The UN medal was established by the Secretary-General in 1966 for award, subject to the Regulations for the United Nations Medal (ST/SGB/119/Rev.1), to military personnel and civilian police who are or have been in the service of the United Nations. The Secretary-General has also defined the specifications of the medal and the ribbon on which it is suspended.
Below we provide a general description of the UN peacekeeping medals and accompanying ribbons. Where applicable, and available, an outline of the significance of the colours used for a particular ribbon is provided, an indication of the qualifying time necessary for each and a listing of the countries who provided troops, observers or police.
Medal: In common usage, this term is used to indicate both the bronze medallion and the ribbon from which it is suspended. Commonly, the name of a specific mission will be prefixed, hence, the "UNDOF Medal" etc. In correct usage, this term refers to the medallion only.
Ribbon: Length of material woven into a narrow band, of specific colour(s) from which is suspended a bronze medallion only.
Standard: Indicates the current bronze medallion issued with a specific ribbon, indicating service with a particular peacekeeping mission.
In this context, the reference is to the bronze medallion. A total of three medallions have been issued to denote service with UN peacekeeping and other missions. The three are:
Korea: A bronze medallion bearing on the obverse the representation of the UN symbol in bas-relief and, on the reverse, the wording "FOR SERVICE IN THE DEFENCE OF THE PRINCIPLES OF THE CHARTER OF THE UNITED NATIONS", also in bas-relief. The medallion is attached to the ribbon by means of a bar which bears the name "KOREA" in bas-relief. The wording shown may be in English, French, Spanish, Danish, Greek, Italian, Dutch, Swedish, Sanskrit or Turkish.
UNEF: A bronze medallion bearing on the obverse the representation of the UN symbol surmounted by the letters "UNEF", both in bas-relief and, on the reverse, the words "IN THE SERVICE OF PEACE" in bas-relief.
Standard: A bronze medallion bearing on the obverse the representation of the UN symbol surmounted by the letters "UN" both in bas-relief and, on the reverse, the words "IN THE SERVICE OF PEACE" in bas-relief. This standard medallion is used for all missions except the two mentioned above.