UN Peacekeeping Operations


Logo UN Peacekeeping Operations

Peacekeeping operations (PKO) are the most well-known and visible missions of the United Nations, and they play a key role in the peaceful resolution of conflicts across the world. They work on the basis of three principles: consent of the parties, impartiality, and non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate.

Since the first peacekeeping operations in 1948, the mandate has been refined each time and more closely adapted to the increasingly complex crises that the UN has faced, such as civil wars, jihadist terrorism, and armed groups. They have gradually become multi-dimensional operations: a PKO is not only composed of military personnel (the famous blue helmets), but also police personnel and civilians, who make it possible to offer a response to all types of challenges in an area.

Belgium has generally been involved in peacekeeping operations since 1948. In the past, our country has contributed towards PKOs in Somalia, Rwanda, Lebanon, and also Sudan. At present, Belgium is deploying Blue Helmets in Mali (MINUSMA), the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), and in the Middle East (ONUST). More detailed information about Belgium's contribution in the peacekeeping operations can be found at: https://peacekeeping.un.org/en/troop-and-police-contributors

During its previous mandate on the Security Council (2019-2020), Belgium devoted particular attention to the following points:

  • protection of civilians
  • mandates that are understood and accepted by the local population
  • seeking political solutions and privileged coordination with actors who are able to build regional support
  • readable and realistic mandates that take account of operational limitations, particularly the willingness of countries to make troops and police officers available
  • making available sufficient financial and operational resources
  • effective synergy between different "pillars" of a mission
  • effective interaction between the PKO and the other actors in the area (regional missions, international troops such as EU-led missions, other UN players, etc.)
  • the contribution made by PKOs to our wider diplomatic aims: respect of human rights and international humanitarian law, protection of children in conflicts, and transition towards societies that live in peace.

Belgium also supports the 'Action for Peacekeeping' (A4P) initiative created in 2018 by Secretary-General António Guterres in order to make the United Nations' peacekeeping more efficient and to adapt it to the new situations that arise in the region.