Today, on International Day of United Nations (UN) Peacekeepers, we pay tribute to peacekeepers, past and present, who have served on missions around the world to advance international peace and security.
This year's theme, Women in Peacekeeping – A Key to Peace, coincides with the 20th anniversary of the landmark UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, which recognised the impact of conflict on women and children, and encouraged women's participation across all aspects of the peace process.
Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said Australia has made a significant contribution to worldwide peace operations in war and conflicts for more than 70 years.
"Since 1947, more than 50,000 Australian personnel have participated in peace operations under a UN flag or mandate," Minister Reynolds said.
"We recognise the Australian Defence Force personnel currently serving in UN peacekeeping missions in Cyprus, South Sudan and the Middle East, and honour the 16 Australians who tragically lost their lives on both UN and non-UN peacekeeping operations.
"As a strong advocate for the Women, Peace and Security agenda, Defence remains committed to supporting women's empowerment in addressing conflict and building sustainable peace solutions."
Defence has committed USD $1 million to the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations, which aims to identify and overcome barriers to women's meaningful participation in conflict resolution.
Defence also continues to meet the UN's Uniformed Gender Parity Strategy targets for women peacekeepers, and is working with the UN and Indo-Pacific partner nations to strengthen Australia's response to threats to international peace and security.
This includes through training, capacity building, information sharing, and supporting the deployment of peacekeepers through strategic airlifts.
Further information about Australia's contribution to UN Peacekeeping can be found at: https://www.awm.gov.au/articles/peacekeeping