Prepared by the United Nations Department of Public Information
October 1998
Not an official document of the United Nations

Honouring those who have served:

The year 1998 marks half a century of United Nations peacekeeping. At the end of 1997, the General Assembly endorsed a recommendation from its Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations that Member States and the Secretariat arrange activities to commemorate this event, "and to honour those who served in peacekeeping operations of the past 50 years, especially those who lost their lives in the service of the United Nations." The Special Committee also recommended that part of the first day of the fifty-third General Assembly in 1998 be dedicated to a commemorative meeting to remember those who have served in peacekeeping.

A few facts:

Since 1948 there have been 49 United Nations peacekeeping operations; 36 of which were created by the Security Council between 1988 and 1998;

17 UN missions are currently under way, with 14,453 peacekeepers serving in them as of 31 August 1998;

Well over 750,000 military and civilian police personnel and thousands of other civilians from 111 countries have served in UN peacekeeping operations;

1,581 peacekeepers have died while serving in these missions up to 31 August 1998.

Focal Point for Information

The Peace & Security Section of the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI), as focal point for information about UN peacekeeping operations, will serve as clearing-house in the UN Secretariat for information about activities relating to the 50th anniversary. We would appreciate your notifying us of any publications, campaigns or other activities being undertaken to observe the anniversary. We will, in turn, make information available in print and on the Internet. We are glad to help you with any questions you may have. Please feel free to contact us, preferably using the e-mail address below.

Dates to Watch

Events at United Nations Headquarters are being planned around the following dates. National and local events to mark these dates are encouraged

29 May: Launching the fiftieth anniversary of Security Council resolution 50 (1948) which established the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) in the Middle East, through a press conference by Mr. Bernard Miyet, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations;

6 July: Anniversary of the death of the first UN peacekeeper;

15 September: Issuance of a series of commemorative peacekeeping postage stamps to coincide with International Peace Day.

6 October: Formal observance of fifty years of United Nations peacekeeping at United Nations Headquarters. The General Assembly will hold a special meeting to honouring those who have fallen while serving in United Nations peacekeeping missions.

Also on that date, the first Dag Hammarskjold Medal, authorized by the Security Council in 1997, will be presented at Headquarters to the family of the first peacekeeper to die in the course of duty. A photo exhibition documenting five decades of United Nations peacekeeping is scheduled to open in the Public Lobby of United Nations Headquarters at New York.

The United Nations is preparing a variety of activities and products to mark the anniversary including publications, radio and television programmes and special portions of the UN Home Page on the World Wide Web. Away from UN Headquarters, a number of United Nations Information Centres (UNICs) have already planned special activities and UN peacekeeping missions may also observe the anniversary. We hope these activities will help the public understand better how peacekeeping has evolved into the multi-faceted instrument that it is today, while paying due respect to those who have served in UN peacekeeping missions.

Already available:

A wall-chart consisting of a world map of all peacekeeping operations, highlighting the multi-dimensional nature of peacekeeping;

50 Years of UN Peacekeeping - A Timeline Brochure
DPI/1999 - September 1998;

An updated edition of the booklet "United Nations Peacekeeping", containing the mandates and essential facts of UN peacekeeping operations to date;

A photographic exhibit on the theme "The Many Faces of UN Peacekeeping" scheduled to open on 6 October 1998 at UN Headquarters;

UN Radio programmes focusing on activities in field missions, including some live coverage;

UN Television UN in Action reports on various aspects of current UN peacekeeping operations;

An educational module on peacekeeping as part of the CyberSchoolBus project.


Limited copies are available directly from the Peace & Security Section

UN Peacekeeping: 50 Years (Wallchart-Poster; DPI/1928);

50 Years of UN Peacekeeping - A Timeline Brochure
DPI/1999-983337 - September 1998;

1948-1998: 50 Years of UN Peacekeeping
Booklet; DPI/2004 - October 1998;
(scheduled for November 1998)

Peacekeeping at a Glance (Brochure with map; DPI/1903);

Year in Review 1997 (English/French/Spanish: DPI/1947);

Field Missions Make Waves: A Look at Broadcasting in United Nations Peace Operations (DPI/1956)

Sales Publications:


United Nations Publications
Sales Section, Room DC2-853
2 UN Plaza, United Nations
New York, NY 10017
Tel. (800) 253-9646
Fax (212) 963-3489
E-mail: publications @un.org

UN Charter (sales item)

Blue Helmets, Third Edition 1996
(English [808pp.]; French: Les Casques Bleus
[806pp.], Sales No. E.96.I.14);

United Nations Blue Books
(series of publications which covers major developments in which the United Nations has played a leading role in maintaining international peace and security; sales items)

Soldiers for Peace ([264pp.]
A collection of articles on peacekeeping published in 1996 by American Historical Publications in collaboration with DPI.
Limited free copies available, also available for purchase from:
The Facts on File, 11 Penn Plaza, New York, NY 10001


For specific information relating to fifty years of UN peacekeeping:

Peace & Security Section
Department of Public Information
United Nations Room S-1005
Tel: (212) 963-6840
Fax: (212) 963-1186
E-mail: pk50@un.org

General Inquiries:

Public Inquiries Unit
Public Services Section, Room GA-57
United Nations, New York, NY 10017
Tel. (212) 963-4475
Fax (212) 963-0071
E-mail: inquiries @un.org


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