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 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.
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/57/129]. In recent years, we have encouraged the celebration of the Day under a common theme:
- 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.