What exactly is UN Peacekeeping?🪖
[Issue #13] We all must have heard about UN Peacekeepers at some point! Today, we dive deep into their operations, learn about the top personnel and funding contributors, and their current missions!
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Since its inception in 1948, the United Nations Peacekeeping (UNPKO) has played a pivotal role in maintaining international peace and security. UNPKO operations have been deployed to over 70 countries across five continents, helping to stabilize conflict-ridden regions, protect civilians, and create the conditions for sustainable peace.
Today, we dive deep into UN Peacekeeping Operations!
The role of UN Peacekeeping
UNPKO's primary function is to assist host countries in creating the necessary conditions for sustainable peace. This involves a wide range of tasks, including:
Monitoring and observing ceasefires and peace agreements
Protecting civilians and humanitarian workers
Disarming and demobilizing former combatants
Supporting the establishment of rule of law and security institutions
Promoting human rights and reconciliation
Here are some of the many successful missions UNPKO have conducted:
ONUMOZ successfully facilitated the peace process in Mozambique, helping to end a protracted civil war. The mission oversaw the implementation of a peace agreement between the government and the rebel forces, monitored the ceasefire, and supervised the disarmament and demobilization of combatants.
UNAMSIL played a crucial role in bringing an end to the civil war in Sierra Leone. The mission helped to disarm rebel forces, provided support for the reintegration of ex-combatants, and contributed to the restoration of peace and stability.
UNTAET was established to oversee the transition of East Timor to independence after a period of violent unrest. The mission successfully facilitated the political process leading to the establishment of East Timor as an independent nation.
UNMIL played a significant role in stabilizing Liberia after years of civil conflict. The mission helped to disarm and demobilize former combatants, supported the peace process, and contributed to the rebuilding of the country's institutions.
UNOCI contributed to the stabilization of Ivory Coast by supporting the implementation of peace agreements, overseeing disarmament efforts, and assisting in the organization of elections. The mission played a crucial role in bringing an end to the post-election crisis in 2011.
As of October 2023, the United Nations has 12 peacekeeping missions in operation around the world. These missions are deployed to a variety of conflict-affected countries, and their mandates are tailored to the specific needs of each situation.
Some of the key ongoing missions include:
MINURSO (United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara): This mission has been in place since 1991 to monitor the ceasefire between Morocco and the Polisario Front, and to organize a referendum on the future of Western Sahara.
MINUSCA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic): This mission was deployed in 2014 to protect civilians and support the stabilization of the Central African Republic following a period of violence and instability.
MINUSMA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali): This mission was deployed in 2013 to support the implementation of the peace agreement in Mali and to protect civilians.
MONUSCO (United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo): This mission has been in place since 1999 to protect civilians, support the disarmament of armed groups, and promote peace and stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
UNDOF (United Nations Disengagement Observer Force): This mission has been in place since 1974 to monitor the ceasefire between Israel and Syria on the Golan Heights.
UNFICYP (United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus): This mission has been in place since 1964 to maintain peace and stability in Cyprus following a conflict between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities.
UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon): This mission has been in place since 2006 to monitor the ceasefire between Israel and Lebanon, and to support the Lebanese Armed Forces in the south of the country.
UNISFA (United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei): This mission was deployed in 2011 to monitor the ceasefire between Sudan and South Sudan in the Abyei region.
UNMIK (United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo): This mission has been in place since 1999 to administer Kosovo following the withdrawal of Serbian forces.
UNMISS (United Nations Mission in South Sudan): This mission was deployed in 2011 to protect civilians and support the peace process in South Sudan following a period of violence and instability.
UNMOGIP (United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan): This mission has been in place since 1949 to monitor the ceasefire between India and Pakistan in the Kashmir region.
UNTSO (United Nations Truce Supervision Organization): This mission has been in place since 1948 to monitor the ceasefire agreements between Israel and its neighboring countries
Contributors to UN Peacekeeping
There are two major type of contributions a country can make towards UN Peacekeeping operations - Personnel and Financial. The top contributors for both of these are visualized in the graphic.
However, it seems clear that there are certainly more personnel contributors from developing countries then from the developed ones. Why is this?
Well, there are a variety of reasons, but the major ones are -
Many developing countries, especially those in conflict-prone regions, recognize the importance of regional stability. Contributing troops to UN peacekeeping missions aligns with the goal of promoting peace and security within their own regions.
Recognition and prestige
Contributing troops to UN peacekeeping missions allows developing countries to play a role in international affairs and demonstrate their commitment to global peace and security. It can enhance their diplomatic standing and contribute to a positive international image.
Participating in peacekeeping missions can provide economic benefits to contributing countries. The UN reimburses troop-contributing countries for the costs associated with deploying and maintaining their personnel in the missions. This financial support can be attractive for countries facing economic challenges.
The UN peacekeeping operations is largely seen as a force for good as it has helped in reducing civilian casualties, promoting peace agreements, supporting post-conflict reconstruction and protecting human rights. However, as with every government/political/public organization, UNPKO also has its fair share of challenges, primarily related to -
Limited resources and mandates: UN peacekeeping missions are often underfunded and understaffed, which can limit their effectiveness. Additionally, the mandates of UN peacekeeping missions are sometimes unclear or unrealistic, which can make it difficult for peacekeepers to achieve their goals.
Lack of political will: The success of UN peacekeeping missions often depends on the political will of the Security Council members. If there is not enough support for a peacekeeping mission, it is unlikely to be successful.
Mistakes and misconduct: UN peacekeeping missions have been criticized for making mistakes and committing misconduct, such as sexual exploitation and abuse. These incidents have damaged the reputation of UN peacekeeping and made it more difficult for the UN to deploy peacekeeping missions.
Well, despite its challenges, UN peacekeeping remains an essential tool for maintaining international peace and security. The UN has a long and successful history of peacekeeping, and its peacekeepers have made a significant contribution to the prevention of conflict and the promotion of peace around the world.
… and that’s our Insight Scoop for this week!
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