Country Profile: United Kingdom

Country Profile: United Kingdom

In 1995, Britain was briefly the UN’s top troop-contributing country through its commitment to the UN Protection Force in Bosnia, UNPROFOR. Since then the number of British uniformed personnel in UN-led peacekeeping operations has gradually declined. During this time, most UK personnel were deployed in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and Kosovo (UNMIK) with token contributions in several missions in Africa. In UNFICYP, Britain leads Sector 2 and the Mobile Reserve Force. The UK contingent comprises approximately 50 reservists alongside regular troops, who have returned to UNFICYP for the first time since the Iraq and Afghanistan operations began in earnest. In stark contrast, between 2003 and 2013, Britain deployed well over 9,000 troops on various UN-authorized peace operations, principally in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Since the beginning of the drawdown of forces in Afghanistan (the British Government has withdrawn all but 450 troops from Afghanistan), UK numbers have grown slightly in UN peacekeeping operations. The UK is currently building on its 2015 pledge to more than double UK military contributions to UN operations, with up to 70 personnel heading to the UN Support Office to Somalia (UNSOS) and between 250 and 300 to the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). The UK has deployed smaller contingents in UN-authorized and non-UN peace operations in Sierra Leone, the Balkans, Somalia, and Mali. It also deploys specialists as part of bilateral capacity-building initiatives such as British Military Advisory Training Teams (Sierra Leone, Czech Republic, Jordan, Ghana, Nigeria), British Peace Support Teams (South Africa, Kenya), and British Army Training Unit (Kenya).


Read more in our newly updated profile on the United Kingdom by David Curran, Coventry University and Paul D. Williams, George Washington University