Peace operations

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The term peace operations is an umbrella term used since the 1990s to refer to the range of activities undertaken by the United Nations in the area of peace and security.


The term "peace operations" was used in the Secretary-General's report of the Work of the Organization for 1994[1] to describe the broad range of political, geographic, social and security issues addresses by peacekeeping and political missions.

The 2000 Brahimi report[2] defined peace operations as encompassing the three areas of:

  1. Conflict prevention and peacemaking
  2. Peacekeeping
  3. Peacebuilding

The 2015 report of the High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations[3] reaffirmed the use of the term peace operations to refer to peacekeeping and special political missions collectively.

Field missions

The term field missions is a much older term which is currently used as a synonym for peace operations. It dates from the 1940s and was originally used primarily in relation to economic and social activities undertaken at the country level.[4] In the 1970s, its use expanded to cover other activities undertaken outside of Headquarters, including in the areas of human rights and peace and security. Eventually, the term became almost exclusively used to refer to peace and security activities.


  1. A/49/1, paragraph 633
  2. A/55/305–S/2000/809, paragraphs 10-14
  3. A/70/95–S/2015/446, paragraph 18
  4. See, for example, A/C.2/SR.70 General Assembly 3rd Session: Second Committee, Summary Records of the 70th meeting, held at Palais de Chaillot, Paris, Wednesday 3 November 1948