Many are in places such as Darfur or South Sudan, where there is no peace to keep or even a political process to help steer. In Syria and Libya, escalating violence has forced even the smaller UN political missions to pull back. In some places – Mali for example – peacekeepers themselves are targeted and killed. In others their reputation is tarnished by the acts of the few, committing crimes such as sexual abuse.
A UN panel chaired by José Ramos-Horta, the former president of East Timor and Nobel peace laureate, has published a report on how the UN can better cope. As the need for peacekeeping is growing again, the world should take note.