United Nations Peacekeeping

Context: The Defence Minister of India has called for innovative approaches and enhanced cooperation among responsible nations to ensure the safety & effectiveness of United Nations (UN) Peacekeepers. He was addressing a special commemorative seminar, organised by the Indian Army, to celebrate 75 years of UN Peacekeeping, in New Delhi. He also stressed on the need to invest more in training, technology, and resources for their safety and productivity.

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About UN Peacekeeping

  • United Nations Peacekeeping is an essential part of the United Nation’s efforts to maintain international peace and security. It is a unique instrument developed by the UN to help countries torn by conflict create the conditions for lasting peace.
  • The primary purpose of missions is to facilitate the implementation of peace agreements, protect civilians, promote human rights, and support the political and peacebuilding processes in post-conflict societies. 
  • Peacekeeping operations are deployed to areas where armed conflict has recently ceased or where the threat of renewed conflict exists.
  • Peacekeeping missions can include tasks such as monitoring ceasefires, facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid, promoting human rights, supporting the disarmament and demobilization of former combatants, and helping to rebuild institutions and governance structures.
  • It is guided by three basic principles:
  • Consent of the parties;
  • Impartiality;
  • Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate.

Structure of UN Peacekeeping

  • United Nations Security Council has the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. It authorizes the establishment of peacekeeping missions, determines their mandates, and decides on the deployment of peacekeepers.
  • Department of Peace Operations (DPO) is responsible for the overall planning, management, and coordination of UN peacekeeping missions. It is headed by the Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations.
  • Peacekeeping missions typically consist of military, police, and civilian personnel from contributing countries.
  • Special Representatives of the Secretary-General (SRSGs) are appointed by the Secretary-General to lead peacekeeping missions and serve as his/her representatives on the ground. SRSGs have overall authority and responsibility for the mission’s implementation and coordination.

Financing of UN Peacekeeping

  • The financing of United Nations Peacekeeping operations is a collective responsibility shared by all member states of the United Nations. The expenses of peacekeeping missions are funded through the UN’s regular budget and assessed contributions from member states.
  • The peacekeeping budget is separate from the UN’s regular budget and is based on the estimated costs of individual missions.
  • The UN also relies on voluntary contributions from member states and regional organisations to support peacekeeping activities.

Deployment of UN Peacekeeping

  • Peacekeeping is flexible and over the past two decades has been deployed in many configurations. There are currently 12 UN peacekeeping operations deployed on continents: Africa, Asia, and Europe.
  • For Example: 
  • United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) – Africa
  • UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) – Africa
  • UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) – Africa
  • UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) – Africa
  • UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) – Africa
  • UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) – Asia
  • UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) – Africa
  • UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) – Europe
  • UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) – Europe
  • UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) – Middle East
  • UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) – Middle East
  • UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) – Africa

India and UN Peacekeeping

  • India has a rich legacy of contribution to UN Peacekeeping operations and is one of the largest contributors of troops. Indian peacekeepers have served in various missions worldwide, including in countries such as Congo, South Sudan, Lebanon, Cyprus, Haiti, and many others.
  • It has contributed approximately 2.75 lakh troops to peacekeeping missions so far and making us the largest contributor to UN peacekeeping efforts, both in terms of personnel and resources
  • The first commitment was in Korea in 1950. 
  • India has actively supported the inclusion and deployment of female peacekeepers for example female engagement teams in the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in Congo (MONUSCO) and UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), besides women staff officers and military observers.

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