Finland’s 60 years in UN peacekeeping operations is celebrated on Thursday 8th of December in Lahti. Military Adviser Matti Lampinen from Finland’s UN Mission answers questions on the history of Finland’s participation in peacekeeping, and a little on the future too.
What has Finland’s value been in UN peacekeeping?
Finland has carried its share of the responsibility of solving international crisis. With its example, Finland has also shown to the entire world that it is a trustworthy and unbiased actor with capacity to perform. The actions in the field speak for themselves.
What are Finnish peacekeepers like?
Finland’s first peacekeeping operation was in 1956. It was also the first UN peacekeeping operation, which used armed forces. Finland showed to the rest of the world that a faraway, northern country is capable of remarkable performance in the southern heat and completely different cultural environment. Finland gained international appreciation for its quiet, yet diligently working soldiers.
From 1956 onwards Finland’s UN peacekeepers have created, with their own actions, the internationally appreciated picture they are known for today. Finnish soldiers are described as calm, professional, unbiased people, who always hold up their word.
What is the situation like now and what might it be in the future?
Finland will continue participating in UN peacekeeping in the way Finnish policy makers direct. The capacity uttered by the Finnish Defense Forces is still sought after and always looked for in UN peacekeeping operations. So we can happily say that we have at least managed to keep the level of value and respect created by the first peacekeepers back in 1956.
In the future UN peacekeeping operations will be even more challenging than before. Finland will be able to operate in these missions, but more emphasis must be put on supporting actions such as safety gear, medical ability and training. By ensuring adequate support we will be able to lower the risks to an acceptable level.
Hanna Asikainen and Matti Lampinen
Asikainen acts as a media adviser and Lampinen as Military Adviser at Finland’s Permanent Mission to the UN in New York.