International Day of
United Nations Peacekeepers
29 May is the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.
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 was established to:
- Honour the memory of the UN peacekeepers who have lost their lives in the cause of peace;
- 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 2015
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 until April 2015, 3,358 military, police and civilian personnel have lost their lives in the service of peace as a result of acts of violence, accidents and disease.
'Together for Peace'
As this year's International Day of UN Peacekeepers falls during the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, we are reflecting on the past, present and future of UN Peacekeeping and reaffirm our commitment to working 'Together for Peace'.
Since its inception in 1948, the UN has established 71 peacekeeping operations – in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. The number of people who have been UN peacekeepers — more than 1 million — far surpasses the total number of staff who had worked for the UN in all other capacities worldwide.
Today, some 125,000 women and men serve in 16 peacekeeping missions across the globe. Our peacekeepers are deployed in some of the world's most challenging and austere environments and mandated with increasingly complex and difficult tasks. Over the decades, UN Peacekeeping has implemented a series of reforms to be both 'fit for purpose' and innovative in the management of our field operations. We continue to strive towards greater performance, efficiency and cost-effectiveness, introducing new technologies and strengthening our partnerships worldwide.
Download and share this year’s poster below:
Events around the world
At the UN Headquarters in New York, the Deputy 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 mark the Day by strengthening 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. Events around the world will be shared through the tag #Together4Peace.
Previous Peacekeepers Days
The UN General Assembly designated Peacekeepers Day in 2002 [A/RES/57/129]. In recent years, we have encouraged the celebration of the Day under a common theme:
- 2014: A force for the future – focusing on how UN Peacekeeping is evolving to meet new challenges
- 2013: Adapting to new challenges – exploring the changing needs of international peace and security
- 2012: Peacekeeping is a Global Partnership – highlighting the variety of partnerships we have at every stage of our work.
- 2011: Law. Order. Peace – focusing on our efforts to strengthen rule of law.
- 2010: Ayiti Kanpe (Haiti Standing) – remembering the earthquake in Haiti that resulted in the death of 102 UN personnel, including 97 peacekeepers;
- 2009: Women in peacekeeping – the important role of women peacekeepers;
- 2008: 60th anniversary of UN Peacekeeping.