International Peacekeeping Activities (CIPA)

FY2017 Funding Recommendation:  
$2.445 billion


Funding History


       President's FY2017 Request   

       InterAction's FY2017 Recommendation

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 Key Facts

  • The UN’s total annual peacekeeping budget is less than 0.5% of world military expenditures, but is currently the largest deployed military force in the world.

  • Two-thirds of UN peacekeepers are currently deployed to active conflict zones, the highest percentage ever.

  • Ten current UN peacekeeping missions – representing nearly 98% of all uniformed peacekeeping personnel serving in the field – have a mandate from the Security Council to protect civilians from violence.

  • UN peacekeeping missions have become increasingly hazardous for their personnel. While the first peacekeeping operation was deployed in 1948, more than 39% of all peacekeeper fatalities have occurred within the last ten years.

The Contributions for International Peacekeeping Activities (CIPA) account funds the United States’ assessed obligations to UN peacekeeping missions. These peacekeeping missions advance American interests by stabilizing conflict zones, protecting civilians from violence, facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid to vulnerable communities, disarming and reintegrating former combatants, and supporting the consolidation of stable and democratic governing institutions and processes in fragile states.

UN peacekeeping is a proven, effective and cost-efficient way to promote international peace and security. A 2013 study by researchers in the U.S. and Sweden, for example, found that deploying a sufficiently large force of UN peacekeepers “dramatically reduces civilian killings” in armed conflicts. The Government Accountability Office concluded that helping to fund a UN peacekeeping operation in Haiti was almost eight times less expensive than deploying a U.S. force there. Finally, while the U.S. contributes a significant portion of the UN’s peacekeeping budget, other countries provide the vast majority of the uniformed personnel who serve on these missions, making UN peacekeeping an excellent example of global burden sharing. (The U.S. currently has less than 100 military personnel and police deployed to UN operations around the world.) Indeed, according to U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, “The multilateral nature of peacekeeping helps address the free-rider problem we see today in so many matters of international security … whereby countries with vested interests in addressing threats rely on the United States to do the lion’s share of the work. Peacekeeping gets other countries to stand up, rather than stand by.”

With nearly 125,000 personnel currently deployed to 16 operations on four continents, UN peacekeeping missions are larger and peacekeepers are in greater demand – and facing more potent risks – than ever before. Among other things, UN peacekeepers are working to restore law and order in the Central African Republic, a country that has been torn apart by sectarian violence; coming under attack from extremist groups, including a regional affiliate of al-Qaeda, in Mali; and protecting the lives of nearly 200,000 civilians in South Sudan who have sought refuge at UN bases to escape a brutal civil war. Given the increasing complexity of their mandates, the difficulty of their operating environments, and the growing dangers facing their personal security, continued strong U.S. financial support for UN peacekeeping missions – none of which would have been deployed in the first place without U.S. support on the UN Security Council – is more vital than ever.


In FY2016, Congress provided Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds to increase the level of funding for the Contributions to International Peacekeeping Activities (CIPA) account. OCO was created to house temporary spending related to operations and programs in "frontline" states. In FY2016 appropriations legislation, OCO accounted for over 70% of CIPA funding.  In the FY2017 President’s Budget, OCO accounts for 66% of CIPA funding.

These funds are critical to maintain U.S. leadership in international peacekeeping activities. However, InterAction and our members are concerned that locating such a proportion of spending in a temporary account puts peacekeeping funding levels at risk as OCO funds are scheduled to decrease over time. Furthermore, we know that for many of the major peacekeeping missions underway around the world, such as South Sudan, there is no clear resolution in sight.

The Administration should work with Congress to incrementally move OCO peacekeeping funding into the base CIPA budget. Doing so would reflect the true spending levels the U.S. has committed over the past several fiscal years for peacekeeping activities and ensure that a major peacekeeping funding shortfall will not arise should OCO funds be eliminated or significantly reduced in future budget years.

Success Story

The UN Peacekeeping Mission in Côte d’Ivoire

For much of its post-independence history Côte d’Ivoire was one of West Africa’s most prosperous and stable countries. But for more than 10 years beginning in 1999, it was beset by civil conflict and political turmoil. In late 2010, Alassane Ouattara, a former IMF official and Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire, was certified as the winner of presidential elections, and the international community strongly backed the legitimacy of Mr. Ouattara’s victory. However, the incumbent President, Laurent Gbagbo, refused to concede, and launched a campaign of organized violence against Mr. Ouattara’s supporters and civilians. During the four-month crisis that followed, the UN peacekeeping mission (UNOCI) and its base were attacked, nearly 1 million people were driven from their homes and 3,000 were killed. In a proactive effort to protect civilians in the commercial capital of Abidjan, UNOCI teamed with French forces to destroy stockpiles of heavy weapons that Mr. Gbagbo’s forces had been using against civilians.  Ultimately, the joint UN operation with the French shortened the conflict, saving lives, and paving the way for Mr. Ouattara’s inauguration. 

Since that time, Côte d’Ivoire has made important strides in political stabilization and economic growth. For the last three years, the Ivorian economy has experienced remarkable annual growth – three consecutive years at 9% – which the IMF projects will continue in 2016. This growth is due in large part to an improved security environment, in which UNOCI has played an integral role.  In another sign of progress, on October 25, 2015, the country successfully held its second presidential election since the 2010 crisis. While not entirely free of controversy, the election was nevertheless mostly peaceful, and nearly 5,000 national and international observers judged the voting process to be generally free, fair, and transparent.

Throughout the electoral process, UNOCI and the UN Development Program provided critical assistance to Ivorian authorities. The UN helped the government prepare and implement a comprehensive security plan to prevent election-related violence, facilitated the delivery of electoral materials to and retrieval of results from polling locations across the country, supported efforts to improve women’s participation, and promoted pre-election dialogue between election officials, youth and women representatives, and other key national stakeholders. In addition to its election-related activities, UNOCI is also supporting broader efforts to help stabilize the country, providing vocational training and other services to nearly 20,000 former combatants to help ease their reintegration into society.

While numerous political, human rights, development, and security challenges facing Côte d’Ivoire remain unresolved, the country – with assistance from the international community – has made remarkable progress over the last five years. In fact, because of these recent improvements, UNOCI is currently in the process of drawing down its force levels, and there is a distinct possibility that the UN Security Council could decide to terminate the mission entirely by the end of 2016. In order for this to happen, the U.S. should continue to meet its financial obligations to UN peacekeeping by fully funding the CIPA account.

Photo: Better World Campaign


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