Statement by Ambassador Hjálmar W. Hannesson
Permanent Representative of Iceland to the United Nations
On behalf of the Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Commemorative meeting for the sixtieth anniversary of peacekeeping
Deputy Secretary General,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Western European and Others Group (WEOG).
This year marks the 60th anniversary of United Nations peacekeeping. Today's Commemorative Meeting underlines this milestone and we warmly welcome the resolution and declaration submitted for the consideration of the General Assembly on this occasion.
United Nations peacekeeping is a unique and dynamic tool that continues to be among key instruments available to the United Nations in discharging their responsibility under the Charter of the United Nations in the maintenance of international peace and security.
During these six decades, peacekeeping has developed into the flagship activity of the United Nations, helping to restore peace and stability and bringing hope to millions of people in conflict zones around the world. Indeed, the blue helmet worn by our peacekeepers has become a tangible symbol of the UN for the most vulnerable. UN Peacekeeping also symbolizes the solidarity of the international community by bringing together nations from various regions and cultures to help other nations recovering from the scourges of war. Today, more than half of the UN Member States contribute personnel to UN peacekeeping operations, and of course all Member States contribute financially to peacekeeping efforts. As we speak, the United Nations has more than 110.000 dedicated men and women deployed in peacekeeping operations, around the world.
From a rather modest enterprise, which started in 1948 with the establishment of the UN Truce Supervision Organization, peacekeeping has evolved to the large and complex multidimensional peace operations that we know today. As the nature of conflicts changed, peacekeeping has adapted accordingly. Current peacekeeping operations involve a multitude of tasks to ensure effective UN response to the needs and expectations of countries and populations affected by conflict, and thus help pave the way for sustainable peace and development. We must continue to build on past successes, learn from the challenges we have faced, and keep strengthening this uniquely valuable instrument.
Today, we pay tribute to the invaluable contribution of the hundreds of thousands of men and women who have served as UN peacekeepers in more than 60 peacekeeping missions. Over these six decades, more than two thousand and four hundred men and women have lost their lives serving the cause of peace under the UN banner. We reaffirm our commitment to UN peacekeeping in honour of their memory.
I thank you Mr. Presisent,