UN Peacekeeping turns 75: 'Peace begins with me'
“For 75 years, UN Peacekeeping has helped to end conflict, protect civilians, advance political solutions, and secure sustainable peace,” said Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations.
“Peacekeepers are ordinary people working in difficult and dangerous conditions to achieve extraordinary outcomes for the communities they serve,” he said. “The results of their efforts to help countries navigate the difficult path from war to peace can be found in countries like Liberia, Namibia, Cambodia, Sierra Leone, and Timor-Leste.”
Part of a year-long global campaign, the exhibit theme “Peace Begins with Me” seeks to demonstrate the powerful impact of UN peacekeeping and its partners on the lives of millions of people caught up in catastrophic conflict.
Featuring a curated collection of peacekeepers in action from the very first deployment of military observers to the Middle East in 1948, through to the current 12 missions in operation, the images document the complex and diverse work performed by peacekeeping personnel in some of the world’s most fragile political and security situations.
From UN protection of civilians’ camps that saved tens of thousands of lives in South Sudan to elections in DR Congo and critical demining efforts in Cyprus, the photos capture the indispensable support that "blue helmets", police, and civilian peacekeepers provide to communities in need.
“We are not alone in our endeavors,” the UN peacekeeping chief said. “Many partners work alongside us in a collective effort for peace, including local communities, women and youth, civil society, humanitarians, host governments, troop and police contributing countries and Member States. We thank them for their support throughout the history of peacekeeping and urge them to continue that commitment as the challenges we face are greater than ever.”
Peacekeeping at 75
The “Peace Begins with Me” exhibit opened on Monday at the General Assembly Visitor’s Lobby at UN Headquarters in New York and will be on display until 6 June. The exhibit, also available online here, reflects on peacekeepers’ sacrifice, their myriad achievements, and their legacy. Here’s are some of UN peacekeeping’s key contributions.
- UN Peace Operations encompass activities that cover civilian protection, conflict prevention, and promoting human rights.
- UN peacekeeping missions are also mandated to deliver field support, empower women, and buttress security institutions in countries they serve.
- Since 1948, more than two million peacekeepers from 125 countries have served, in 71 different operations.
- In 2023, more than 87,000 women and men work to build peace in hotspots across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.
- More than 4,200 peacekeepers have selflessly given their lives, serving under the UN flag.
- Find out more about UN Peace Operations here.