An interview with UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jane Holl Lute

Some highlights from an interview by the United Nations Association of the United States of America (

BM: Do you find certain countries want to participate more than others?

JL: At the moment, we have over 100, nearly 110, troop-contributing countries, and their numbers can vary, from many thousands, to only a handful. There are countries, at the moment, who represent a larger share of the peacekeeping forces on the ground, but that can change over the course of time, and certainly through the history of the UN, various countries have been at the top of the troop-contributing list. But again, as I said, the contribution of every country to the success of peacekeeping is both important and valued.

Yes, certain countries do participate more than others and have been for sometime, creating something of a trend. But answering the question directly is counter-productive. See near the bottom of this post for recent figures on participation in peacekeeping operations.

Of course not mentioned is China’s strong surge in numbers of troops contributed to peacekeeping. Nor did the interviewer ask, and of course he wouldn’t as this was only a puff piece, about the US contributions. For example, what does it mean that the US peacekeeping contribution is via a private military company? Is that still a contribution by the state?

In closing, Ms Lute gets at the need for an Article 43 force that establishes a standing force for the Security Council and a reduced reliance on ad hoc peacekeeping (the status quo):

BM: …What are two or three things that would really help strengthen peacekeeping in the future?

JL: …We could certainly use things like more planning—for example, a greater emphasis on standing training capacity, a standing cadre of peacekeeping professionals that we can draw on. As you mentioned earlier, we put each mission together each time as if for the first time. There are these kinds of things [we need]. But most important, I think, and you put your finger right on it, is an in-depth understanding of the value of this tool of the international community to help bring peace to bear.