"A major issue facing the United Nations, the United States, and Congress concerning United Nations peacekeeping is the extent to which the United Nations has the capacity to restore or keep the peace in the changing world environment. Associated with this issue is the expressed need for a reliable source of funding and other resources for peacekeeping and improved efficiencies of operation. For the United States, major congressional considerations on U.N. peacekeeping stem from executive branch commitments made in the U.N. Security Council. The concern with these commitments, made through votes in the Council, is the extent to which they bind the United States, both militarily and financially, to fund and to participate in some way in an operation. This includes placing U.S. military personnel under the control of foreign commanders. Since 1948, the United Nations (U.N.) has launched 59 peacekeeping operations, of which 16 are currently active. U.N. estimated peacekeeping expenditures went down from$3.4 billion in calendar year 1995 to $1.2 billion in 1997. Ongoing U.N. peacekeeping expenditures were estimated at $2.2 billion for the year starting on July 1, 2000, and $2.63 billion for the year starting on July 1, 2002. U.S. payments in calendar year 2000 were $518.6 million and $1.3 billion in CY2001. Peacekeeping has come to constitute more than just the placement of military forces into a cease-fire situation with the consent of all the parties. Military peacekeepers may be disarming or seizing weapons, aggressively protecting humanitarian assistance, and clearing land mines. Peacekeeping operations also now involve more non-military tasks such as maintaining law and order (police), election monitoring, and human rights monitoring."
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB90103
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