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 to describe the broad range of political, geographic, social and security issues addresses by peacekeeping and political missions.
- Conflict prevention and peacemaking
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. 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.