Current UN missions
According to the UN Charter, the most important task of the UN Security Council is to keep or re-establish peace. This is why, in general, the Security Council decides on and implements peace missions or these missions are led by other international organisations but with a mandate by the Security Council. The basic principles of such missions are: Impartiality, deployment only with the consent of the host government, and a use of force that is mainly restricted to self-defence. 32 peace missions were conducted in 2010 of which 25 were peacebuilding and/or peacekeeping missions. UN missions for 2010 are classified in six categories:
- peacebuilding and peacekeeping,
- multi-dimensional peacebuilding,
- multi-dimensional peacebuilding and peace enforcement,
- UN-transitional administration.
Current missions of other actors
Peace missions have come to public attention through the deployment of UN peace operations. Meanwhile, the actors have become diverse. In total, 52 peace missions were conducted in 2010, amongst them 12 by the European Union, 7 by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), three led by NATO and 13 of other actors besides the United Nations. The mission, mandate, composition and dimension of peace operations differ greatly. Many are political support operations. Some are purely observer missions, while others support the build-up of security forces (police or army). Part of a peace mission has primarily military components. Often, peace missions are multidimensional operations.