UN Peacekeeping Budgets by Component Part I

CIC Data in Focus is a blog series discussing trends, peculiarities, and questions arising from UN data, mainly drawn from our datasets here at the Center on International Cooperation. 

Today we turn to another aspect of UN peacekeeping budgets — specifically, their different components. Peacekeeping budgets are broken down into three major categories: (1) appropriations for uniformed personnel (i.e. troops and police), (2) appropriations for civilian personnel, and (3) appropriations for operational requirements (which is further broken down into sub-categories such as transportation, facilities and infrastructure, and communications).

As a percentage of total peacekeeping budgets, these three categories stayed roughly the same from 2006–07 through 2013–14. Uniformed personnel and operational requirements each comprised 39 percent of total peacekeeping appropriations on average over this timeframe, and civilian personnel stayed in a band between 20 and 25 percent. After 2013, however, something unusual happened:

UN Peacekeeping Budgets: Composition by category, 2006–07 to 2018–19

Data Source: United Nations. Prepared by the Center on International Cooperation. Figures are calculated by dividing appropriations for each category by total peacekeeping appropriations (which are set each year for the period beginning July 1st and ending the following June 30th). Figures are based upon publicly available data and may be subject to revision. “Uniformed personnel” refers to military and police personnel.

The main question is: why have appropriations for uniformed personnel and operational requirements diverged so dramatically post-2013, especially since they tracked each other fairly closely as a proportion of total budgets over the preceding eight years?

In absolute terms, the budget for operational requirements fell from about $3 billion in 2013–14 to $2.1 billion in 2018–19, while the uniformed personnel budget bounced around somewhat but has largely stayed near $3 billion.

What is driving this trend? Are items formerly considered “operational requirements” being shifted into the uniformed personnel category? Or are there certain kinds of operational requirements that have been given smaller budgets over time (and if so, is this an expected occurrence as missions age)?

In our next post, we will dive deeper into this last question by looking at trends in operational requirements sub-categories over time.

If you have more ideas or questions about what we’ve noticed, we welcome your tweets @PeaceOpsCIC or @nyuCIC.

 

Thanks for reading CIC Data in Focus. We welcome and appreciate your feedback. Drop us a line at paulvonchamier[at]nyu.edu if there’s something you’d like to see us add to the blog.