The General Assembly, in its resolution 57/129, designated 29 May as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. This is the date when in 1948 the first UN peacekeeping mission, United Nations Truce Supervision Organization, or UNTSO, began operations in the Middle East.
As this year marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (UNSCR1325), the theme for Peacekeepers’ Day 2020 is “Women in Peacekeeping – A Key to Peace.” Women peacekeepers are essential for promoting sustainable peace and help in improving overall peacekeeping performance.
2020 Theme: “Women in Peacekeeping – A Key to Peace”
Through UNSCR1325, ensuing resolutions and the Action for Peacekeeping initiative (A4P), the UN has called for an expansion of the role and contribution of women in its operations, including of uniformed peacekeepers. In this context, promoting the participation of women, both in peacekeeping and within the societies in which we serve, is at the centre of our efforts.
UN Peacekeepers are facing one of their greatest challenges yet – the COVID-19 pandemic. Peacekeepers are assisting governments and local communities in the response to the pandemic and are continuing to adapt their activities to execute their mandates, including protecting vulnerable communities. Women peacekeepers are on the front lines in this fight, and we are grateful for their dedication and sacrifices in supporting COVID-19 response efforts as well as in implementing mission mandates, within current constraints and amid difficult circumstances.
Throughout May, our digital platforms will highlight the invaluable contributions of women peacekeepers. For example, we feature one job each day held by a woman peacekeeper to show their unique and diverse roles in peacekeeping. Our digital campaign kicked off with an Instagram Live conversation on the COVID-19 impact on work and life with Lt. Dr. Arya Khadka, Nepali peacekeeper of MINUSCA. Subsequent Instagram Live interviews featured Sanam Dolatshahi, spokesperson for UNMIK, and Nigerian Police Officer Gladys Edegware of MONUSCO.
Due to COVID-19 limitations in place, the International Day of UN Peacekeepers will be celebrated at UNHQ through virtual events this year. On Friday, 29 May, the Secretary-General will lay a wreath in honour of all peacekeepers, who have lost their lives while serving under the UN flag. A virtual ceremony will thereafter be held at which the Dag Hammarskjold medal will be awarded posthumously to 83 military, police and civilian peacekeepers who lost their lives in 2019. The Secretary-General will preside over the ceremony which will be webcast live on webtv.un.org. A Note to Correspondents is available here.
Commander Carla Monteiro de Castro Araujo, a Brazilian Naval officer working in the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and Major Suman Gawani of the Indian Army, a Military Observer formerly deployed with the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), will receive the Military Gender Advocate of the Year award during the online ceremony. Read more here.
The Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix will also hold a press conference during the daily noon briefing on 29 May.
Join the conversation
Follow @UNPeacekeeping on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and use the hashtags #womeninpeacekeeping and #PKday to share your own content.
Campaign material with GIFs, infographics, videos and other visuals is available on Trello.
- Instagram and Facebook filter: You can also use our Peacekeepers’ Day filter. Make sure to tag us, so we can repost. Here's how:
- GIPHY stickers: We have developed GIPHY stickers for Instagram Stories. They will pop up when you search for “peacekeeping” in the GIPHY section of Instagram Stories. They can also be used as normal GIFs on other social media platforms.