Peacekeeping and peacebuilding

Australia has provided more than 65,000 personnel to more than 50 United Nations and other multilateral peace and security operations since 1947. Of these, over 30,000 have participated in UN peace operations and more than 20,000 in UN-mandated operations. We are a reliable contributor to the UN's peacekeeping budget, always paying in full and on time.

We continue this tradition today, with Australians serving in peace and security operations across the globe. This includes continuous participation in the Middle East (UN Truce Supervision Organisation, UNTSO, since 1953) and in Cyprus (UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus, UNFICYP, since 1964). Australian personnel are also currently deployed to the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) and the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

In our own neighbourhood, Australia has played a leading role in successful regional missions in Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste and Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. Australia was instrumental in the diplomacy that led to the Cambodian Peace Settlement. We made a major contribution to the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia, including sending the first military contingent and providing the commander of the military component of the mission. Australia has also contributed to Commonwealth missions in Zimbabwe and Uganda and continues to deploy personnel to the Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai (Egypt/Israel) and to international stabilisation efforts in Afghanistan.

Beyond keeping the peace

Australia has been integrally involved in global efforts to build and restore peace for nearly 70 years. As a capable and dependable partner, Australian expertise is sought after in developing the frameworks for promoting human rights, strengthening the rule of law and building institutions that support local capacities for establishing sustainable peace and development.

Australia's long-term commitment to peacebuilding is demonstrated by our ongoing support for the core United Nations peacebuilding institutions. All three core components of the UN peacebuilding architecture were established in 2005-06 to prevent relapse into conflict. Australia supports these institutions by engaging in the Peacebuilding Commission’s work, seconding staff to the Peacebuilding Support Office and providing a multi-year financial contribution to the Peacebuilding Fund. We are the 12th largest donor to the Peacebuilding Fund, which provides fast and flexible funding to meet critical conflict prevention needs in fragile and conflict-affected settings.

As an active member of the UN Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict (2013-14), Australia has advocated for greater accountability for perpetrators of child rights during conflict, ending recruitment of children by both state and non-state actors and addressing the impact of military activities on schools and hospitals. As a member of the Group of Friends on Children and Armed Conflict, Australia supports the Secretary-General's recommendation that the issue be included in the mandates of all relevant Security Council sanctions committees. We support stronger and more effective measures to protect children from harm and exploitation during armed conflict, including rehabilitation efforts.

Australia is a leading advocate for the international implementation of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P). R2P is an expression of the irrevocable collective commitment to ensure that never again will the world be confronted with the horrors of genocide and other atrocity crimes. Australia is a member of the Friends of R2P grouping at the United Nations, a co-facilitator of the Global Network of R2P Focal Points and a key contributor to the creation of the Global Action Against Mass Atrocity Crimes initiative. The Australian Government provides financial assistance to: the Asia Pacific Centre for R2P; the Global Centre for R2P; and the Joint Office of the UN Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect to advance R2P research and activities.

Last Updated: 1 October 2014