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Peacekeeping operations

The United Nations contribute to international peace and security by setting up peacekeeping operations. These operations are implemented by the Security Council under the command of the Secretary-General. Decisions on funding for peacekeeping operations are taken by the General Assemby.

Characteristics of a peacekeeping operation

Every peacekeeping operation is unique, but

  • all peacekeeping operations are set up only with the consent of the parties to the conflict
  • the parties are consulted about the countries which will contribute troops to the operation
  • the operation must not interfere in the internal affairs of the host countries and must not favour any party against another
  • the peacekeepers have no right of enforcement and the use of force is limited to self-defence as a last resort
  • no operation can be established without a broad consensus within the international community. The Security Council gives the mandate of the operation
  • the military personnel who serve in peacekeeping operations are provided by Member States on a voluntary basis
  • all operations pass under the command of the Secretary-General
  • all operations are set up to assist in controlling and solving international conflicts, or, to a greater extent, internal conflict with an international dimension.

How does a peacekeeping operation start?

Most operations are established and implemented by the Security Council - the UN organ with primary responsibility for peace and international security. The Council determines

  1. the size of the operation
  2. the aim
  3. the time frames.

The troops serve under UN operational command, but the peacekeepers remain members of their respective armed forces as the United Nations does not have an army. Under the present structure, it can take considerable time for the actual forces to be authorized and reach their destination.

The Council may also authorize regional organizations to undertake peacekeeping tasks when it is not appropriate for the United Nations to be directly involved.

Current Peacekeeping Operations by United Nations

Past UN Peacekeeping operations

More on UN Peacekeeping

  • United Nations Peacekeeping lists all peacekeeping operations. Information about current and past operations, contributors of military and civilian police personnel, maps and full text documentation.
  • Women, peace and security. UN Peacekeeping and gender issues.

Official Records

Historical surveys

Historical surveys will be found in several compilations and handbooks:

United Nations Peacekeeping Forces was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 1988.

UN documents and publications in catalogues and databases

  • United Nations Digital Library. UN official documents and open access publications, UN maps, UN voting data and speeches.
  • UN iLibrary. UN publications online covering different topics.
  • ODS. UN documents published from 1993 onward and scanned documents published between 1946 and 1993 in the official languages of the UN.
  • Daily list of documents (ODS). Documents published for the day, with full text links, can be found in the United Nations full text database ODS.
  • UNBIS Thesaurus is a multilingual database of the controlled vocabulary used to describe UN documents.
  • Index to proceedings is an annual bibliographic guide to the proceedings and documentation of the major UN organs. The index includes:
    • a list of all documents
    • a comprehensive subject index
    • an index to speeches
    • a voting chart of resolutions


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