Since its beginning in 1948, United Nations peacekeeping has evolved into one of the main tools used by the international community to manage complex crises that threaten international peace and security.
The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, which is commemorated each year on the 29th of May, is an occasion to salute the 120,000 peacekeepers serving in 17 missions in some of the world’s most volatile and dangerous environments. This Day is also a time to mourn fallen peacekeepers. During its history, nearly 3,000 “Blue Helmets” have died devoting their lives to peace, including 112 men and women in 2011.
This year, the United Nations is marking the Day by highlighting the global partnerships that help sustain UN Peacekeeping and make it the success that it is.
United Nations Peacekeeping draws together the legal and political authority of the Security Council, the personnel and financial contributions of Member States, the support of host countries and the accumulated experience of the Secretariat in managing operations in the field. It is this partnership that gives UN Peacekeeping its legitimacy, sustainability and global reach.
Currently, UN Peacekeeping operations receive contributions of military and police personnel from 116 Member States. This impressive number reflects growing global confidence in the value of United Nations Peacekeeping as a tool for collective security. It also demonstrates the strength and breadth of the partnership that the UN Organization has with the countries, large and small, that make it up.
In addition to those partnerships with individual Member States, United Nations Peacekeeping works closely with UN agencies, funds and programmes in support of humanitarian and development work on the ground. Creative partnerships with international and regional organizations are also becoming a regular feature in UN Peacekeeping to create a common vision, build capacity and share costs. A recent example includes the African Union (AU) in the work of the joint African Union – United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur. Working together to address threats to global security and to save lives they are a beacon of hope to millions of people around the world.