The flag of the United Nations was adopted on December 7, 1946, and consists of the official emblem of the United Nations in white on a blue background.


The emblem's design is described as: The olive branches are a symbol for peace, and the world map represents all the people and the countries of the world. White and blue are the official colours of the United Nations. The size of the emblem on the UN's flag is one half the width of the flag itself. The light blue background colour code is Pantone Matching System 2925.


thumb|20pxThe "United Nations Honour Flag", used as a symbol of the wartime allies, ca. 1943–1948 The organizers of the 1945 United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco, California wanted an insignia that could be made into a pin to identify delegates. United States Secretary of State Edward Stettinius, Jr. was chairperson of the U.S. delegation, and realized that a temporary design might become the permanent symbol of the United Nations. He formed a committee headed by Oliver Lundquist that developed a design consisting of a world map surrounded by leaves from a design created by Donal McLaughlin. McLaughlin had previously worked as chief of graphics for the Office of Strategic Services that preceded the CIA. The azimuthal equidistant projection used in his design was heavily influenced by the maps created during World War II by Richard Edes Harrison, a popular cartographer working for ''Fortune'' and ''Life.''''''. The blue that appears in the background of the insignia was chosen to be "the opposite of red, the war colour", although the exact shade has never been officially specified by the United Nations. The original colour the group chose in 1945 was a gray blue that differs from the current United Nations flag. The globe used in the original design was an azimuthal projection focused on the North Pole with the United States, the host nation of the conference, at the centre. The projection that was used cut off portions of the Southern Hemisphere at the latitude of Argentina, which was acceptable at the time, as Argentina was not planned to be an original member of the United Nations.Heller, Steven
"Oliver Lincoln Lundquist, Designer, Is Dead at 92 "
''The New York Times'', January 3, 2009. Accessed January 4, 2009.
The projection was later altered so that no country will be at prominence within the flag. The new logo was now designed so that the globe is bisected in the centre by the Prime Meridian and the International Date Line. In 1946, a UNO committee got the task of making a definite design, which was presented December 2, 1946, and adopted by the plenary session of the UNO on December 7, 1946. The earlier version had the globe 90 degrees turned eastward compared with the present flag, which has the Prime Meridian and the International Date Line forming the vertical diameter. According to press statements, the change was made to move North America away from the centre of the emblem.


According to the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel, the emblem and the flag of the United Nations can be used by the personnel and material of UN peacekeeping missions as a protective sign to prevent attacks during an armed conflict. The United Nations flag may also be flown as a garrison flag with other country flags. Garrison size is 10 feet by 30 feet.

Derived flags

Agencies and organizations

*The flag of the World Food Programme has the olive leaves of the UN flag, with a hand clutching grains in the centre, in place of the globe. The white/blue colours of the UN flag are reversed in the WFP flag.

Country flags

*The flag of Somalia, with central symbol a five-pointed star, uses the UN's blue colour in honour of the UN's help in gaining Somalia's independence. * The UNTAC UN administration of Cambodia used UN colours. File:Flag of Somalia.svg|Somalia File:Flag of Cambodia under UNTAC.svg|Cambodia (1992–1993)

Proposed flags

*Perhaps the most popular proposed flag of Antarctica (the Graham Bartram design) uses the UN colours, consisting of a plain white representation of the continent on a blue background. *A number of proposed flags of Bosnia and Herzegovina used UN colours. *A proposed flag for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly uses the same colours and olive branches and uses the cartographic elements of the globe to create what appear to be parliamentary benches.

Use outside UN

* The UN flag is depicted in the background of former UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld on Sweden's 1,000 SEK banknote, the currency's highest denomination. The banknotes have been in circulation since October 2015.



External links

UN Flag Code, 20 November 2020

United Nations Flag Code
* {{United Nations Category:United Nations United Nations United Nations