Peacekeeping Budgets and Personnel Soar to New Heights

Michael Renner | Feb 14, 2008

Costs for United Nations peacekeeping opera­tions from July 2007 to June 2008 are expected to run to $7 billion—substantially higher than the record $5.6 billion spent in 2006–07.1 (See Figure 1.) Currently running operations in 17 countries, the United Nations now deploys more soldiers, military observers, and police than ever before: a total of 84,309 as of December 2007.2 (See Figure 2.) This figure includes more than 70,000 soldiers, close to 10,000 police, and about 2,500 military observers.3 Counting international and local civilian staff and volunteers, the total runs up to about 106,000.4 And 11 smaller “political and peace-building” missions (typically follow-up efforts once a peacekeeping mission ends) deployed another 3,787 personnel as of late 2007.5 Of the total U.N. personnel, about 7,000 are women—2,000 in uniform and 5,000 civilians.6

Still, U.N. peacekeeping continues to be dwarfed by military spending and staffing priorities. World military budgets stood at $1,232 billion in 2006—that’s 228 times as much as was spent on U.N. peacekeeping.7 The extended U.S. war in Iraq has cost about $632 billion, or an average of more than $100 billion per year.8 International deployments of national military forces that are not part of peacekeeping operations totaled about 540,000 in 2005.9 U.S. troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other military bases around the globe account for about 394,000 of that figure.10 Other countries with significant foreign deployments—Turkey, the United Kingdom, France, Russia—together have about 117,000 soldiers in other countries.11

Two new U.N. missions were authorized during 2007: UNAMID, a U.N.–African Union “hybrid” force in Darfur, and MINURCAT, a mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) and Chad. This region of Africa is home to a series of partially linked crises. Instability and violence in Sudan’s Darfur region have spilled over into neighboring Chad, which is also suffering from clashes between the government and two rebel groups along the border with Sudan. And in the CAR, fighting persists in the northwest and along the border with Chad and Cameroon.12

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