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International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, 29 May 2012

Under-Secretary-General's Remarks at United Nations Headquarters Medal Parade, New York, 29 May 2013

Military Advisers,
Police Advisers,
Distinguished guests,
Officers on parade,
Colleagues,

Welcome to this United Nations Headquarters Medal Parade. I thank the Military Adviser, Lieutenant-General Gaye and the Police Adviser, Mr. Feller, along with all of their staff who have worked diligently to organize this ceremony. I know you all join me in congratulating the Military and Police Officers who are receiving the United Nations Headquarters Medal this afternoon.

The Medal is awarded to officers who have served at least 90 days in staff positions here at the Headquarters of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. A total of 36 military and police officers on secondment from 22 Member States are eligible to receive the medal today.  All of these individuals are engaged in difficult and important work. Some are supporting peace operations in the field while others are planning and deploying new missions. Each has served with great dedication and distinction. We are grateful to them and to the Member States, our valued Troop and Police Contributing countries, who have made them available.

As our impact and reach continues to grow, the demands on our uniformed personnel will also increase. We count on the continued support of Member States and our dedicated colleagues, both here and in the field, to help us respond to these emerging challenges.

Earlier today, I had the solemn but proud duty of honoring 103 peacekeepers who died in 2013 with the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal. While the parade this afternoon is a joyous occasion, we should also use it to pay tribute to our colleagues who lost their lives in the service of peace. There will always be risks involved in trying to bring peace to conflict zones but it helps to know how much all our efforts count for the millions of vulnerable people who see hope under those blue helmets.

Congratulations to all the military and police officers receiving their well-deserved medals. Please enjoy the rest of the celebration. This is your day and we are all proud of you.

Hervé Ladsous

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