The flag of the United Nations was adopted on October 20, 1947, and consists of the official emblem of the United Nations in white on a blue background. The emblem’s design is described as:
A map of the world representing an azimuthal equidistant projection centred on the North Pole, inscribed in a wreath consisting of crossed conventionalised branches of the olive tree; […] The projection of the Map extends 40° South Latitude, and includes four concentric circles.—Official Seal and Emblem of the United Nations, Report of the Secretary-General, 15 October 1946
The olive branches are a symbol for peace, and the world map represents all the people of the world.
A similar looking flag was first presented in a slightly different form from the present one at the Organisation Conference in San Francisco in April 1945, with the only difference the drawing of the Earth. The flag was distributed among delegates and the press. 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. According to press statements, the change was made to move North America away from the centre of the emblem.
White and blue are the official colours of the United Nations.
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 aprotective 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.