UN Peacekeeping Operations
Peacekeeping operations (PKOs) are the best known and most visible of United Nations actions. They are an essential element of the peaceful resolution of conflicts throughout the world and are governed by three principles: consent of the parties, impartiality and non-use of force (except in self-defence or the defence of the mandate).
Since the first PKOs in 1948, mandates have evolved and adapted to the increasingly complex crises facing the UN: civil wars, jihadist terrorism, armed groups, etc. As a result, operations have become multidimensional: a PKO is composed not only of military personnel (the famous blue helmets), but also of police officers and civilians, so that a response can be found to all the challenges on the ground.
Belgium has participated regularly in peacekeeping missions since 1948. In the past, our country has contributed to PKOs in Somalia, Rwanda, Lebanon and Sudan. Belgium currently deploys peacekeepers in Mali (MINUSMA), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and the Middle East (UNTSO). More detailed data on Belgian contributions to peacekeeping missions is available on this website: https://peacekeeping.un.org/en/troop-and-police-contributors.
During its term on the Security Council (2019-2020), Belgium is paying particular attention to:
- the protection of civilians
- mandates understood and accepted by the local population
- the search for political solutions and primary coordination with actors that can bring regional legitimacy
- clear and realistic mandates that take into account operational constraints, including the availability of troop- and police-contributing countries
- the mobilisation of sufficient financial and operational resources
- good synergy between the different "pillars" within a mission
- good interaction between PKOs and other actors in the field (regional missions, international forces including EU missions, other UN actors, etc.).
- the contribution of PKOs to our broader diplomatic objectives: respect for human rights and international humanitarian law, the protection of children in conflict and the transition to peaceful societies.
Belgium also supports the Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative launched in 2018 by Secretary-General António Guterres to make United Nations peacekeeping more effective and adapted to the new realities on the ground.