Africa remains the major focus of multilateral peace operations – SIPRI

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Last year saw the number of multilateral peace operations decline by two to 61, the first decrease since 2010, but Africa continues to have the lion’s share of deployed peacekeeping and peace support deployments, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

In its latest yearbook, the Institute said there were 162 703 personnel deployed in the 61 multilateral peace operations “slightly more than in the previous year (2014).

This increase constituted a reversal of the decline recorded in the preceding years resulting from the drawdown of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

Although there were no major changes at the aggregate level, the SIPRI data confirms two important trends.

The first is the general increase in the number of personnel deployed.

The number of personnel deployed in UN peace operations increased for the third consecutive year to 113 660. This is the highest number ever recorded and accounts for more than two-thirds of the total number of personnel deployed in multilateral peace operations in 2015.
“Although the UN’s reputation and credibility were seriously damaged by reported attempts to cover up incidents involving sexual exploitation and abuse in the Central African Republic, the UN seems to be only strengthening its position as the world’s main peace operations organisation,” said Jaïr van der Lijn, Head of Peace Operations and Conflict Management at SIPRI.
“UN member states made unprecedented pledges of personnel and equipment, while the High-level Independent Panel on UN Peace Operations published a report full of valuable recommendations as to how UN peace operations can be strengthened.”

The second trend is the specific increase in the number of personnel deployed to Africa. The sharp increase in the number of personnel deployed in operations in Africa also continued in 2015, with 119 945 personnel (74% of the global total) deployed in 26 operations across the continent.
“The spectacular increase in the number of personnel deployed in peace operations in Africa may well be the most important trend in 21st century peace operations so far. Since 2000, this number has on average doubled every five years,” SIPRI researcher Timo Smit said.