United States investments in United Nations peacekeeping through the Contributions for International Peacekeeping Activities account have led to significant gains in peace and stability in several West African countries – most recently in Liberia.
First deployed in 2003 in the wake of a devastating civil war, the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) played a key role in facilitating the country’s recovery. The UN provided technical and logistical support to Liberian authorities as they successfully held three post conflict national elections (in 2005, 2011, and 2017), helped disarm and demobilize more than 100,000 combatants from the country’s civil war, trained and built up the capacity of the Liberian national police force, and promoted women’s rights. Partially as a result of UNMIL’s efforts, hundreds of thousands of conflict-displaced Liberians were able to return home. In January 2018, a new president took office, marking the country’s first peaceful transition of power since 1944.
As a result of these gains, UNMIL formally withdrew in March 2018. This successful conclusion followed two others in West Africa: a mission in Cote d’Ivoire closed in 2017 after completing its mandate, and UN forces exited Sierra Leone in 2005 after supporting the country’s successful recovery from a long civil war.