Secretary-General to Visit Troops in Mali, as Headquarters Observes International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, 29 May

24 May 2018

Secretary-General to Visit Troops in Mali, as Headquarters Observes International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, 29 May

On Tuesday, 29 May, the United Nations will commemorate the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.  Today, more than 96,000 uniformed personnel from 124 troop- and police‑contributing countries serve under the blue flag, alongside more than 15,000 international and national civilian staff and nearly 1,600 United Nations Volunteers.

In his message to mark the Day, Secretary‑General António Guterres announced that he will spend the Day with United Nations peacekeepers in Mali “to express my solidarity with colleagues facing high casualties and enormous volatility”.

This year also marks the seventieth anniversary of the establishment of United Nations peacekeeping, the flagship enterprise of the Organization described by the Secretary‑General as “a proven investment in global peace, security and prosperity”.  “We express our gratitude to the more than 1 million men and women who have served under the UN flag, saving countless lives.  We honour the more than 3,700 Blue Helmets who have paid the ultimate price.  And we pay tribute to the 14 peacekeeping missions working around the clock to protect people and advance the cause of peace,” according to Mr. Guterres.

At a time of increasingly complex conflicts and rising peacekeeper fatalities, the Secretary‑General said:  “As we recognize a legacy of service and sacrifice around the world, I am also committed to taking Action for Peacekeeping — action to make our operations more effective and safer in today’s challenging environments.”

Upon his return from Mali, the Secretary‑General will preside over the observance of the International Day of Peacekeepers at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Friday, 1 June.  He will lay a wreath to honour those who lost their lives while in the service of peace and will also officiate at a ceremony to posthumously present the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal to 127 military, police and civilian personnel who lost their lives in peacekeeping operations during 2017.

Jean‑Pierre Lacroix, Under‑Secretary‑General for Peacekeeping Operations, said:  “Our peacekeepers — civilian, police, men and women, military personnel — save lives every day.  Today, we honour those who have sacrificed their lives in service to peace.  Their service and sacrifice inspires us to work harder to support a sustainable peace in some of the world’s most complex and challenging places.”

“We owe a debt of gratitude to the brave men and women who risk their lives every day in service to others, and we grieve with the families and nations of our fallen colleagues,” said Under‑Secretary‑General for Field Support, Atul Khare.  “But beyond gratitude, we owe our peacekeepers all the support we can muster to ensure they are well equipped, well trained and well prepared to complete their missions successfully.”

The General Assembly established the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers in 2002 to pay tribute to all men and women serving in peacekeeping, and to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.  The Assembly designated 29 May as the Day because it was the date in 1948 when the first United Nations peacekeeping mission — the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization — began operations in the Middle East.

Schedule of Events at Headquarters on 1 June

9:30 a.m.:  The Secretary‑General will lay a wreath in honour of all fallen peacekeepers at the Peacekeepers’ Memorial Site on the North Lawn.  The ceremony is open to United Nations‑accredited media.  The event cannot be webcast live for technical reasons, but a recording will be available later in the morning as a “recent on‑demand video” at  If there is inclement weather, the ceremony will be held in the Visitors’ Lobby near the Chagall window.

10 a.m.:  The Secretary‑General will preside over the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal ceremony in the Economic and Social Council Chamber.  It will be broadcast live at

12:00 p.m.:  Under‑Secretary‑General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean‑Pierre Lacroix and Under‑Secretary-General for Field Support Atul Khare will be guests at the Noon Briefing.

3 p.m.:  The United Nations Headquarters Medal Parade will be held at the General Assembly Plaza for the military and police officers currently serving in the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support.  The Plaza is outdoors, alongside the east side of the General Assembly Building.

4:30.:  The Under‑Secretaries‑General of Peacekeeping Operations, Field Support and Public Information will open a multimedia exhibit titled:  “UN Peacekeepers — 70 Years of Service and Sacrifice” in the Visitors’ Lobby of the United Nations General Assembly Building.  United Nations‑accredited media are welcome.

For further information, please contact Douglas Coffman, Department of Public Information, at tel.:  +1 212 963 4481, or e‑mail:; or Aditya Mehta of Peacekeeping Operations, at tel.:  +1 917 367 5378 or e‑mail:; or visit the Peacekeepers Day website at, or the United Nations Peacekeeping website at

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For information media. Not an official record.