Lahore - On the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers – commemorated on 29 May – the world offers tribute to the uniformed and civilian personnel’s and their vital contribution to the work of the UN and to honour more than 3,900 peacekeepers who have lost their lives serving under the UN flag since 1948, including 102 last year.

On Wednesday Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres emphasised 2020’s theme by saying “as we commemorate the 20th anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, we must do more to achieve women’s equal representation in all areas of peace and security. Together, let us continue to wage peace, defeat the pandemic and build a better future.”

During a visit to Pakistan earlier in the year, the UN chief also met and thanked Pakistani peacekeepers for their service and sacrifice, adding that Pakistan has always been a consistent and reliable contributors to global peacekeeping efforts.  

Pakistan has a long history with UN peacekeeping, having been one of the largest contributor s of troops and police for decades. Pakistani women and men currently serve in seven UN operations, with the vast majority of them deployed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Darfur region of Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR). In January the first ever Pakistani Female Engagement team in any UN mission around the world received UN medals for serving in the Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).

As of February 2018, Pakistan is the fifth largest contributor of uniformed personnel to United Nations peacekeeping, with more than 6,000 men and women serving under the UN flag.

The first UN peacekeeping mission was established on 29 May 1948, when the Security Council authorised 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.

Since then, more than 1 million women and men have served in 72 UN peacekeeping operations, directly impacting the lives of millions of people and saving countless lives. Today, UN Peacekeeping deploys more than 95,000 military, police and civilian personnel in 13 operations.

To mark the Day at the UN Headquarters in New York, the Secretary-General will lay a wreath in honour of all peacekeepers, who have lost their lives while serving under the UN flag over the past seven decades. And a virtual ceremony will be held at which the Dag Hammarskjold medal will be awarded posthumously to peacekeepers who lost their lives in 2019.  The Peacekeeping Gender Advocate of the Year award will also be presented at the virtual ceremony.