The General Assembly designated May 29th as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers by adopting resolution 57/129 in 2002. Today, we recognise the more than 88,000 troops and police from 124 countries, joined by nearly 14,000 civilians, who are deployed to UN peacekeeping missions around the world. Over the past decades, UN Volunteers have been part of these important efforts to support peacekeeping operations in war-torn areas. Watch our historic video on UN Volunteers in Peacekeeping to see where and how.
This year’s theme for Peacekeepers Day is “Protecting Civilians, Protecting Peace”, which marks the 20th anniversary of the first time that the Security Council explicitly mandated a peacekeeping mission (UNAMSIL in Sierra Leone) to protect civilians. Civilian populations, especially women and children, are the ones who suffer the most when armed conflict, political strife and social upheavals break out.
Currently, over 1,500 UN Volunteers are assigned to peacekeeping operations worldwide, of which 1,317 are serving in Africa. In West and Central Africa specifically, they play an active role to protect the most vulnerable, through various assignments in Human Rights, Civil Affairs, Political Affairs and Logistics.
UN Volunteers serving with UN Peacekeeping missions reinforce efforts to foster peace, by combining the powers of peacekeeping and volunteering. Our strong partnership started in 1992. With around 1,800 UN Volunteers deployed on average every year, these dedicated professionals have been at the forefront of UN peacekeeping operations for nearly three decades.
UN Volunteers are currently serving across nine UN peacekeeping missions in: Afghanistan (UNAMA), Abyei (UNISFA), Central African Republic (MINUSCA), Darfur/Sudan (UNAMID), Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), Haiti (MINUJUSTUH), Kosovo (UNMIK), Mali (MINUSMA), South Sudan (UNMISS), and Western Sahara (MINURSO).
With a view to leaving no one behind in the promotion of peace, UNV encourages the participation of women in Peacekeeping Missions - like UN Volunteer Lucy Tabot Akabum, Human Rights Officer with MONUSCO and Ia Saakadze an international UN Volunteer Air Operations Assistant with UNMISS .
To date, 36 percent of all UNV assignments in peacekeeping are carried out by women, and UNV continuously strives to increase this ratio. This is why, this year our social media campaign focuses on these women UN Volunteers who are #ProtectingPeace with different peacekeeping mission around the world.