As peacekeeping has evolved to reflect the populations we serve, women have become increasingly part of the peacekeeping family – making operations more effective. Photo: United Nations
 
António Guterres

As we commemorate the 20th anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, we must do more to achieve women’s equal representation in all areas of peace and security. Together, let us continue to wage peace, defeat the pandemic and build a better future.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres
 

2020 Theme: Women in Peacekeeping: A Key to Peace

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, 29 May, offers a chance to pay tribute to the uniformed and civilian personnel’s invaluable contribution to the work of the Organization and to honour more than 3,900 peacekeepers who have lost their lives serving under the UN flag since 1948, including 102 last year.

This year, the challenges and threats faced by our peacekeepers are even greater than ever, as they, like people around the world, are not only having to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, but also support and protect the people in the countries they are based in. They are continuing their operations to the best of their abilities and supporting the governments and the local populations,  despite the risk of COVID-19. 

The theme for this year’s Day is “Women in Peacekeeping: A Key to Peace” to help mark the 20th anniversary of the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.

 

 

Through UNSCR 1325, ensuing resolutions, as well as the Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) Declaration of Shared Commitments, the UN has called for an expansion of the role and contribution of women in its operations, including of uniformed peacekeepers.

Women peacekeepers make invaluable contributions to peacekeeping. They help improve overall peacekeeping performance, have greater access to communities, especially to women, and therefore, help in promoting human rights and protection of civilians. They also encourage women to become a meaningful part of peace and political processes; when diverse women participate in peace negotiations, the quality and durability of peace agreements increases, and when women are signatories of peace agreements, they are more likely to be implemented, which academic research shows helps to ensure sustainable peace and prosperity.

The first UN peacekeeping mission was established on 29 May 1948, when the Security Council authorized the deployment of a small number of UN military observers to the Middle East to form the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) to monitor the Armistice Agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

Since then, more than 1 million women and men have served in 72 UN peacekeeping operations, directly impacting the lives of millions of people and saving countless lives. Today, UN Peacekeeping deploys more than 95,000 military, police and civilian personnel in 13 operations.

To mark the Day at the UN Headquarters in New York, the Secretary-General will lay a wreath in honour of all peacekeepers, who have lost their lives while serving under the UN flag over the past seven decades. And a virtual ceremony will be held at which the Dag Hammarskjold medal will be awarded posthumously to peacekeepers who lost their lives in 2019.  The Peacekeeping Gender Advocate of the Year award will also be presented at the virtual ceremony.

 

Opening remarks by UN Secretary-General António Guterres on the 2020 commemoration

Women Peacekeepers: A Key to Peace

Women in Peacekeeping: A Key to Peace

Click on the image to download a pdf version of the poster.

Two Nigerian peackeepers await an inspection of their base.

In all fields of peacekeeping, women peacekeepers have proven that they can perform the same roles, to the same standards and under the same difficult conditions, as their male counterparts. It is an operational imperative that we recruit and retain female peacekeepers. In 1993, women made up 1% of deployed uniformed personnel. In 2019, out of approximately 95,000 peacekeepers, women constitute 4.7% of military contingents and 10.8% of formed police units in UN Peacekeeping missions. More women in peacekeeping means more effective peacekeeping.

 

To combat the spread of #COVID19, @UNPOL officers in DR Congo are wearing masks to protect themselves & others.

UN Peacekeepers are facing one of their greatest challenges yet - the COVID-19 pandemic. Peacekeepers are assisting governments and local communities in the response to the pandemic and continuing to adapt their activities to execute their mandates, including protecting vulnerable communities. 

Women peacekeepers are on the front lines in this fight and are an integral part of the COVID-19 response, as well as in implementing mission mandates, within current constraints and while taking all precautionary measures.

International days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.