UN70 and UN Peacekeeping: Past, Present, and Future

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29 May 2015 – Today is the International Day of UN Peacekeepers, during which we salute the peacekeepers who serve in some of the world’s most volatile and dangerous environments.

In the year of the UN’s 70th anniversary, this observance offers us a chance to honour the Blue Helmets’ invaluable contribution to the proud history of the Organization and to reaffirm our commitment to make them even more effective in the years ahead.

It is also a time to mourn fallen peacekeepers. In the UN’s history, more than 3,300 Blue Helmets have died devoting their lives to peace, including 126 men and women in 2014.

The past, the present and the future

Throughout its history, the UN has established a total of 71 peacekeeping operations.

This peacekeeping has evolved since its first deployment in 1948. Traditional interstate monitoring and observation peacekeeping operations dominated the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

Several failures of the 1990s (Somalia, Bosnia, Rwanda) led to a fundamental review of peacekeeping, which were outlined in the 2000 Report by the Panel on UN Peace Operations (Brahimi Report).

Today’s diverse and complex multidimensional peace operations emphasize a demand-driven approach that maximizes the peacekeeping partnership and employs specialized capabilities while promoting the highest standards of performance in our military, police and civilian personnel.

Tomorrow’s peacekeepers will have to operate in remote and dangerous environments while confronting transnational and asymmetric threats in an era of likely fiscal austerity.

In this context, success will require a new approach that leverages innovation and modern technology to ensure that 21st century Blue Helmets are truly fit for purpose.

“Let us all do our part to ensure effectiveness of this flagship enterprise of the Organization”

In a message for the day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon echoes this, stating “Today UN peacekeeping is adapting to new global realities, including asymmetric threats in some of the world’s most challenging environments.”

“We have modernized our operations, introduced new technologies, broadened our base of contributors and strengthened our partnerships with regional organizations.”

“At the same time, demands far outpace resources. We need better funding, training and equipment.”

Mr Ban continues “Today, we honour the memory of those who gave their lives to the cause of peace, and pay tribute to all men and women who carry on their legacy by serving in the field.”

“As we commemorate seven decades of the United Nations, let us all do our part to ensure effectiveness of this flagship enterprise of the Organization.”

More information

To discover more about today’s observance, consult the dedicated website.

Show your support for UN Peacekeepers by tweeting using the hashtags #Together4Peace or #PKDay and follow UN Peacekeeping on Twitter.