The Day, 29 May, offers a chance to pay tribute to the contributions of uniformed and civilian personnel to the work of the Organization and to honour more than 3,700 peacekeepers who have lost their lives serving under the UN flag since 1948, including 129 who died last year.
This year, the United Nations celebrates the 70th anniversary of UN peacekeeping, the theme for this year is “70 Years of Service and Sacrifice".
The first UN peacekeeping mission was established on 29 May 1948, when the Security Council authorized the deployment of a small number of UN military observers to the Middle East to form the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) to monitor the Armistice Agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbours.
Over seven decades, more than one million men and women have served under the United Nations flag in 71 peacekeeping operations, directly impacting the lives of hundreds of millions of people, protecting the world’s most vulnerable and saving countless lives.
Our peacekeepers make immense sacrifices, often serving at great personal risk and under challenging conditions. The families of peacekeepers and their governments share this sacrifice.
Today, UN peacekeeping deploys more than 100,000 military, police and civilian personnel in 14 peacekeeping operations on four continents.
While the International Day of United Nations Peacekeeper’s Day is 29 May, UN Headquarters in New York will celebrate it this year on 1 June. The Secretary-General will preside over a wreath-laying ceremony in honour of all peacekeepers who have lost their lives while serving under the UN flag.
In addition, the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal will be awarded posthumously to the peacekeepers who died in 2017 while serving in the cause of peace.