France and UN Peacekeeping Operations


Creating the conditions for lasting peace

Since 1948, 71 peacekeeping operations (PKOs) have been deployed worldwide by the UN.

As at 30 June 2020, there were 13 ongoing PKOs, including seven in Africa. The total PKO budget for 2020-2021 is $6.58 billion.

PKOs are multi-faceted and multidimensional. They are called upon to:

  • Protect civilians
  • Maintain security
  • Assist in the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants
  • Support the organization of free elections
  • Facilitate the political process
  • Protect and promote human rights
  • Restore the rule of law

There are 82,245 peacekeeping staff deployed all over the world.

120 nations provide PKOs with troops and police officers.

Since 1948, 3,962 have died while fulfilling their mission, including 114 French citizens.

UNMISS in South Sudan is the largest currently-deployed PKO, with 16,306 staff.

France’s contribution to PKOs

Peacekeeping operations are central to France’s action for international peace and security. France is the sixth-largest contributor to the PKO budget, providing $386 million (5.61% of the total budget) in 2020-2021.

With regard to military operations, in June 2020, 683 French staff (military personnel and police) were deployed around the world.

The operations with the most French personnel are UNIFIL (Lebanon), MINUSCA (Central African Republic) and MINUSMA (Mali).

France posts more than 300 military and police cooperation officers to 50 partner countries that contribute to building the capacity of defence and security forces prior to a possible peacekeeping deployment.

Of these cooperation officers, 11 French soldiers are currently embedded in peacekeeping training centres in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The “Women, Peace and Security” agenda in PKOs

Since 2000, the United Nations Security Council has adopted a series of 11 resolutions which together form the “Women, Peace and Security” agenda.

These texts call for action against sexual violence in conflicts and to increase women’s participation in peacebuilding, including peacekeeping operations. These resolutions note that women are the first targets of sexual violence in times of conflict – one female refugee or internally displaced person in five has suffered sexual violence – and yet that they are largely absent from peace processes.

UN Security Council resolution 1325 brought about an important shift in peacekeeping operations: by calling on the UN Secretary-General to increase the number of women deployed in these operations, calling for operation mandates to include a gender component and calling for peacekeeping and security personnel to receive specialized training on the rights and needs of women, this resolution marked a turning point in the recognition of the particular circumstances of women in conflict situations.

All peacekeeping operations today have specific provisions on the role of women in conflicts, concerning assistance to national authorities to fight the impunity of perpetrators of sexual violence in times of conflict and to support victims, or training activities aimed at increasing the number of women recruited into military and civilian forces.

As the UN Secretary-General noted in his 2019 report tracking the implementation of the “Women, Peace and Security” agenda, several studies show that women’s participation in peace and security processes plays an essential role in ensuring the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations and the durability of peace agreements.

France’s action to further the “Women, Peace and Security” agenda

France has supported the agenda from the outset, and has been particularly active in promoting it internationally in recent years.

France is active at the UN Security Council, working to ensure the contents of the 10 resolutions that make up the “Women, Peace and Security” agenda are genuinely incorporated into the discussions that lead to the creation or renewal of peacekeeping mandates. In 2019, this agenda was moreover one of the priorities of the French G7 Presidency, with the adoption of the ministerial Dinard Declaration on Women, Peace and Security, which recalled the importance of women’s participation and improving prevention and protection from sexual violence. In line with the Dinard Declaration, the President of the Republic announced a contribution of €6.2 million in Biarritz, to support the Global Fund for Survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence.

Lastly, France is committed in a national capacity to implementing the “Women, Peace and Security” agenda. Since 2010, France has adopted two national action plans to incorporate this agenda into the national and international action of all relevant French administrations. A third national action plan is being drafted, which should be adopted in 2020 to cover the period 2020-2024. In this context, France has also strengthened the gender markers of its humanitarian and development assistance to better focus on women in conflict or post-conflict situations.

Updated: September 2020