Increasing the effectiveness of UN peacekeeping is one of the highest priorities for the United States at the United Nations. Multilateral peacekeeping shares the risks and responsibilities of maintaining international peace and security, and is a cost-effective way to help achieve U.S. strategic and humanitarian interests. In September 2009, President Obama hosted the first-ever meeting with the leaders of the top troop-contributing nations to UN peacekeeping operations. This meeting underscored America’s commitment to this vital tool, which allows countries around the world to share the burden for protecting civilians and fragile peace processes in societies emerging from war. Since that meeting, the U.S. Government has been working to enhance its support for UN and regional peacekeeping and to operationalize the commitments that the President outlined.
Peacekeeping Operations, Peacebuilding and Police Work
Women, Peace and Security
- Over the past year, the U.S. made assessed contributions of $2.6 billion to the UN peacekeeping budget and gave more than $3.6 billion in humanitarian and development assistance to eight countries where UN peacekeepers serve. In addition, the United States has contributed more than $4 million this year to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
- U.S. support for police training and development this year totals $22 million, and we intend to maintain strong support for this critical element of peacekeeping. The U.S. will also contribute $100,000 to underwrite an innovative planning exercise to train peacekeeping leadership in the field, with a focus on civilian protection and crisis prevention.
- The United States has helped to train and equip over 136,000 peacekeepers, and supported deployment of more than 110,000 personnel from 29 countries.
Key Peacekeeping Operations
- The U.S., with Secretary Clinton presiding, led the UN Security Council in adopting unanimously Resolution 1888 on Women, Peace, and Security, which condemns conflict-related sexual violence and calls on all parties to immediately end acts of rape and sexual violence during armed conflict.
- This initiative strengthens the international response to sexual violence in conflict by establishing a dedicated UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict under the UN Secretary-General’s office, creating a team of experts to investigate crimes and assist victims, and tracking data on sexual violence in UN reports.
- The United States will support this effort in a number of ways, including by providing nearly $2 million to help start up the new office under Special Representative Margot Wallstrom.
The U.S. continues to advance initiatives to strengthen UN peacekeeping capabilities, including by seeking to expand the number, capacity, and effectiveness of troop and police contributors, helping secure General Assembly approval for vital peacekeeping reforms, and working with fellow Security Council members to craft more credible and achievable mandates for operations in such countries as Haiti, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia and Somalia.
- Haiti: After the devastating earthquake of January 2010, which claimed the lives of over 100 UN personnel and the UN stabilization mission’s leadership, the U.S. worked extremely closely with the UN to help the Government of Haiti to enhance security and deliver vital humanitarian relief to the people of Haiti. Tens of thousands of U.S. forces were able to withdraw from Haiti within a few months, as countries from Latin America and around the world moved quickly to share the burden and augment the UN peacekeeping presence. At the end of March, the U.S. along with the UN, and other partners, hosted a major donors conference. The U.S. has pledged $1.1 billion for Haiti’s long term reconstruction needs.
- Sudan: The U.S. has carefully supported the effective implementation of peacekeeping mandates in Southern Sudan and Darfur, and promoted improved cooperation between these two peacekeeping missions, in line with the Obama Administration’s comprehensive approach to Sudan. The U.S. continues to work closely with the UN to improve the humanitarian situation on the ground, and ensure that the UN is prepared to support the upcoming referenda.
- Liberia: The U.S. built an international consensus to maintain a robust peacekeeping operation in Liberia through the 2011 elections by leading a Security Council delegation to Liberia and working to ensure unbroken support for the implementation of the peace process. The U.S. is also working with the UN Peacebuilding Commission to develop a program of work to address gaps in rule of law, security sector reform and national reconciliation. We are Liberia’s principal bilateral partner, and work closely with the UN Mission in Liberia to ensure that our efforts are mutually reinforcing.
- Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): In the DRC, the U.S. has recognized the daunting effort to protect civilians, including from the epidemic of rape and gender-based violence, and supported the UN peacekeeping mission’s development of improved protection strategies and to enhance the capacity of the DRC government. The U.S. will contribute $100,000 to the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations for a pilot project in the DRC to assess steps to protect individuals, including victims, witnesses, and judicial personnel, before, during, and after trials.
- Somalia: The U.S. helped garner international support for the Transitional Federal Government and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), including by supporting UN funding to keep international peacekeepers in the country. The U.S. has been a strong supporter of recent efforts to augment the number of troops deployed in AMISOM, which now has a force of nearly 7,000. Since AMISOM’s deployment in 2007, the United States has obligated more than $185 million to provide logistics support, equipment, and pre-deployment training to its forces. The United States has been the largest single country donor of humanitarian assistance to Somalia, providing more than $150 million in humanitarian assistance in Fiscal Year 2009. Additionally, the U.S. spearheaded efforts to secure renewed UN authority for international forces to fight piracy off the coast of Somalia.