Japan and the United Nations

February 27, 2024

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) United Nations Peacekeeping Operations has been much more important in terms of maintenance of international peace and security as well as PKO has been facing many challenges with wider scale and diversification of missions. In both 2014 and 2015, Leaders’ Summit on Peacekeeping , which leaders/minister-level in each country joined, were held, and there were discussions about those challenges and measures to improve peacekeepers’ capabilities and performance. As a follow-up, UN Peacekeeping Ministerial is regularly held.
  • (5) In 2018, United Nations Secretary-General Guterres launched a new initiative to improve and enhance the Peacekeeping, “Action for Peacekeeping (A4P)”. A4P was created because the Peacekeeping face serious challenges and are forced to operate under perilous, complicated and risky environment. In addition, in 2021, “Action for Peacekeeping + (A4P+)”, implementation guidline, was issued, aiming to accelerate A4P and make the Peacekeeping stronger, safer and more efficient. Abiding by the guideline, initiatives have been implemented based on presented prioritized issues and themes.
  • (6) In addition to the Peacekeeping operated by the UN, the importance of missions by regional organizations is also attracting attention. In December 2023, taking into account that African Union-led Peace Support Operations (AUPSO) play a pivotal role for the maintenance of peace and security in Africa, the UN Security Council adopted Security Council Resolution 2719, which determines that the Security Council considers on a case-by-case basis financial support to AUPSO using UN assessed contributions and that financial support by UN assessed contributions should be up to 75% of an AUPSO annual budget.

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 contribution 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 2023/2024 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
    2023/2024 8.0330%
    2022/2023 8.0330%
    2021/2022 8.0330%

Japan’s contribution

1 Contribution to Peacekeeping Operations

  • (1) As international situation becomes even more severe and complex, the UN’s role in realizing an international community of cooperation, not of division is ever greater. Peacekeeping Operations are important policy tools to provide a concrete plan to maintain peace and security in not only recipient countries but also the region including the countries. Under this recognition, Japan has contributed to improving Peacekeeping Operations’ effectiveness and efficiency.
  • (2) Since 2011, Japan has made personnel contribution. For example, Japan has deployed four Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) personnel as staff officers in United Nations Missions in South Sudan (UNMISS) and has dispatched official of the Ministry of Defense and JSDF personnel to the Department of Peace Operations and the Department of Operational Support, which cover policies and training related to the peacekeeping in the UN Secretariat.
  • (3) Japan has made financial contributions as third-largest donor country of the assessed contributions to the UN Peacekeeping, following the U.S. and China. Also, Japan has made extrabudgetary contributions to projects such as enhancement of medical system in fragile missions against pandemic like COVID-19 and countermeasure against new threats like Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and dis/mis-information, which missions are facing.
  • (4) Furthermore, in terms of capacity building for personnel, Japan has made contributions as a flagbearer of “the United Nations Triangular Partnership Programme (TPP)”, a framework for cooperation among the United Nations, supporting Member States and troop-contributing countries of UN peacekeeping to enhance capabilities of peacekeepers. For example, Japan has dispatched JSDF personnel as instructors to conduct training in the fields of engineering (facilities) and medicine for peacekeeping personnel from Africa and Asian countries. Also, Japan has made financial contributions to activities of C4ISR and telemedicine. In 2023, in order to broaden the fields and improve the quality of the TPP, Japan decided to provide approximately 850 million dollars for conducting trainings for personnel to be dispatched to AUPSOs, in addition to fulfillment of already existing fields.
  • (5) Other than that, given the contribution to dispatch engineering unit, Japan has contributed to create and edit UN Peacekeeping Missions Military Engineer Unit Manual as a host country. Furthermore, Japan has made intellectual contributions ranging from curriculum-making cooperation for the training course of Peacekeeping Intelligence to co-hosting the Peacekeeping Ministerial and its Preparatory Meeting.
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