by adopting a resolution. The resolution sets out the operation’s mandate and size, and details the tasks it will be responsible for performing. The Security Council determines the deployment of a new UN Peacekeeping operation.


#6 Investing in Peacekeeping

While decisions about establishing, maintaining or expanding a peacekeeping operation are taken by the Security Council, the financing of UN Peacekeeping operations is the collective responsibility of all UN Member States. Every Member State is legally obligated to pay their respective share towards peacekeeping. The General Assembly apportions peacekeeping expenses based on a special scale of assessments under a complex formula that Member States themselves have established.


#7 Peacekeeping in constant adaptation

In the 70 years of its existence, UN Peacekeeping has evolved significantly as a tool of international crisis response. It has proven to be an essential instrument for global peace and security over the years. Our 14 peacekeeping operations around the world today illustrate the wide range of mechanisms, strategies and resources that the United Nations marshals in support of peace and security. Our operations are constantly evolving to adapt to new challenges to peace and security around the world.