The General Assembly established the International Day of United Nations
Peacekeepers in December 2002, in order to pay tribute to "all
the men and women who have served and continue to serve in United
Nations peacekeeping operations for their high level of professionalism,
dedication and courage, and to honour the memory of those who have
lost their lives in the cause of peace."
This year, we commemorate the Day in a particularly difficult context.
The conduct of peacekeeping troops has been called into question because
of allegations of sexual abuse. At the same, there is an urgent need
for more military and civilian staff in peacekeeping operations. Just
in 2004, 82,000 men and women served in such missions, and among them,
115 peacekeepers from 39 different countries lost their lives in the
line of duty.
This situation reminds us of the importance as well as the difficulty
of the UN's mission of promoting peace in the world. While paying
tribute to those who have lost their lives in the cause of this noble
mission, I also wish to congratulate and encourage all those who are
currently serving in the 17 peacekeeping operations across the world.
We must indeed support the efforts made by our Organization, in particular
the Secretariat and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, to
prevent misconduct and more generally to attain an irreproachable
But for peacekeepers agents to fully defend the ideals enshrined
in the Charter of the United Nations, they must be provided with adequate
means, technical and human resources.
I take the opportunity of today's commemoration to solemnly call
on Member States and donors to further strengthen the capacities and
the efforts of peacekeeping operations, as some of these operations
are still being conducted under conditions of scarcity.
In the framework of the ongoing process of reforming the United Nations,
it is important that we devote all our attention to the proposal of
creating the intergovernmental Peace Building Commission to be entrusted
with the responsibility to follow up and support the establishment
of sustainable peace, in particular in countries emerging from conflicts.