In addition to troops and police, civilians also serve as an important force in UN peacekeeping operations.
Statistics from the UN website showed that more than 14,000 civilians are currently involved in the peacekeeping operations around the world. As the peacekeeping operations have become more multi-dimensional, there is a growing demand for specialized civilian skills.
Usually, tasks performed by civilian staff members include promoting and protecting human rights, strengthening the rule of law and fostering political and reconciliation processes in turbulent states and regions. Some also contribute to support roles in sectors of logistics, communication and technology, finance and human resources.
In September 1988, China formally applied for membership of the UN Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, which marked the beginning of China‘s participation in UN peacekeeping operations.
In 1989, China sent personnel for the first time on a UN peacekeeping mission to help Namibia achieve its independence from South Africa. Three years later, China dispatched an engineering brigade to Cambodia tasked mainly with road repair, barracks construction, airport maintenance and other supportive assignments. This was also the first time that China sent an integrated, non-combat force to participate in UN peacekeeping operation, according to CCTV News.
To further promote gender equality, the UN is trying to recruit and retain more female peacekeepers. The increase of women peacekeepers is believed to be useful in encouraging more women from the countries where the missions are performed to participate in public affairs and dismantle harmful gender stereotypes and inequalities.
To support this new trend, China has also increased the recruitment of female peacekeepers and maintained a better gender ratio among peacekeeping groups, the Global Times learned from the Ministry of Public Security.