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Canadian contributions to United Nations peace support operations

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Canada is a strong supporter of United Nations (UN) peacekeeping and will continue to play an important role by contributing high-end capabilities and specialized training.

Today’s peacekeeping environment is more complex than ever before, and Canada firmly believes we need to do peacekeeping differently. That’s why we are focused on improving the effectiveness of UN missions, increasing the proportion of women deployed overseas, and empowering women in all aspects of peace and security.

This approach is reinforced in Canada’s Defence Policy – Strong, Secure, Engaged – which emphasizes that the Canadian Armed Forces are prepared to make valuable contributions to UN peace operations.

Military capabilities

Canada is actively engaged with the UN and pledging a range of specialized military capabilities that are in high demand for UN peace operations. In August 2016, Canada pledged up to 600 Canadian Armed Forces personnel for possible deployment to UN peace operations.

The Canadian Armed Forces will make the following military capabilities available to support this pledge:

  • Tactical airlift support for up to 12 months to help the UN address critical gaps around being able to transport troops, equipment, supplies, and food to support ongoing missions and the rapid deployment of UN forces;
  • An Aviation Task Force of medium utility and armed helicopters for up to 12 months; and
  • A Quick Reaction Force that includes approximately 200 personnel and accompanying equipment.

Canada has also made a new pledge to develop and implement innovative training for peace operations. The Canadian Armed Forces will help enhance the overall effectiveness of UN operations, including through support for the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations.

Training support will include:

  • A new Canadian Training and Advisory Team to work with a partner nation before – and importantly, during – a deployment to enhance the partner nation’s contribution to a given mission; and
  • Activities to meet UN needs in various training centres and schools, as well as contributions to mobile training teams.

Peace and Stabilization Operations Program

Through the Peace and Stabilization Operations Program, Canada is investing $24 million in new projects to modernize and enhance peace operations, better prevent and address conflict, and build sustainable peace. Our support is designed to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment.

This funding will support a range of projects, including:

  • Training for UN senior mission leaders
  • Training for military, policy and civilian peacekeepers on human rights, protecting civilians and human rights, and international conflict resolution
  • Pre-deployment training and mentoring for peacekeepers deployed from African contributing countries
  • Support for the implementation of the peace agreement in Mali
  • Training and community outreach in northern Lebanon to promote peace and stability
  • Support for increase safety and security in Palestinian communities
  • Support for the development of a strategy to prevent renewed violence and extremism in Iraq

The “Smart Pledge” approach

Canada is promoting the “Smart Pledge” approach when contributing to peace support operations in order to provide the UN with the predictability it needs to more effectively plan its operations and training. “Smart Pledges” encourage better coordination of contributions to peacekeeping missions from partner countries, helping to eliminate critical gaps and ensuring that contributions can be deployed on a rotating basis.

We are currently in talks with the UN and potential host countries to identify locations where Canada’s military capabilities can bring the most value to UN peace support operations.

As an initial step, Canada is exploring the option of contributing tactical airlift capability to the UN’s Regional Support Centre in Entebbe, Uganda. This regional support centre plays an important role in supporting approximately 80,000 military and police personnel as well as thousands of civilian staff on peace support operations across the African continent. Canada’s contribution will help improve the United Nation’s ability to respond to crises more quickly and more efficiently. Canadian Armed Forces personnel will also be on standby to provide tactical airlift to UN-led and UN-sanctioned peace missions.

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