For millions in conflict-affected situations around the world, peacekeeping is a necessity and a hope. Let us work together to make peacekeeping more effective in protecting people and advancing peaceUN Secretary-General António Guterres
The United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution 57/129, designated 29 May as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. This is the date when in 1948 the first UN peacekeeping mission named the “United Nations Truce Supervision Organization”, or UNTSO, began operations in the Middle East. This first mission was a deployment of a small number of UN military observers to monitor the Armistice Agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
Since then, more than 1 million men and women have served in 72 UN peacekeeping operations, directly impacting the lives of millions of people, protecting the world’s most vulnerable and saving countless lives. From Cambodia to El Salvador, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Timor Leste, and elsewhere, UN peacekeeping has helped countries move from war to peace.
Today, in 14 peacekeeping operations on four continents, it deploys more than 88,000 military and police personnel — from 124 Member States — nearly 13,000 civilian personnel, and 1,300 UN Volunteers. Despite the size and breadth of its operations, peacekeeping’s budget is less than one half of one percent of global military spending. Peacekeeping has clearly proven to be a solid investment in global peace, security and prosperity.
On this day, we pay tribute to the professionalism, dedication and courage of all the men and women serving in UN peacekeeping operations, and honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace. This year’s peacekeepers’ day was marked by the UN on Friday 24 May at UN Headquarters in New York. Secretary-General António Guterres laid a wreath to honour all fallen peacekeepers and presided over a ceremony for the posthumous award of the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal to 119 military, police and civilian personnel who paid the ultimate price while serving in peacekeeping operations in 2018 and early 2019.
Óglaigh na hÉireann / Irish Defence Forces have been continuously deployed on UN peacekeeping operations since 1958. Ireland is the only nation to have a continuous presence on UN and UN-mandated peace support operations since 1958, with Irish peacekeepers highly respected internationally.
Today we remember all those who lost their lives in the service of peace.