I am honoured to participate in today’s United Nations Headquarters Service Medal ceremony.
Many people say that, “UN Peacekeeping is one big family.” Usually this refers to the wonderful spirit of community and camaraderie which exists among our colleagues and our staff. But our guests today are a reminder of the fundamental fact that peacekeepers also have personal families present here today.
We should welcome them, and I am delighted to warmly welcome these family members to the United Nations. I thank you for supporting your loved ones in their invaluable service to the United Nations. I know that you take great pride – as we do – in their many accomplishments.
On behalf of the Secretary-General and the entire United Nations, I applaud and commend all those we honour today. You are decorated for your service at Headquarters – but I would also like to thank you for the professionalism you have displayed in the field before being posted to New York, and of course in your own countries. But let us remember always that it is in the field – in the realities of the world – that we are ultimately challenged and tested.
United Nations peacekeeping is a flagship enterprise of this great institution -- with nearly 100,000 uniformed personnel now bringing greater stability to some of the toughest and most difficult security environments on earth.
Our brave women and men serving under the UN Flag require strong and steady support and guidance. You here at Headquarters play an invaluable role in setting up operations, generating troops and providing strategic direction. You constantly have to respond to emerging threats, sudden emergencies and other often dramatically changing conditions.
With your knowledge, your expertise and your hard work, UN Peacekeeping continues to grow, professionalize and modernize.
As you know, the Security Council recently established two new peacekeeping missions -- in Mali and the Central African Republic. These operations have a crucial role to protect civilians, restore stability and lay the foundations for long-term peace.
So on behalf of the Secretary-General, your colleagues, family and friends, I extend my warmest congratulations to our 43 military and police medal recipients today. I am certain that this is just one more milestone, one more well-deserved recognition in your distinguished careers.
I thank you for your service to the United Nations and the people we all are to serve in the spirit of the UN Charter, that has always recalled the first words of the Charter, “We the peoples of the United Nations”. I thank you.