Giorgio Esposito - Comunicazione e giornalismo

29 May as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers
2017 Theme: Investing in Peace around the world

ROMA (Italy) - "On this International Day of UN Peacekeepers we pay tribute to more than 113,000 ‘Blue Helmets’, UN Police and civilian personnel deployed to 16 missions. We acknowledge the contribution made by an ever-growing number of Member States to our operations. Their efforts on behalf of the international community are one of the most concrete expressions of the UN Charter’s determination 'to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war'." (UN Secretary-General António Guterres)

The theme for the 2017 International Day of UN Peacekeepers is “Investing in Peace Around the World.” The Day offers a chance to pay tribute to the uniformed and civilians personnel’s invaluable contribution to the work of the Organization and to honour more than 3,500 peacekeepers who have lost their lives serving under the UN flag since 1948, including 117 last year. Peacekeeping is an investment in global peace, security, and prosperity. It is a flagship enterprise of the United Nations. Today, it deploys more than 113,000 military, police and civilian personnel in 16 peacekeeping operations on four continents. It is a flexible, evolving instrument that brings together political, security and technical tools to assist countries make the difficult transition from conflict to peace.

Over time, peacekeeping has grown from simply monitoring ceasefires to protecting civilians, disarming ex-combatants, protecting human rights, promoting the rule of law, supporting free and fair elections, minimizing the risk of land-mines and so much more. They have also worked to ensure that women are represented in peace processes, political life, and in branches of government including in uniformed services. All of these efforts are fundamental investments in building lasting peace. Despite the breadth of its operations, peacekeeping’s budget is less than one half of one percent of global military spending.

Every mission aims to save lives, prevent mass atrocities, set the stage for peace and then close. In Côte d’Ivoire, the United Nations will complete the peacekeeping phase of its engagement with the country at the end of June after successfully assisting the country in restoring peace and stability following the post-2010 election crisis. In Haiti, MINUSTAH’s mandate will end in October, when a smaller successor peacekeeping mission focusing on the rule of law will begin. The UNMIL peacekeeping mission in Liberia, which has made progress in restoring peace, security and stability in the country, will end next March.

Other mission deployments: In South Sudan, more than 200,000 civilians continue to seek shelter at UN bases. In Mali, the peacekeepers are supporting the implementation of the peace agreement and gradual extension of State authority often under very dangerous conditions. In many countries, peacekeepers have addressed the problems of landmines and explosive remnants of war.

Currently, UN peacekeeping operations receive contributions of military and police personnel from 124 Member States. This impressive number reflects strong global confidence in the value of UN peacekeeping.

While the official International Day of United Nations Peacekeeper’s Day is on 29 May, UN Headquarters in New York will celebrate on 24 May. The Secretary-General will preside over a wreath-laying ceremony in honour of all peacekeepers who have lost their lives while serving under the UN flag. In addition, the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal will be awarded posthumously to the peacekeepers who fell while serving in the cause of peace, in 2016. (Photo UN Press - Credit Italia News)

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Giorgio Esposito - Comunicazione e giornalismo

29 May as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers
Today, more than 105,000 divisional employees are bravely risking their lives
to bring stability to the world's most vulnerable populations

ROMA (Italy) - The United Nations General Assembly designated 29 May as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers - The day has two purposes: to honour the memory of the UN peacekeepers who have lost their lives in the cause of peace to pay tribute to all the men and women who have served and continue to serve in UN Peacekeeping operations for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage. On 29 May, UN offices, alongside Member States and non-governmental organizations, hold solemn events to honour fallen peacekeepers.

United Nations Peacekeeping helps countries torn by conflict create the conditions for lasting peace. We are comprised of civilian, police and military personnel. As of 31 March 2017, our workforce in the field consisted of: 84,533 serving troops and military observers; 11,944 police personnel; 4,784 international civilian personnel (30 November 2016); 9,474 local civilian staff; 1,577 UN Volunteers. 124 countries contributed military and police personnel.

Since the first UN peacekeeping mission was established in 1948, more than 3,220 military, police and civilian personnel have lost their lives in the service of peace as a result of acts of violence, accidents and disease. UN Peacekeeping operations use the Day to strengthen bonds with the local populations that they have been deployed to serve. For example by holding sporting events, school and orphanage visits, art and essay competitions, photo exhibits, neighbourhood clean ups, tree plantings, concerts, and conferences and workshops on peace issues.

For more than 70 years, UN Peacekeeping has proven to be a legitimate, reliable and effective tool in facilitating the transition from conflict to peace. Fifteen years ago, the UN had fewer than 40,000 Military and police personnel. Today, more than 105,000 uniformed personnel from 124 troop- and police-contributing countries serve under the UN flag, along with 18,000 international and national civilian staff and UN Volunteers. They courageously risk their lives in order to bring stability to some of the world’s most vulnerable populations. As the size, complexity and accomplishments of peacekeeping have grown, unfortunately so have the risks as the ‘Blue Helmets’ are increasingly and directly targeted. Last year, the list of fallen numbered 129. These selfless peacekeepers came from 46 countries, and hailed from the ranks of military, police, international civil servants, UN Volunteers and national staff. They all had vastly different backgrounds, but all shared heroism and the belief that UN peacekeeping is, and must, remain a global force for good. We “Honour our Heroes” – the more than one million women and men who have served under the ‘blue flag’ with pride, distinction and courage ever since the first UN peacekeeping mission was deployed in 1948. (Photo UN Press - Credit Italia News)

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Giorgio Esposito - Comunicazione e giornalismo

Women in peacekeeping
Why is it important to have female peacekeepers?

ROMA (Italy) - Female peacekeepers act as role models in the local environment, inspiring women and girls in often male-dominated societies to push for their own rights and for participation in peace processes. The increased recruitment of women is critical for: empowering women in the host community; addressing specific needs of female ex-combatants during the process of demobilizing and reintegration into civilian life; helping make the peacekeeping force approachable to women in the community; interviewing survivors of gender-based violence; mentoring female cadets at police and military academies; interacting with women in societies where women are prohibited from speaking to men.

The presence of women peacekeepers can also: help to reduce conflict and confrontation; improve access and support for local women; provide role models for women in the community; provide a greater sense of security to local populations, including women and children; broaden the skill set available within a peacekeeping mission.

Women are deployed in all areas – police, military and civilian – and have made a positive impact on peacekeeping environments, both in supporting the role of women in building peace and protecting women's rights. In all fields of peacekeeping, women peacekeepers have proven that they can perform the same roles, to the same standards and under the same difficult conditions, as their male counterparts. It is an operational imperative that we recruit and retain female peacekeepers.

In 1993, women made up 1% of deployed uniformed personnel. In 2014, out of approximately 125,000 peacekeepers, women constitute 3% of military personnel and 10% of police personnel in UN Peacekeeping missions. While the UN encourages and advocates for the deployment of women to uniformed functions, the responsibility for deployment of women in the police and military lies with Member States. UN Police Division launched 'the Global Effort' to recruit more female police officers into national police services and into UN police operations around the world. Striving towards gender parity amongst UN staff is a priority for the UN Secretary-General. At the UN Headquarters in 2012, 48 per cent of staff were women and 52 per cent men, with the most disparity showing at the mid and senior levels.

In peacekeeping operations and special political missions, the figures are more challenging, with women making up only 29 percent of international and 17 per cent of national staff. (Photo UN Press - Credit Italia News)

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