For nearly half a century, the lives,
security and future of countless individuals across the globe have depended on United
Nations peacekeeping efforts, and on the peacekeepers participating in them.
Today, we express our gratitude to all
those who have served the United Nations in the cause of peace. Over 750 000 men and women
have served in UN peacekeeping operations. More than 1500 have lost their lives; many more
have been wounded. This solemn meeting of the Security Council is held in tribute to their
service and sacrifice.
Today, the Council is establishing the
Dag Hammarskj÷ld Medal in recognition and commemoration of those who have lost their life
as a result of service in peacekeeping operations under the operational control and
authority of the United Nations. The medal is named after Dag Hammarskj÷ld, the second
Secretary-General of this organisation, who greatly contributed to the development of the
concept of peacekeeping operations, whose own commitment to the cause of peacekeeping was
unwavering, and who lost his life while on mission to one of the many countries in which
the United Nations has tried to build peace.
As we honour those who have died in
United Nations peacekeeping operations, we must never forget our responsibility as members
of the Security Council towards those participating in the operations whose mandates we
establish. The Security Council must continue to ensure the proper discharge of its
mandates and take every possible measure to enhance the safety and security of all those
serving the United Nations in conflict situations. This we owe those men and women who are
prepared to risk their lives for peace.
Dag Hammarskj÷ld once wrote that
"no life was more satisfying than one of selfless service to your country - or
humanity. This service required a sacrifice of all personal interests, but likewise the
courage to stand up unflinchingly for your convictions." His life and death are
perhaps a fitting symbol of what we honour today: commitment, service and sacrifice.