You are here: UNA-UK announce details for Europe’s largest peacekeeping memorial and conference

16 May 2018

The United Nations Association is delighted to announce the programme for our conference and memorial to commemorate the International Day of UN Peacekeepers. The conference will start at 1000 at RUSI on Whitehall on the 23rd May, and the memorial will take place at 1330 that same day outside the cenotaph.

The event, the largest of its kind, will examine current challenges to UN peacekeeping and the role the UK can play in meeting them. The UK recently committed to doubling the number of peacekeepers it deploys on UN missions, however with UN peacekeeping under unprecedented strain and no clear strategy for a UK contribution beyond 2020, the time is right for a discussion about future engagement.

Natalie Samarasinghe, Executive Director of UNA-UK said,

“The United Kingdom has a commendable track record on UN peacekeeping: financially, historically and through its renewed commitments in Somalia and South Sudan. UNA-UK hopes that peacekeeping will continue to play an important role in the UK’s future defence plans well beyond 2020.”

180 experts and practitioners will attend a day-long conference at which they will hear presentations from Ian Martin, former Special Representative and Head of the United Nations missions in three countries, and member of the UN’s High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations 2014-15. Mr Martin will be in conversation with Natalie Samarasinghe, and will discuss UN peacekeeping, dynamics at the UN Security Council and efforts to combat sexual exploitation and abuse, the focus of UNA-UK’s “mission justice” campaign.

Other speakers include:

  • Rt Hon Mark Lancaster TD MP, Minister of State for the Armed Forces
  • Diane Corner, former Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General in the Central African Republic
  • Captain (RNLN) Niels Woudstra, former Commanding Officer of the Dutch Contingent in Mali
  • Lt Col Katie Hislop, Commanding officer of Operation “TRENTON” – the UK deployment to South Sudan
  • Chandrima Das, Director, Peacekeeping Policy, United Nations Foundation
  • Capt(N) David Mazur, Director Strategic Plans (DSP) for the Canadian Armed Forces
  • Tessy Antony, Princess of Luxembourg

At 1330, a memorial service will be held at the cenotaph at which Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon will lay a wreath on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government and Air Vice-Marshal Alison Mardell will lay a wreath on behalf of the United Kingdom; other VIPs and representatives of the embassies and high commissions of over 100 countries will lay wreaths to commemorate fallen peacekeepers.

The conference is organised jointly with the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and our Westminster branch. UNA-UK and RUSI are pleased to partner with the High Commission of Canada and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in support of this event.

Photographs will be live tweeted over the hashtag #Peacekeepers18

For more information about UN peacekeeping please see our recent evidence to the House of Commons Defence Select Committee inquiry on the Modernising Defence Programme.

For more information about sexual exploitation and abuse at the UN please see our website, our twitter account @beyond2272 or our recent evidence to the House of Commons International Development Committee inquiry on sexual exploitation and abuse.

Some tickets for the conference are still available, click here to register. The memorial service is open to the public.