International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers
29 May, 2015
The 29th of May is increasingly being recognised worldwide as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. Today, we celebrate the work of the peacekeepers and their comrades across the world. It is a day to honour the service of peacekeeping personnel, irrespective of national background, for their mission is one that transcends domestic politics.
The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations is currently working on 17 different operations from Haiti (MINUSTAH) to India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP). These missions are engaged in increasingly challenging and life-threatening conditions, spearheaded by the valiant efforts of peacekeeping personnel of which over 40 have been killed this year alone. Yet, this day commemorates a broader remit than the title would suggest. Last year, we detailed this day comprehensively: referencing the context of the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions, and a broad summary of the forward-looking strategy that the international community wanted to implement. It is worth noting, however, that there is a broader framework which supports peacekeeping operations: including international legal institutions, humanitarian aid, and post-conflict state building. The UN is currently conducting reviews of its peacekeeping and peacebuilding operations, both of which are due to report in the coming weeks.
Wilton Park has been working on numerous events over the past year which contributes to the overarching feeling of solidarity on this day. These events focused particularly on peace operations in complex environments, measuring peace consolidation, humanitarian outreach in Syria, peacebuilding in Africa, and European action in fragile and conflict states. Alongside this, our podcasting series has brought together policy-makers on the changing nature of conflict and the UN’s work in some of the toughest working environments on earth.
In terms of our framework within the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), this day galvanises our commitment to the international institutions to which we are members and signatories. Furthermore, it echoes our desire as an organisation to encourage peace, stability, and security internationally through the promotion of British values and respect for human rights.
Lastly, the United Nations is now politically involved in the Helmand province of Afghanistan through the UNAMA mission. Here, the United Kingdom now looks to the legacy and peaceful transition of Afghanistan. We can now look to the future in the knowledge that UN peacekeepers are acting cooperatively in protecting human life wherever it may be.
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