The Commemorative Covers: The United Nations


The UN family of organizations, i.e. the United Nations System, is made up of the UN Secretariat, the UN Programmes and Funds (such as UNICEF, UNHCR, WFP, or UNDP) and the Specialized Agencies (such as ILO, UNESCO, WHO, WMO, FAO, IMO, ITU, UPU or ICAO).


As a Specialized Agency of the UN, ICAO works closely with the UN, and particularly with the Economic and Social Council. Moreover for its technical activities; ICAO works closely too with other UN Specialized Agencies and International Organizations, such as:

1.     The International Telecommunications Union (ITU);

2.    The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA);

3.    The International Labour Organization (ILO);

4.    The International Maritime Organization (IMO);

5.    The Universal Postal Union (UPU);

6.    The World Meteorological Organization (WMO);

7.    The World Health Organization (WHO); and

8.    The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).


In other chapters of this Postal History, it can be seen that several countries had shown on their stamp issues the close relationship that exists among the organizations of the United Nations System; a few ones are listed hereafter:  

  1. Costa Rica (see at the following link: Costa Rica – 1961 - United Nations Day);
  2. Equatorial Guinea (see at the following link: Equatorial Guinea : 30th Anniversary of the United Nations);
  3. Liberia (see at the following link: Liberia – 1954 - United Nations Technical Assistance Program); and
  4. Philippines (see at the following link: Philippines – 1994 - Anniversaries and Events ‑ United Nations Day).

To obtain the comprehensive list of such issues, it is suggested to click on the following link: Stamp issues related to ICAO : Introduction and highlight the following words: UNITED NATIONS.


In 1958/1959, a group of countries shared a common design (i.e. omnibus or joint issue) to commemorate special events related to the United Nations. The advance planning and agreement between the postal administrations is what it identifies this as a joint issue. The circumstances of the issues varied, e.g. the United Nations Day (24 October), or the opening of UNESCO Headquarters in Paris (3 November 1958), or Tribute to the Technical Assistance, or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (10 December 1948). In addition to the scroll with the names of 9 Agencies (including ICAO), the design shows Geneva’s and New York coats of arms, respectively on the left and right sides of the UN emblem, thus indicating the main location of two UN sites at that time. At the top, one can see the initials of HR for Human Rights and UNEF for the United Nations Emergency Force.



The idea of United Nations started on 14 August 1941, when US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill proposed a set of principles for international collaboration in maintaining peace and security. This document was signed aboard the Prince of Wales and is known as the Atlantic Charter. The First Washington Conference, also known by the code name Arcadia Conference, was held in Washington, D.C. from 22 December 1941 to 14 January 1942; the Arcadia Conference had a wider international diplomatic and political aspect concerning the terms of the post-war world, which followed from the Atlantic Charter.  On 1 January 1942, 26 governments attending the Conference agreed to the Declaration by United Nations. The first blueprint of the United Nations was prepared at the Dumbarton Oaks Conference held in Washington, D.C. that ran from 21 September through 7 October 1944. The United Nations (UN) Charter was drawn up by the representatives of 50 countries at the United Nations Conference on International Organization (UNCIO), which met at San Francisco (at the Opera House) from 25 April to 26 June 1945. The representatives adopted unanimously the 111-article Charter on the latter day. Poland, not represented at the Conference, signed it later, and became one of the original 51 Member States.


The UN officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, when the Charter had been ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States, and by a majority of signatories. 24 October is celebrated each year as the United Nations Day. On 10 January 1946, the first General Assembly opened in the Central Hall in Westminster, London, Great Britain, with 51 nations being represented and they elected Trygve Lie of Norway as the first Secretary General of the United Nations. Then on 24 October 1948, the cornerstone was laid for the United Nations headquarters in New York City.




United Nations Day

24 October 1958

Font and centre pages of the presentation folder.

Only 300 of these folios exist.



United Nations Day

24 October 1958

Font and centre pages of the presentation folder.


