Voice

Will Europe contribute more UN peacekeepers?

United Nations peacekeeping operations are, for the most part, paid for by the world's rich countries and staffed by poorer states. The G7 industrialized countries—Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States—pay a combined 71.6 percent of peacekeeping costs but contribute only about three percent of the more than 90,000 deployed UN peacekeepers and police. Eight countries, mostly low-income states, contribute more peacekeepers than the the G7 combined

Source: United Nations

A new report by the International Peace Institute and the Pearson Centre examines the peacekeeping contributions of European states in particular and considers whether greater participation could be in the cards. With the Afghanistan operation drawing down, it points out, Europe may soon have spare personnel and resources that could be devoted to UN operations. There are plenty of obstacles, however, including political fatigue and shrinking military budgets. Memories of the failed Bosnia peacekeeping operation in the 1990s (to which European states contributed heavily) and doubts about UN command and control are also important. The whole report is worth a read.  

The Multilateralist

How to behave in space

Micah Zenko argues that the world needs a code of conduct for behavior in space—and that the United States should take the lead in negotiating one:

No country or group of countries possesses the sovereign authority or responsibility for regulating space. Outer space is instead governed by a patchwork of informal industry standards, unofficial UN guidelines, and bilateral agreements to prevent or mitigate potential satellite collisions and interference from space debris. As the leading country in space—and one that depends greatly on its assured availability—the United States has a core national interest to prevent or minimize the inherent risks of space activities. The United States should work with other spacefaring nations to establish a nonlegally binding international code of conduct for outer space activities. Specifically, the Obama administration should start negotiations building upon, but ultimately replacing, the current draft of the Space Code of Conduct put forth by the European Union (EU).

As Zenko acknowledges, an international code of conduct faces skepticism from both key developing countries—who worry that it would cement Western advantages—and from U.S. conservatives, mostly on sovereignty grounds.