[Dateline: New York | Author: DPKO]
United Nations peacekeeping operations around the world will mark the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers on 29 May 2009.
At Headquarters in New York, observance of the day will begin at 9:15 a.m. with a wreath laying ceremony at the Headquarters Lobby, followed by the Dag Hammarskjöld Award Ceremony in the Trusteeship Council, where the Secretary-General will award medals to remember all those who lost their lives while serving in UN peacekeeping operations during the past year. The medals will be received by representatives of the respective Permanent Missions.
In 2008, over 130 peacekeepers from over 42 countries lost their lives while serving in peacekeeping operations.
This year’s theme, “Women in Peacekeeping: the Power to Empower,” recognizes the crucial peacekeeping tasks carried out by women, in helping countries torn by conflict to create conditions for lasting peace. More and more women are joining peacekeeping operations as civilians, police advisers and military personnel.
A photo exhibition, under the name of this year’s theme, will be formally launched in the South Gallery of the Headquarters Visitor’s Lobby at 2:00 p.m. on 29 May. This multimedia exhibition demonstrates how the role of women in peacekeeping continues to evolve, both conceptually and operationally, to meet new challenges and better serve the host communities they are there to help.
"This year we particularly want to honor our women peacekeepers. They demonstrate not only that they can perform the same tasks as their male counterparts but that they also bring a different and valuable perspective that helps us be more effective in tackling the many challenges of today’s peacekeeping operations,” explained Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy.
Separate events commemorating the day have also been planned by peacekeeping missions throughout the world. In some places, local authorities and the local population will join UN staff in paying tribute to the hard work, professionalism and dedication of the peacekeepers working in the host countries. Outreach activities with local communities have also been planned.
The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers was established in 2002, when the General Assembly adopted Resolution 57/129 (A/RES/57/129), which selected 29 May as the day to be observed annually to pay tribute to all the men and women who have served and continue to serve in UN peacekeeping and to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.
Please visit the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers web site for more information.