Japan and the United Nations

March 28, 2023

What is Peacekeeping Operations

1. Outline of United Nations Peacekeeping Operations

  • (1) United Nations Peacekeeping Operations have been conducted by the United Nations through actual practice as a means of maintaining peace in conflict areas while the maintenance of international peace and security by the Security Council (e.g., the collective security system provided for in Chapter VII), which was scheduled in the UN Charter, did not fully function amid the postwar conflict between East and West. There is no explicit provision in the UN Charter, as the second UN Secretary-General Dag Hammerskjold called it a "Chapter VI and a half" measure.
  • (2) Traditionally, Peacekeeping Operations are activities in which the UN stands among the parties to a conflict and monitors ceasefires and troop withdrawals in order to calm the situation and prevent recurrence of conflict, and to support conflict resolution through dialogue by the parties. For example, the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), and the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) have been active for decades for these purposes.
  • (3) Since the end of the Cold War, the UN's role in the field of maintaining international peace and security has increased, and the missions of Peacekeeping Operations have diversified as a result of the shift from inter-state conflicts to domestic conflicts or a mixture of domestic and international conflicts, in which the international community is forced to respond. In addition to traditional missions such as monitoring ceasefires and troop withdrawals, the mandates of Peacekeeping Operations have increased their activities in many areas such as disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR); security sector reform (SSR); support in areas such as elections, human rights and rule of law; promotion of political processes; and protection of civilians. For example, the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) and the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), in which Japan participated in the past, as well as the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), in which Japan has participated since November 2011, have been involved not only in the military sectorbut also in civilian police, public administration, elections, human rights, and other areas.
  • (4) In addition, the importance of coordination and cooperation between peace and security operations, such as Peacekeeping Operations, and humanitarian assistance and reconstruction and development assistance operations is increasingly recognized.

2. Financial Aspects

  • (1) In order to cover the costs of Peacekeeping Operations, a Peacekeeping Operations budget is established separately from the regular UN budget (except for UNTSO and UNMOGIP, which were established in the 1940s and have been covered by the regular budget). Peacekeeping budgets are basically financed by contributions from UN Member States.
    The UN Security Council (UNSC) decides the establishment, revision, or abolition of Peacekeeping Operations, while the UN General Assembly (UNGA) decides the budget for Peacekeeping Operations, taking into account the decisions of the UNSC. Member States bear the costs of Peacekeeping Operations in accordance with the Peacekeeping Operations budget and contribution rates determined by the UNGA. While the contribution rates applied to the Peacekeeping Operations budget are based on those applied to the regular budget, developing countries are allowed to reduce their burden, the permanent members of the UNSC, who have a special responsibility for international peace and stability, are asked to bear a heavier burden. For developed countries that are not permanent members of the UNSC, including Japan, the same contibution rate as the normal contribution rate of regular budget will be applied.
    For the three-year period from 2022 to 2024, Japan's Peacekeeping Operations contribution rate is 8.0330%, making it the third largest financial contributor after the United States (26.9493%) and China (18.6857%).
  • (2) The Peacekeeping Operations budget is usually a single-year budget that runs from July to June of the following year (the regular budget is a two-year budget). A budget is prepared for each mission.
    The level of the Peacekeeping Operations budget varies over even short periods of time as the size of Peacekeeping Operations missions fluctuates, but also over longer periods as the number and size of missions increase. 2002/2003 budget was in the range of $2.8 billion, rising to the higher $7 billion range from 2009 to 2012. The initial budget for 2012/2013 decreased to the $7.3 billion range, partly due to the termination of some missions' mandates and the prospect of downsizing, but the revised budget for 2013/2014 is again in the $7.8 billion range, followed by the launch of two new missions and the expansion of some missions, and the budget for 2014/2015 is significantly higher, in the $8.4 billion range. In recent years, the Peacekeeping Operations budget has been declining as the number of missions has decreased, with the budget for 2021/2022 falling to the $6.3 billion level.
  • (3) Japan's Peacekeeping Operations contributions in recent years have been as follows.
    Burden Rate of Japan’s Peacekeeping Operations contributions per year
    Year Rate
    2021/2022 8.0330%
    2020/2021 8.5640%
    2019/2020 8.5640%
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