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Q&A: Finding NATO troop levels for Balkan operations

Question: I came by the library today to seek help finding some information related to NATO. In particular, I am looking for statistics on NATO's Implementation Force (IFOR), Stabilization Force (SFOR), and the Kosovo Force (KFOR), all of which took place in the Balkans in the early 1990s. I am interested in how much money and how many troops did NATO countries commit to those three operations. Even though it is easy to get the numbers for the US, other countries are somewhat more difficult. NATO does not have that kind of information on its website either. Thus, I was wondering if you could direct me to some sources?

Answer: There are 3 angles to think about in tackling this question: 1) statistics; 2) the organizations themselves (in this case NATO and the United Nations); and 3) Secondary scholarly literature.

LexisNexis Statistical database (Stanford only) is a good place to start. If you're on campus, that link should go right through, or perhaps ask you for your SUNET id/password. If you're off campus, you'll want to set up the proxy in your browser. If you search LN statistical for NATO and allied contributions, You'll find an annual report to Congress on allied contributions to NATO going back to 1985. Hopefully, that report will have all the information you need. I also found a table for "Defense Spending As A Percentage Of GDP, 1990-2001 [U.S., NATO Allies, Pacific Allies, And Gulf Cooperation Council, By Country]" issued by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and several others from the DoD.


You'll want to look into both NATO and the United nations as those forces were established through various UN Security Council resolutions.

The sites for the various implementation forces have varying degrees of information about them. For instance:

NATO publishes a couple of documents similar to an annual report:

United Nations angle:

Since these were all based on UN security council resolutions, there is considerable documentation from the UN Security Council and reports from the UN Secretary General. Search the UN online document system (ODS) -- which is free to the public! -- by those 3 acronyms. I've found lists of contributing nations to all 3 forces and total numbers of troops embedded in reports, but have not as yet come across more specific troop numbers by country or amount of money coming from each country. Searching ODS will give you access to the same documents on the UN Security Council Web site. ODS may also bring up information on monetary figures as this was usually reported to the UN General Assembly. For example I found a cite for A/52/837, "Support for Peacekeeping Operations" in 1998.

The Global Policy Forum tracks UN policy making, and their site includes some useful statistics on UN Peacekeeping Operations Budget and UN finance in general.

Lastly, the Center for Defense Information, a security policy research organization, has background and statistics. The World Organizing for Peace:

20,000 members of the Bosnia Stabilization Force (SFOR) from 33 nations (4,600 U.S.) or the 38,000 in the Kosovo Force (KFOR) from 37 nations (5,500 U.S.).

Scholarly literature:

If those resources don't give you the exact numbers for which you're looking, then the next step is to search the secondary scholarly literature for journal articles with the data. Start with Worldwide Political Science Abstracts (Stanford only). Then check other article databases in the political science or history sections.

Q&A: Bali climate change conference, December 2007

How do I find out about the December conference in Bali about climate change?

A good place to start would be the official website of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, held in Bali, Indonesia, from December 3-14, 2007. This includes all sorts of reports, webcasts, and links, including information on the Kyoto Protocol of 1997. See also the pages of the United Nations Environment Programme, which sponsored the conference.

Other sites open to all include the Environmental News Network, which is a great source for environmental news.(Search under Ecosystems or Climate.) See also Greenpeace under Topics: Global Warming and Energy. The New York Times public site has a lot of information. It also has a blog.

Grist is another helpful environmental blog.

We also subscribe to some databases that would be good for this topic, including Global Newsbank (See Special Reports - World Environment - UN Framework Convention on Climate Change). See also America's Newspapers.

Stanford has many books (browse especially the subject Climatic changes) including Architectures for agreement: addressing global climate change in the post-Kyoto world (Cambridge University Press, 2007) at the Law School Library. Other resources are available at the Biology Library.

Q&A: Average tariff levels

Question: I'm looking for data on the average tariff level of the following states: US, Canada, UK, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland,Japan, Australia, and New Zealand from 1962-1989. Any version of the average tariff (weighted average) would be fine. I read somewhere that the World Bank had this data but I have been unable to find it.

Answer: In general, for any statistics question, I always start at the Library's database page for statistics and numeric data. SourceOECD, the UN Common Database (UNCDB), and the World Bank's World Development Indicators are good places to start for international statistics (all 3 are subscription databases).

In this case, however, you'll need to go outside of Stanford Library. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has kept trade statistics since its inception in 1964. Recently, UNCTAD, the World Bank, UN Statistics Division, and the World Trade Organization (WTO) combined resources to build the World Integrated Trade Solution (WITS). WITS gives access to the major trade and tariffs data compilations:

  • The COMTRADE database maintained by the UNSD;
  • The "TRade Analysis and INformation System (TRAINS) maintained by UNCTAD;
  • The IDB and CTS databases maintained by the WTO.

To make a long story shorter, you can use the TRAINS database to get average tariff statistics. TRAINS provides online access to indicators of Trade Control Measures (Tariff, Para-tariff and Non-tariff measures), as well as imports by suppliers for over 150 countries. Registration is free at

The drawback to TRAINS is that it only goes back to 1988. The World Bank has a page devoted to "trade and import barriers" that I have used before. There's a dataset called "Trends in average applied tariff rates in developing and industrial countries, 1981-2005," but is incomplete.

Prior to the 1980s, you'll need to search the journal and documents literature and/or do your own calculations for average tariffs. Worldwide Political Science Abstracts, EconLit, and the World Bank e-Library are all good sources for journal articles having to do with international trade.

Also check the following documents for possible leads and data tables:

Lastly, the library has a subscription to the International Customs Journal, published by the International Customs Tariffs Bureau (ICTB). This journal lists provisions of each country's customs tariff law and has detailed lists of items (steel, textiles, machinery, live animals, arms etc...) and the tariff charged for each item. This journal goes back to 1891 in microfilm, print and CDROM. More recently (it looks like 2000 - present), the ICTB has made that information accessible online in a searchable database.

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