UN Day

24 October 1958

The 2 stamps were issued to commemorate the work of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

As one of the six main organs of the United Nations established by the UN Charter in 1946, ECOSOC is the principal body for coordination, policy review, policy dialogue and recommendations on economic, social and environmental issues, as well as for implementation of the internationally agreed development goals.



The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is known as the "intellectual" agency of the United Nations. On 16 November 1945, representatives of 37 countries meet in London to sign UNESCO’s Constitution which came into force on 4 November 1946, after ratification by 20 signatories.  Located on the Place de Fontenoy, in Paris, the main building which houses the Headquarters of UNESCO was inaugurated on 3 November 1958. The Y-shaped design was created by three architects of different nationalities under the direction of an international committee.  Nicknamed the ‘three-pointed star’, the entire edifice stands on seventy-two columns of concrete piling. It is world famous, not only because it is the home of a well-known organization, but also because of its outstanding architectural qualities.




First Day Cover issued on

23 November 1958.

Opening of UNESCO

Headquarters in Paris.



First Day Cover issued on

16 May 1959.

Opening of UNESCO

Headquarters in Paris.

The stamp shows the

UNESCO building

and cultural emblems; the

inauguration date of the

UNESCO (3–XI-58)

Headquarters is

printed on the stamp.


First Day Cover issued on

6 June 1959.

Opening of UNESCO

Headquarters in Paris.

Note that the stamp was issued on 28 March 1959.




Under the auspices of the United Nations, the Expanded Programme of Technical Assistance (EPTA) was formally established by the General Assembly in December 1949, which also created a mechanism for the participation of specialized agencies, i.e. the Technical Assistance Board. EPTA marked a significant advance for the developing countries, as it was the first multilateral development programme financed from voluntary contributions. A Technical Assistance Conference was held at Lake Success, New York, from 12 to 14 June 1950 and attended by 54 members of the United Nations; thus, the EPTA started operations in July 1950. States pledged a total of US$20 million for the first year’s operations, and by October 1950, a sufficient amount of money had been paid into the Technical Assistance Fund to enable the participating organizations to get their programmes under way. EPTA would have a wider scope than the UN regular technical assistance programme, with a wide variety of activities for the developing countries, such as economic planning; public administration; education and training; agriculture including fisheries, forestry and livestock; public health; transport and communications; and civil aviation (in fact, all sectors covered by the UN, and its Specialized Agencies and Programmes, including ICAO).


In 1950s, Haiti was assisted by EPTA programmes provided through the UN Agencies, such as UNESCO (UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), UNICEF (UN International Children's Emergency Fund), FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), UNRRA (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration) and OMS (or WHO, World Health Organization), as listed on the stamps of the issue.


By the end of 1951, forty-three requests for technical assistance had been received by ICAO from thirty-two governments, including Haiti. From 1960, Haiti received ICAO’s technical assistance missions for the first time to establish an authority responsible for civil aviation and to advise on the improvement of the passenger facilities and general arrangements at the international airport at Port-au-Prince.




First Day Cover issued on

5 December 1958.

Tribute to the United Nations.



As stated in the Preamble to the United Nations Charter, the peoples of the United Nations (UN) declare their determination to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom. Article I of the Charter proclaims that one of the purposes of the UN is to achieve international co-operation in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction. One of the first major achievements of the UN was the adoption by the General Assembly, on 10 December 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Assembly proclaimed the Declaration as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, and it called upon all Member States and all peoples to promote and secure the effective recognition and observance of the rights and freedoms set forth in the Declaration. In 1950, the General Assembly decided that 10 December of each year should be observed as Human Rights Day all over the world.




(Afrique Équatoriale

Française or French

Equatorial Africa in 1958)

First Day Cover issued on

10 December 1958.

10th Anniversary of

UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.




Font and centre pages of the presentation folder issued on 15 December 1958.

10th Anniversary of

UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.



First Day Cover issued on

22 May 1959.

10th Anniversary of

UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Note that the stamp was issued

on 10 December 1958.