In 2019, 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. In addition, a significant number of UN Volunteer Movement Control Officers and Air Operations Assistants provide technical support to facilitate and coordinate the movements of peacekeepers and civilian personnel of the missions.
UN peacekeeping operations traditionally rely on military personnel. Over the last 25 years, police and civilian functions have exponentially grown as a response to new conflicts and emerging threats to peace around the world, but also in response to calls for a stronger “people focus” of peace operations. UN operations are now tasked with maintaining peace but also supporting institutions of governance, human rights monitoring, security sector reform, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants and other critical areas in order to build a truly sustainable peace.
Not a day goes by without our world being confronted with the suffering of millions of people because of the ravage of armed conflict and war. The peaceful resolution of conflict and the maintenance of international peace and security are amongst the principle reasons why the United Nations was established. Peacebuilding is at the heart of the UN’s work and continues to be a pressing priority for all UN Member States (A/69/968–S/2015/490).
The UN Secretary-General laid a wreath to commemorate those who have fallen while serving in United Nations peacekeeping operations over the last year. In addition, the Secretary-General presided over the ceremony at which the Dag Hammarskjöld medals were awarded posthumously to 117 military, police, international and national civilian personnel, including UN Volunteers, who perished in the service of peace.
Three UN Volunteers were among this year's Dag Hammarskjöld medal recipients.
Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo: Since November 2014, I have been assigned with the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO) as a United Nations Volunteer Associate Civil Affairs Officer. Civil Affairs appealed to me because it works at the most local level, with a strong emphasis on field presence. I work in the area of Protection of Civilians (POC), one of the key priorities in MONUSCOs mandate.
The UN sets aside 29 May as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers to honour the memory of UN peacekeepers who have lost their lives in the cause of peace. The Day is also to pay tribute to the estimated one million men and women who have served and continue to serve under the blue flag with professionalism, dedication and courage since the first UN peacekeeping mission was deployed in 1948.
The UN held a wreath-laying ceremony at its headquarters on 19 May to mark the 2016 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. May 29 is set aside by the General Assembly as the day to honour fallen UN peacekeepers as well as the men and women who served and continue to serve in UN peacekeeping operations. This year the theme is "Honouring Our Heroes".
Kigali, Rwanda: 19 815 is the number of peacekeepers deployed to the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). Sent by 52 troop-contributing countries, contingents are deployed for a period that varies from six to eight months before being replaced with a new contingent. The deployment and repatriation of contingents take place in Entebbe, Bujumbura or Kigali, where MONUSCO has MovCon liaison offices.