The independent resource on global security

Definitions and methodology

Quick links:

  1. Overview
  2. Definitions
  3. Conventions
  4. Data sources



The SIPRI Multilateral Peace Operations database contains information on operations conducted under the authority of the UN and operations conducted by regional organizations or by ad hoc coalitions of states sanctioned by the UN or authorized by a UN Security Council resolution, with the stated intention of:

(a) serving as an instrument to facilitate the implementation of peace agreements already in place;

(b) supporting a peace process; or

(c) assisting conflict prevention and/or peacebuilding efforts.

This may include operations monitoring and observing ceasefire agreements; serving as confidence-building measures; protecting the delivery of humanitarian assistance; assisting with the demobilization and reintegration process; strengthening institutional capacities in the areas of judiciary and the rule of law (including penal institutions), policing, and human rights; electoral support; and economic and social development. The database thus covers a broad range of peace missions to reflect the growing complexity of peace operation mandates and the potential for operations to change over the course of their mandate. However, good offices, fact-finding or electoral assistance missions and missions comprising non-resident individuals or teams of negotiators are not included. Operations consisting of armed forces operating primarily within their national territory, such as the Multinational Joint Task Force against Boko Haram and the Joint Force of the Group of Five for the Sahel, are also not considered multilateral peace operations and therefore not included.



  • Legal instrument: the legal basis for the establishment of an operation, e.g. UN Security Council resolutions or formal decisions by regional organizations.
  • Location: the country in which a mission operates. Where applicable a specific region of the country is given.
  • Start date: the date on which an operation started implementing its mandate on the ground.
  • Authorized personnel numbers: the most recently approved staffing level. In certain cases, particularly non-UN operations, no figure can be given since there is no authorized personnel level set by the mandate of the operation.
  • Actual personnel numbers: the estimated current strength of the operation.



  • Fatalities are recorded as (i) a total from the beginning of the mission until the last reported date and (ii) as a total for the reporting year. Where available, data on the cause of death—accidental, hostile acts, and, illness—are listed.
  • Budget figures are given in millions of US dollars. Conversions from budgets set in other currencies are based on the aggregated market exchange rates of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the reporting year and are expressed in current dollar terms. Budget figures presented in the database or in the SIPRI Yearbook are best viewed as estimates and the budgets for different missions should not be compared for the following reasons:
    • Budget figures presented for UN operations refer to core operational costs, which among other things include the cost of deploying personnel, per diems for deployed personnel and direct non-field support costs (e.g., requirements for the support account for peacekeeping operations and the UN logistics base in Brindisi). The cost is shared by all UN member states through a specially derived scale of assessed contributions that takes no account of their participation in the peacekeeping operations. 
      • Political and peace-building missions are funded through regular budget assessments.  
      • UN peacekeeping budgets do not usually cover programmatic costs that are financed by voluntary contributions. 
    • Budget figures for operations conducted by regional organizations such as the EU and NATO typically refer only to common costs. This includes mainly the running costs of EU and NATO headquarters (the costs of civilian personnel and operations and maintenance) and investments in the infrastructure necessary to support the operation. The costs of deploying personnel are borne by individual sending states and do not appear in the budget figures given here. 
      • Most EU missions are financed in one of two ways, depending on whether they are civilian or military missions. The common costs of civilian missions are funded through the EU Budget, while the common costs of military missions or missions with military components are funded through the Athena mechanism, a financial and administrative instrument outside of the regular EU Budget.
    • Budget figures for peace operations by other organizations and in general the ad hoc missions may include programme implementation.


Figures presented in the database may differ from past SIPRI yearbooks because information in the database has been retroactively converted to reflect the new methodology of budget conversion. In previous years, figures as of 31 December were used in the peace missions table. The change to using the IMF’s aggregated market exchange rates limits the inconsistency of the budget data owing to fluctuating currency exchange rates.


Data sources

Data on multilateral peace operations is obtained from the following categories of open sources:

  • Official information provided by the secretariat of the organization;
  • Information from the mission on the ground, either in official publications or in response to annual SIPRI questionnaires;
  • Information from national governments contributing to the mission in question; and
  • Secondary sources consisting of specialist journals, research reports, news agencies and international, regional and local newspapers. Unless otherwise stated, all figures are as of 31 December of the reporting year or as of the date on which the mission closed.


Since all SIPRI data is reviewed on a continual basis and adjusted as more accurate information becomes available, the statistics in the multilateral peace operations database may not always fully correspond to data found in the SIPRI Yearbook or other SIPRI publications.