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Director-General's remarks at the Commemoration of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers

Tatiana Valovaya


The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers 

Friday, 31 May 2024 at 3.00 p.m., UN Memorial, Ariana Park

Delivered on behalf of the Director-General by Ms. Alessandra Vellucci, Director, United Nations Information Service, United Nations Office at Geneva



UN peacekeepers, 

Students from schools in France,

Dear colleagues, 

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

It is a great honor to join you today for the International Day of UN Peacekeepers and to deliver remarks on behalf of the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, Ms. Tatiana Valovaya, who could not join us on this solemn occasion. 

United Nations peacekeepers embody humanity’s highest ideal: peace. Every year we come together to remember and honour more than 4,300 UN peacekeepers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of peace. We also pay tribute to over one million UN uniformed and civilian personnel who have served and continue to serve under the UN flag with selfless determination in some of the world’s most challenging hotspots. 

I invite you all to join me in a minute of silence to remember those who lost their lives in the service of peace.

Peacekeeping is among the most noble and crucial duties of the United Nations. It is at the very heart of our Organization which was created to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”.

At present, more than 76,000 uniformed and civilian personnel are currently deployed in 11 missions around the world. This engagement is a symbol of the unwavering determination to protect the weak, restore stability and build bridges among communities torn apart by violent conflicts. 

Today, we are privileged to have representatives of troop-contributing countries, including Nepal. Nepal is currently the number one contributor of uniformed personnel to UN peacekeeping missions, with more than 6,000 peacekeepers serving in several conflict zones around the world, including South Sudan, Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

I wish to take this opportunity to thank our host country, Switzerland, represented by Ambassador Jürg Lauber and Major General Germaine Seewer today, for its multifaceted contributions to UN peacekeeping missions, including by providing military observers and other experts to UN peacekeeping missions, and by hosting international training programmes for peacekeepers from various countries.


Ladies and Gentlemen, 

Since the establishment of the first peacekeeping mission in the Middle East in 1948, UN peacekeepers have contributed to restoring and maintaining peace in numerous conflict zones around the world.

As we look ahead, our focus is on building a modern and effective operational peace architecture, encompassing peacebuilding and long-term socio-economic development. As we all know, building peace is about much more than ending war. It involves rebuilding trust within communities, supporting the establishment of functional governance and judicial systems, and promoting human rights. By engaging in activities such as disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of former combatants, UN peacekeepers help lay the groundwork for lasting peace and development in the context of post-conflict recovery. 

It is well-known that peace, development and human rights are interlinked and mutually reinforcing. Here in Geneva, the UN family works for peace every day, forging multilateral solutions to address root causes and drivers of conflicts, such as inequality, marginalization, and environmental degradations. 

The New Agenda for Peace, presented by the Secretary-General to the General Assembly last year, is also about putting conflict prevention at the centre of policymaking and programming. As the Secretary-General said, “instead of responding to crises, we need to invest far more in prevention. Prevention works, saves lives and is cost-effective.”


Ladies and gentlemen, 

The theme of this year’s commemoration is “Fit for the future, Building better together.” Over the past 76 years, the UN peacekeeping has been a collective endeavour. It is well-known that lasting peace can only be achieved through a meaningful participation of all stakeholders, including women, in negotiating and implementing peace agreements. Multilateral and inclusive partnerships are therefore key in creating conducive conditions for sustainable peace and development.

Today is a good opportunity to remind ourselves that building peace is a responsibility that belongs to us all – individually and collectively. In this difficult and divided moment, let us recommit to building peace worldwide, together, for present and future generations. 

Thank you.


This speech is part of a curated selection from various official events and is posted as prepared.