The Annual Review of Global Peace Operations is the most comprehensive publication of its kind, covering both UN and non-UN peace operations during 2011. The Annual Review 2012, the seventh edition in the series, begun in 2006, continues to inform policy-makers, academics, practitioners, the media, and peacekeeping stakeholders about peacekeeping trends and mission developments. Unique in its breadth of coverage, the Annual Review provides analysis and detailed data on UN, AU, NATO, EU, and ad hoc peacekeeping operations. Released prior to the UN General Assembly's Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, the Annual Review is an invaluable resource for the international community as it considers the crucial role of peacekeeping operations. The project is supported by the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations and Department of Field Support, as well as by the African Union Peace and Security Department.
The focus of the 2012 edition of the Annual Review is the role of peacekeeping operations in extending and consolidating state authority in post-conflict and post-crisis states. This edition covers a year that saw continued overall growth in peacekeeping operations, albeit at a slower rate than past years. However, UN peacekeeping experienced a decline in the deployment of uniformed personnel, the first such decline since 2003. This is despite the authorization of two new peacekeeping missions in 2011 – the UN Mission in South Sudan and the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei – the first authorizations since 2007.
Peacekeepers in 2011 were tasked with responding to a number of rapidly changing environments including supporting the referendum on South Sudan, and supporting its establishment as an independent state; elections in Haiti, Liberia and Democratic Republic of Congo; the post-electoral crisis in Côte d'Ivoire; and wresting control of Mogadishu from Al-Shabaab in Somalia. All of these activities occurred against the backdrop of intense debate on the cost of peacekeeping, with increasing pressure to draw down a number of missions. The preoccupation with mission costs and the lighter footprint of these missions may indicate that a decade of large multidimensional peacekeeping missions may be coming to an end.