03 March 2012

Global Peace Operations 2012

The United Nations Security Council authorized two new peacekeeping missions during 2011—the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA)—the first missions since the joint UN-AU Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) was established in 2007.

The Council also authorized the use of force to protect civilians in Libya, clearing the way for a NATO air campaign that divided members of the Security Council. Following the fall of Muammar Qaddafi, the Security Council mandated the civilian UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), a political mission, to help reestablish state authority.

Brought to you by NYU's Center on International Cooperation, the Annual Review of Global Peace Operations covers both UN and non-UN peace operations during 2011. The latest edition focuses on the role of peacekeeping operations in extending and consolidating state authority in post-conflict and post-crisis states.

This edition covers a year that saw continued overall growth in peacekeeping operations, albeit at a slower rate than past years. However, UN peacekeeping experienced a decline in the deployment of uniformed personnel, the first such decline since 2003. This is despite the two new peacekeeping missions.

 Peacekeepers in 2011 were tasked with responding to a number of rapidly changing environments including supporting the referendum on South Sudan, and supporting its establishment as an independent state; elections in Haiti, Liberia and Democratic Republic of Congo; the post-electoral crisis in Côte d'Ivoire; and wresting control of Mogadishu from Al-Shabaab in Somalia.

All of these activities occurred against the backdrop of intense debate on the cost of peacekeeping, with increasing pressure to draw down a number of missions. The preoccupation with mission costs and the lighter footprint of these missions may indicate that a decade of large multidimensional peacekeeping missions may be coming to an end.