The Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) was created in 1992 during the restructuring of the Secretariat initiated by the incoming Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. The DPKO was set up to allow the United Nations to have greater institutional capacity to respond to international crises. The Department traces its roots to 1948 with the creation of the first UN peacekeeping operations: UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) and UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP). Up to the late 1980s, peacekeeping operations were operated through the UN Office of Special Political Affairs. By the early 1990s, the strategic context for United Nations peacekeeping had evolved from military observation to multidimensional enterprises designed to ensure the implementation of comprehensive peace agreements and to assist in laying foundations for sustainable peace. Peacekeepers’ enlarged scope of activities included helping to build sustainable institutions of governance, human rights monitoring, electoral reform, humanitarian assistance, security sector reform, demining, as well as the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants.
At its inception in 1992, the functions of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations included: formulating policies and procedures, based on Security Council resolutions and mandates, for the establishment of new peacekeeping operations and the effective functioning of ongoing operations; securing military units and equipment as well as other material and human resources required for peacekeeping operations; developing operational plans and methodologies for multidimensional operations; undertaking contingency planning for peacekeeping operations; and providing logistic and administrative support for the operations in the field.
In 1994, the DPKO was reorganized into two sections, the Office of Planning and Support and the Office of Operations. Each section was headed by an Assistant Secretary-General. The Office of Planning and Support was divided into a Planning Division and a Field Administration and Logistics Division (FALD). The Office of Operations was divided into three divisions organized along regional lines: the Africa Division (AD), the Asia and Middle East Division (AMED), and the Europe and Latin America Division (ELAD). The Policy and Analysis Unit and the Situation Centre were created in 1993, and the Lessons Learned Unit was created in 1995. In 2007, under the initiative of Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations underwent major structural change, and the Department of Field Support (DSF) was created to address shortcomings in mission support, such as logistics, transportation and recruitment. Close interaction between DPKO and DFS is maintained through shared functional and operational areas.
As of 2012, the four main offices of the DPKO were the Office of Operations, the Office of the Rule of Law and Security Institutions (established in 2007), the Office of Military Affairs, and the Policy Evaluation and Training Division.
The leadership of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was carried out by Marrack Goulding, who served as Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations from June 1992 until February 1993. Kofi Annan served as Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations from June 1992 until March 1993, when he was appointed to succeed Goulding as Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations. Annan served as Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations until he was appointed Special Envoy of the Secretary-General to the Former Yugoslavia, serving six months in that position (November 1995-April 1996). Ismat Kittani temporarily replaced Kofi Annan as Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations during his absence. After returning to DPKO, Mr. Annan served as Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations until December 1996. Kofi Annan was succeeded by Bernard Miyet (January 1997-October 2000), Jean-Marie Guéhenno (October 2000-June 2008), Alain Le Roy (June 2008-October 2011), and Hervé Ladsous (October 2011-present).