Minister Goffin pays tribute to peacekeepers and stresses the key role of women in peacekeeping

Today is the International Day of UN Peacekeepers. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defense Philippe Goffin wishes to pay tribute to the more than 95,000 men and women who serve with dedication under the flag of the United Nations in the thirteen peacekeeping operations deployed around the world.

The Minister also honors the memory of more than 3,900 peacekeepers who have lost their lives during their mission since 1948, including 102 men and women in 2019.

This year, peacekeepers face unprecedented challenges and threats.  Like most of us around the world, they have to face the COVID-19 pandemic while protecting civilians in the countries where they are deployed. Despite the risks posed by the epidemic, they continue to courageously and selflessly carry out their mission, in support of governments and local populations.

In this regard, Philippe Goffin would like to recall the commitment made by all the Member States of the European Union, including Belgium, to keep deploying their troops in UN missions during the COVID-19 crisis.

In 2020 the International Day of UN Peacekeepers highlights the role of women under the theme "Women in peacekeeping: a key to peace", to mark the 20th anniversary of the adoption of Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.

For Philippe Goffin “Women peacekeepers provide an invaluable contribution to peacekeeping. They improve the effectiveness of missions, have greater access to local communities, especially women and girls, which enables them to promote human rights and protect civilians even better.” According to the minister, "women peacekeepers also encourage meaningful participation of women in peace and political decision-making processes, which ultimately results in more inclusive, stronger and longer lasting peace agreements."

As part of its mandate to the United Nations Security Council in 2019-2020 and its National Action Plan “Women, Peace, Security”, Belgium pays particular attention to the “mainstreaming” of the gender dimension in the the Security Council's work and decisions, especially the mandates of its peacekeeping operations.

Belgium is deploying nearly a hundred soldiers in Mali as part of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and within the European Union Training Mission (EUTM-Mali).