The UNSC authorized the first peacekeeping mission on May 29, 1948, which formed the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) to monitor the Armistice Agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Since then, more than 1 million women and men have served in 72 UN peacekeeping operations, directly impacting the lives of millions of people and saving countless lives. Today, UN Peacekeeping deploys more than 89,000 military, police, and civilian personnel in;12 operations.
The ceremony this year will be a virtual one, in which the Dag Hammarskjold medal will be awarded posthumously to peacekeepers who lost their lives in 2020 and in January 2021. The Military Gender Advocate of the Year award will also be presented at the virtual ceremony.
Transforming peacekeeping during COVID-19
Conflicts these days have several drivers that are different from those of even a decade ago. They often involve a range of non-state actors; there are inevitably transnational flows of people and goods, climate change plays a role, and there is a range of social and economic drivers. In addition, the role of new technologies in modern conflict is creating a largely hidden world of conflict actors.
Over the past few years, there has been a steady decline in the number of peacekeepers deployed, and some of the biggest missions have shrunk in size now. As COVID-19 may have economic and security fallouts in many regions, the UN should explore a real spectrum of peace operations beyond the large multidimensional model. The difficulties of the timing demand a more flexible peacekeeping model that can avert resource conflict, which can be a possible aftermath of the pandemic.