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International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, 29 May 2012

2014 THEME: UN PEACEKEEPING: A Force for Peace. A Force for Change.  A Force for the Future.

United Nations peacekeeping is modernizing to ensure that it can tackle tomorrow’s peace and security challenges. It is deploying new technologies such as unarmed, unmanned aerial vehicles, refining its practices to better protect civilians, and boosting the representation of women among its ranks while strengthening its partnerships with regional organizations.

peacekeeper with little girls laughing


The United Nations is improving logistics and administrative practices, strengthening infrastructure and taking other steps to harness the power of our personnel. Our goal is to ensure that peacekeeping is a cost effective, valuable investment that brings enormous benefits and, above all, saves lives.

Since its beginning in 1948, United Nations peacekeeping has evolved into one of the main tools used by the international community to manage complex crises that threaten international peace and security. Over the past year, the Security Council has established two peacekeeping operations – in Mali and the Central African Republic -- again highlighting its trust in UN peacekeepers to take on tough challenges.

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, which is commemorated each year on the 29th of May, is an occasion to salute the more than 111,000 peacekeepers serving in 16 missions in some of the world’s most volatile and dangerous environments. This Day is also a time to mourn fallen peacekeepers. During its history, more than 3,200 “Blue Helmets” have died devoting their lives to peace, including 106 men and women in 2013.

In the words of the Secretary-General:  “Let us all commit to following the selfless example of our fallen heroes, as we work together to help our blue helmets be a force for peace, a force for change, and a force for the future.”

Currently, UN Peacekeeping operations receive contributions of military and police personnel from 122 Member States. This impressive number reflects strong global confidence in the value of United Nations Peacekeeping as a tool for collective security.

To mark the Day at UN Headquarters, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at 10:00 a.m.   At 10:30 a.m., the Secretary-General will preside over a ceremony at which the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal will be awarded posthumously to the military, police and civilian personnel who lost their lives while serving in peacekeeping operations in 2013.   The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Mr. Herve Ladsous, and the Under-Secretary General for Field Support will hold a press conference at 12:00.

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