Welcome to the United Nations

What is peacekeeping

  • Peacekeeping helmet and vests
    UN Photo/Marie Frechon
United Nations Peacekeeping helps countries torn by conflict create conditions for lasting peace.

Peacekeeping has proven to be one of the most effective tools available to the UN to assist host countries navigate the difficult path from conflict to peace. 

Peacekeeping has unique strengths, including legitimacy, burden sharing, and an ability to deploy and sustain troops and police from around the globe, integrating them with civilian peacekeepers to advance multidimensional mandates.

UN Peacekeepers provide security and the political and peacebuilding support to help countries make the difficult, early transition from conflict to peace.

UN Peacekeeping is guided by three basic principles:

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

Peacekeeping is flexible and over the past two decades has been deployed in many configurations. There are currently 15 UN peacekeeping operations deployed on four continents.

Today's multidimensional peacekeeping operations are called upon not only to maintain peace and security, but also to 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.

Success is never guaranteed, because UN Peacekeeping almost by definition goes to the most physically and politically difficult environments. However, we have built up a demonstrable record of success over our 60 years of existence, including winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

Peacekeeping has always been highly dynamic and has evolved in the face of new challenges. Former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon established a 17-member High-level Independent Panel on UN Peace Operations to make a comprehensive assessment of the state of UN peace operations today, and the emerging needs of the future.

Global partnership

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.