“As we commemorate the 20th Anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, we must do more to achieve women’s equal representation in all areas of peace and security. Together, let us continue to wage peace, defeat the pandemic and build a better future.“ — United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres
The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, 29 May, offers a chance to pay tribute to the uniformed and civilians personnel’s invaluable contribution to the work of the organisation and to honour more than 3,900 peacekeepers who have lost their lives serving under the United Nations flag since 1948, including 102 last year. This year, the challenges and threats faced by our peacekeepers are even greater than ever, as they, like people around the world, are not only having to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, but also support and protect the people in the countries they are based in. They are continuing their operations to the best of their abilities and supporting the governments and the local populations, despite the risk of COVID-19.
The theme for the 2020 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers is “Women in Peacekeeping: A Key to Peace” to mark the 20th Anniversary of the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. Through UNSCR 1325, ensuing resolutions, as well as the Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) Declaration of Shared Commitments, the United Nations has called for an expansion of the role and contribution of women in its operations, including of uniformed peacekeepers. Since then, more than 1 million women and men have served in 72 United Nations peacekeeping operations, directly impacting the lives of millions of people and saving countless lives. Today, United Nations Peacekeeping deploys more than 95,000 military, police and civilian personnel in 13 operations.
Women peacekeepers make invaluable contributions to peacekeeping. They help improve overall peacekeeping performance, have greater access to communities, especially to women, and therefore, help in promoting human rights and protection of civilians. They also encourage women to become a meaningful part of peace and political processes; when diverse women participate in peace negotiations, the quality and durability of peace agreements increases, and when women are signatories of peace agreements, they are more likely to be implemented, which academic research shows helps to ensure sustainable peace and prosperity.
We, at the World Assembly of Youth (WAY), recognise this legacy of service and sacrifice around the world. We have organised several events on peace and gender equality with the aim to promote a peaceful and inclusive society in the minds of young people. We believe that young people have a crucial role to play in establishing a culture of peace for promoting and maintaining development, sustainability, and prosperity in the world.