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UN Peacekeeping Troop Numbers Will Keep Growing

UN Peacekeeping Troop Numbers Projected To Keep Growing

The number of United Nations peacekeepers serving around the world continues to grow even as the number of missions remains relatively static, according to the latest overview of the UN peacekeeping budget.

The annual review shows that more peacekeepers and military observers are needed by UN missions, but the levels of civilian police and civilian staff required are falling at the same time.

The overview indicates that 29,190 peacekeeping troops were used in 15 missions in July 2000 to June 2001, rising to 34,901 troops in 11 missions in 2002-03 and a projected 46,478 troops for 2004-05.

UN spokesman Fred Eckhard told reporters today in New York that while the number of peacekeepers and missions often changes on a cyclical basis, there is an overall upward trend.

"I don't know if we would surpass the peak which may have been in 1993, [when] we had between 70,000 and 80,000 peacekeepers - at that time, there were three huge missions: Bosnia, Cambodia, Somalia. But we're moving in that direction," Mr. Eckhard said.

Mr. Eckhard also noted that an expansion of the UN's Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) has been underway since Lakhdar Brahimi delivered the Report of the Panel on UN Peace Operations.

"They're still struggling to fill the vacant posts," he said. "But I think we're in a much better position today to manage the volume of work. That said, the prospective start-up in the near future of so many missions is going to put a strain even on the expanded Peacekeeping Department."

The total peacekeeping budget in 2002-03 was $2.6 billion across 11 missions, increasing to an estimated $2.7 billion in 2004-05, when there is an expected to be one more mission.

Between 2000-01 and 2004-05, the number of military observers is forecast to rise from 1,510 to 2,022, while the number of civilian police is slated to fall from 7,800 to 4,250 and the level of civilian staff is expected to drop from 16,262 to 11,414.

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