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" has been used since at least the 1990s as an umbrella term to describe the broad range of political, geographic, social and security issues addressed by the United Nations.
- In the 1990s, the term was used as an umbrella term to cover preventative diplomacy, peacemaking and peacekeeping.
- The 2000 Brahimi report defined peace operations as encompassing the three areas of conflict prevention/peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.
- The 2015 report of the High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations reaffirmed the use of the term peace operations to refer to peacekeeping and special political missions collectively.
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.
- A/49/1, paragraph 633: “As the previous section (current activities in preventive diplomacy, peacemaking and peace-keeping) indicates, the variety of United Nations peace operations is immense, covering political, geographical, social and security matters of almost every description. No two missions are alike.”
- A/55/305–S/2000/809, paragraphs 10-14
- A/70/95–S/2015/446, paragraph 18
- 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