75th Anniversary of Peacekeeping celebrated in Egypt
18 July 2023
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UN in Egypt organized a high-level event in recognition of Egyptian peacekeepers’ exceptional contributions and sacrifice.
Cairo, Egypt - The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UN in Egypt celebrated the 75th anniversary of UN Peacekeeping on Monday, 17 July, with a high-level event taking place at the Ministry’s premises in Cairo, reflecting high recognition of peacekeepers ’extraordinary contributions to international peace and security.
Attended by the Egyptian Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for Multilateral Affairs and International Security Ambassador Ihab Badawi, the UN Resident Coordinator in Egypt, Elena Panova and a wide range of members of the diplomatic community in Egypt along with Egyptian female and male peacekeepers and their families, the event provided an opportunity to honor the service and sacrifice of Egyptian women and men in peacekeeping.
The celebration started with a screening of the UN Secretary-General’s message on Peacekeeping Day 2023, in which he honoured peacekeepers extraordinary contributions to international peace and security and expressed his sympathy and solidarity with their families, friends and colleagues. “United Nations peacekeepers are the beating heart of our commitment to a more peaceful world. For 75 years, they have supported people and communities rocked by conflict and upheaval across the globe,” the Secretary-General said. “Today, on the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, we honour their extraordinary contributions to international peace and security.”
Egypt is among key supporters of the UN Secretary-General’s Action for Peace (A4P) initiative aimed at reforming peacekeeping and making the operations more effective. In November 2018, Egypt held a high-level international conference with the aim of improving the impact and performance of UN Peacekeeping operations. The first of its kind since the A4P launch, the conference resulted in the “Cairo Roadmap for Peacekeeping Operations” outlining a workplan as well as a balanced executive framework for shared commitments in relation to the UN Secretary-General’s initiative, and it was eventually adopted by the African Union in 2020.
“Egypt has a long-standing belief in the vital role of UN Peacekeeping in upholding international peace and security. Egypt’s contributions have increased incrementally overtime, making it one of the major peacekeeping contributors of military and police personnel. Since 1960, Egypt has contributed more than 30,000 of uniformed peacekeepers who served in 38 UN operations deployed in 24 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe. Furthermore, Egypt has been playing a key role and providing valuable contributions when it comes to developing conceptual aspects of peacekeeping and peacebuilding.”
The 6th largest contributor of uniformed personnel to UN Peacekeeping, Egypt currently deploys more than 2,800 military and police personnel to the UN peace operations in Abyei, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, South Sudan, and the Western Sahara.
These contributions were highlighted during the event through video documentaries by the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Interior and Cairo International Center for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding.
The celebration also shed light on the need for more women in peacekeeping as key for more efficient peacekeeping operations, an area where Egypt has been an active player, with Egyptian female peacekeepers serving as role models in the peacekeeping missions where they serve.
“Egypt supports peacekeeping in the most direct way and in so doing it walks the talk. As per the end of April, Egypt was contributing more than 2,800 men and women peacekeepers in the line of duty. These brave women and men serve in some of the most challenging situations on this globe. And some of them pay the highest price, giving their life in the pursuit of peace,” said the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Egypt, Elena Panova. “Indeed, today we remember the Egyptian Blue Helmets that made the ultimate sacrifice in service of humanity.”
The celebration recognized injured Egyptian peacekeepers for their dedication and selflessness and paid tribute to their fallen colleagues who made the ultimate sacrifice in pursuit of peace, while serving under the UN flag. 10 families of injured and fallen Egyptian peacekeepers received honorary certificates from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UN in Egypt.
In 1948, the historic decision was made to deploy military observers to the Middle East to supervise the implementation of Israel-Arab Armistice Agreements, in what became the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization.
Since that time, more than two million peacekeepers from 125 countries have since served in 71 operations around the world. Today, 87,000 women and men are serving in 12 conflict zones across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.
The theme of the 75th anniversary “Peace begins with me” recognizes the service and sacrifice of peacekeepers, past and present, including more than 4200 who have given their lives under the UN flag. It also pays tribute to the resilience of the communities that we serve, who continue to strive for peace despite many obstacles.