European Union External Action

A tribute to peacekeepers and marking women’s essential role to peace

29/05/2020 - 08:03
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On International Day of UN Peacekeepers we pay tribute to the invaluable work of peacekeepers and honour those who have lost their lives while on duty. The EU works closely with the UN on peacekeeping and civilian, police and military crisis management, to enhance security both inside and outside the EU. The EU and the UN also aim to increase participation of women in peace operations. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the challenges and threats faced by peacekeepers are even greater than ever, as they are not only having to cope with the pandemic, but also with supporting and protecting the people in the countries they are based in.


The EU and the UN have a successful track record of close cooperation around the world. The beneficial nature of the longstanding mutual cooperation on peacekeeping and crisis management contributes to creating a positive and sustainable impact on the ground. In September 2018, both agreed on a new set of forward-looking priorities for cooperation on peace operations and crisis management in 2019-2021.

Eleven of the EU missions and operations are deployed in parallel with UN missions, showing how partnering with the UN also contributes to the EU playing its role as a global peace and security actor in support of effective multilateralism.

In his address to the UN Security Council, on the eve of International Day of UN Peacekeepers, EU High Representative Josep Borrell reaffirms that “the European Union remains a staunch supporter of a strong United Nations as the beating heart of the multilateral system. Secretary General Guterres is right to say that 'multilateralism is under threat precisely when we need it most'. We, therefore, support his efforts to advance the United Nations reform process and to use the organisation’s 75th anniversary, to work for a rejuvenated United Nations.”

The EU High Representative goes on to say, “Also in the area of peace and security, the European Union is a generous, reliable partner. All of the European Union's crisis management missions and operations cooperate closely with members of the United Nations family. Indeed, 11 of those [European Union] missions and operations share the same theatre with a United Nations mission. In some cases we even share barracks and camps.”


The theme for this year’s Day is “Women in Peacekeeping: A Key to Peace” to help mark the 20th anniversary of the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.

Establishing an EU-UN collaborative platform on Women, Peace and Security is an overarching priority. It calls to accelerate this political commitment and strongly encourages engaging in more concrete actions to increase meaningful participation of women in peace operations at all levels and areas of expertise.

In this regard, during his speech to the UNSC, Borrell stated, “We know that women play a crucial role in securing peace and security –and we need to harness their role and contributions. This was the central reason for adoption, 20 years ago, of the ground-breaking resolution UNSC 1325. Yes, we have made progress since, but much work remains to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment. So let us pursue this agenda with determination.”