International Day of UN Peacekeepers (29th May, 2018)

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Dictionary.Com defines peacekeeping as the maintenance of international peace and security by the deployment of military forces in a particular area: the United Nations' efforts toward peacekeeping. United Nation Peacekeeping is guided by three basic principles:

  • Consent of the parties;
  • Impartiality;
  • Non-use of force except in self-defense and defense of the mandate.




Today's multidimensional peacekeeping operations are called upon to;

  • maintain peace and security,
  • facilitate the political process,
  • protect civilians,
  • assist in the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants
  • support the organization of elections
  • protect and promote human rights 
  • and assist in restoring the rule of law.

UN peacekeeping is a unique global partnership. It brings together the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Secretariat, troop and police contributors and the host governments in a combined effort to maintain international peace and security. Its strength lies in the legitimacy of the UN Charter and in the wide range of contributing countries that participate and provide precious resources.

Every Member State is legally obligated to pay their respective share towards peacekeeping. This is in accordance with the provisions of Article 17 of the Charter of the United Nations. There are 116 countries who are members of UN peacekeeper, Kenya being among them. The approved budget for UN Peacekeeping operations for the fiscal year 1 July 2017-30 June 2018 is $6.8 billion. Kenya is listed as number 22nd in terms of the amount of contribution she has made to the organization. The top 10 providers of assessed contributions to United Nations Peacekeeping operations for 2017 are:

  1. United States (28.47%)
  2. China (10.25%)
  3. Japan (9.68%)
  4. Germany (6.39%)
  5. France (6.28%)
  6. United Kingdom (5.77%)
  7. Russian Federation (3.99%)
  8. Italy (3.75%)
  9. Canada (2.92%)
  10. Spain (2.44%)

Current Peacekeeping Missions

The United Nations conducts a number of peacekeeping missions throughout the world. These are authorized by Security Council resolutions and are financed by means of assessments of the


  • Sudan
  • Burundi
  • Cote d'Ivoire 
  • Liberia
  • (Democratic Republic of the Congo) 
  • Ethiopia and Eritrea
  • Western Sahara


  • Haiti


  • India/Pakistan


  • Cyprus 
  • Georgia
  • Kosovo


  • Golan Heights
  • Lebabon
  • Middle East

Kenya is a key supporter of UN peacekeeping efforts in the international system by facilitating the deployment of Kenyan officers to peace operations. Kenya’s first contributions were military observers for the UN Iran–Iraq Military Observer Group (UNIIMOG) from 1988-1990. Since then, Kenya has deployed troop contingents to among others, the UN Transition Assistant Group (UNTAG) in Namibia, the UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR) in Croatia, the two UN missions in Liberia (UNOMIL and UNMIL), the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), the UN–African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). It has also deployed military observers to a number of missions including those in Namibia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kuwait, Western Sahara, Mozambique, Rwanda and Angola. Reasons why Kenya is contributing;

  1. Political rationales: Given its geo-strategic location in East Africa, Kenya is considered by Western powers as an important partner in the “global war on terrorism.”
  2. Economic rationales: UN peace operations offer Kenyan soldiers and police a rare opportunity to obtain UN allowances that are ordinarily not offered by the KDF
  3. Security rationales: Kenya is located at the heart of an intricate conflict system in the Horn of Africa. Most countries that are within close proximity to Kenya have gone through civil war, and these have had humanitarian consequences that have percolated into Kenya, especially related to Somalia since 1991
  4. Institutional rationales: Until its October 2011 incursion into Somalia, the KDF had not engaged in battlefield combat with an enemy force. UN peace operations therefore provides KDF soldiers with valuable first-hand operational experiences abroad
  5. Normative rationales: Kenya’s foreign policy guidelines stipulate that the maintenance of peace is at the heart of the five pillars viz. economic diplomacy, peace diplomacy, environmental diplomacy, cultural diplomacy and diaspora diplomacy.

Compiled by Grace Sitienei – University of Nairobi Library