- By David BoscoDavid Bosco is a Foreign Policy contributing editor and assistant professor at American University's School of International Service. He is at work on a book about the International Criminal Court's first decade.
United Nations peacekeeping operations are, for the most part, paid for by the world’s rich countries and staffed by poorer states. The G7 industrialized countries—Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States—pay a combined 71.6 percent of peacekeeping costs but contribute only about three percent of the more than 90,000 deployed UN peacekeepers and police. Eight countries, mostly low-income states, contribute more peacekeepers than the the G7 combined.
Source: United Nations
A new report by the International Peace Institute and the Pearson Centre examines the peacekeeping contributions of European states in particular and considers whether greater participation could be in the cards. With the Afghanistan operation drawing down, it points out, Europe may soon have spare personnel and resources that could be devoted to UN operations. There are plenty of obstacles, however, including political fatigue and shrinking military budgets. Memories of the failed Bosnia peacekeeping operation in the 1990s (to which European states contributed heavily) and doubts about UN command and control are also important. The whole report is worth a read.