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International Day of
United Nations Peacekeepers

29 May is the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.

UN Peacekeepers standing in a row wearing blue helmets and sunglasses.

UN Photo/Albert Gonzalez Farran

Officers from the Indonesian contingent of UNAMID stand in formation during a ceremony for the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers in Sudan.

The day has two purposes:

  • to honour the memory of the UN peacekeepers who have lost their lives in the cause of peace; 
  • to pay tribute to all the men and women who have served and continue to serve in UN peacekeeping operations for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage.

Peacekeepers Day 2014

On 29 May, UN offices, alongside Member States and non-governmental organizations, hold events to honour fallen peacekeepers. Since the first UN peacekeeping mission was established in 1948, more than 3,220 military, police and civilian personnel have lost their lives in the service of peace as a result of acts of violence, accidents and disease.

A Force for the Future

As the world is confronted with new challenges, UN Peacekeeping is evolving to meet them, helping more people than ever through some of the most destructive conflicts.

UN Peacekeeping is looking at how innovation and technology can help us not only deliver in these challenging environments but also to offer real value for money. All in an effort to ensure our Blue Helmets are 'A Force for Peace, a Force for Change, a Force for the Future'.

UN Peacekeeping is deploying new technologies such as unarmed, unmanned aerial vehicles, refining our practices to better protect civilians, and boosting the representation of women among its ranks. We are improving logistics and administrative practices and strengthening our partnerships with regional organizations. All to ensure United Nations Peacekeeping is a valuable investment that above all, saves lives.

Find out more about ‘A Force for the  Future’.

Download this year’s poster below:

Events around the world

At the UN Headquarters in New York, the Secretary-General on 29 May presides over a wreath-laying ceremony in honour of all peacekeepers who lost their lives while serving under the UN flag.

In addition, the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal is awarded posthumously to the peacekeepers who have fallen while serving in the cause of peace, during the preceding year.

UN peacekeeping operations use the Day to strengthen bonds with the local populations that they have been deployed to serve. For example by holding sporting events, school and orphanage visits, art and essay competitions, photo exhibits, neighbourhood clean ups, tree plantings, concerts, and conferences and workshops on peace issues.

Previous Peacekeepers Days

The UN General Assembly designated Peacekeepers Day in 2002 [A/RES/57/129PDF Document]. In recent years, we have encouraged the celebration of the Day under a common theme: