The UN’s Special Political Missions
A Key Part of Peace and Security Reform
As we have reported, the UN is bringing its peace and security departments closer together in order to improve the way it prevents and overcomes conflict, helping build more resilient and peaceful societies in the process. The General Assembly recently adopted a resolution endorsing this restructuring, which will be in place on 1 January 2019. At that time, the Department of Political Affairs (DPA) and the Peacebuilding Support Office will form the new Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA), while the Department of Peacekeeping Operations will become the Department of Peace Operations. The new departments will pool their regional expertise and capacity for analysis, making for improved coordination and coherence.
Under the new structure, UN special political missions (SPMs) will be within the purview of the new DPPA and continue to serve as forward platforms for conflict prevention. As the Secretary-General has stated, ”[SPMs] have profoundly preventive dimensions, consistent with the Charter-based obligation to ‘save succeeding generations from the scourge of war’.”
You will find below a handy guide to the SPMs.
Personal Envoy for Western Sahara
Relaunching the negotiating process “with a new dynamic and a new spirit” to resume a political process.
Established: March 1997 (S/1997/236)
Staffing: 4 international staff
Budget 2018: $426,800
Special Envoy in Burundi
Leading and coordinating the United Nation political efforts to promote peace and sustainable
development in Burundi.
Established: January 2016 (S/RES/2248)
Staffing: 31 staff (7 national and 24 international)
Budget 2018: $6,835,241
Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region
Supporting the implementation of the Peace Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region.
Established: February 2013 (S/RES/2098)
Staffing: 27 staff (8 national, 19 international)
Budget 2018: $3,706,600
Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan
Supporting the establishment and maintenance of good and peaceful neighborly relations between Sudan and South Sudan.
Staffing: 9 staff (4 national, 5 international)
UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS)
Supporting an inclusive political dialogue and national reconciliation process to strengthen democratic governance and work towards consensus on key political issues.
Established: January 2010 (S/RES/1876)
Staffing: 142 staff (68 national, 63 international, 11 UN Volunteers)
Budget 2018: $17.9 million
UN Office to the African Union (UNOAU)
Enhancing the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union and providing coordinated and consistent UN advice to the AU.
Special Representative: Sahle-Work Zewde (Ethiopia) appointed 27 June 2018
Established: June 2010 (A/RES/64/288)
Staffing: 45 staff (17 national, 28 international)
Budget 2018: $1,957,100
UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA)
Carrying out good offices role in the Central African region.
Established: March 2011
Staffing: 41 staff (12 national, 29 international)
Budget 2018: $7,114,400
UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS)
Responsibility for UN preventive diplomacy, good offices and political mediation and facilitation efforts in West Africa and the Sahel.
Special Representative: Mohammed Ibn Chambas (Ghana), appointed 18 March 2016.
Staffing: 63 staff (25 national, 38 international)
Budget 2018: $7,114,400
UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL)
Supporting the Libyan political process through mediation and good offices.
Established: September 2011
Special Representative: Ghassan Salamé (Lebanon), appointed 21 June 2017 (S/2017/527)
Staffing: 278 staff (75 national, 198 international, 5 UN Volunteers)
Budget 2018: $71,619,500
UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM)
Supporting political reconciliation and peacebuilding through contacts with the Federal Government of Somalia, its federal member states and civil society.
Established: June 2013 (S/RES/2102)
Staffing: 277 staff (112 national, 161 international and 4 UN Volunteers)
Budget 2018: $95.91 million
UN Verification Mission in Colombia
Verifying the reintegration of former FARC-EP members and implementation of measures of protection and security for communities in territories most affected by the conflict.
Established: September 2017 (S/RES/2366)
Staffing: 391 staff (153 national, 153 international, 85 UN Volunteers)
Budget 2018: $70.7 million
Special Envoy for Myanmar
Providing UN good offices to Myanmar to make the peace process more inclusive, improve the lives of its peoples and secure greater empowerment to them.
Established: April 2018
Special Envoy: Christine Schraner Burgener (Switzerland), appointed 26 April 2018.
Staffing: 5 staff (1 national, 4 international)
Personal Envoy for the Greece-Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia talks
Leading UN efforts aimed at resolving the name dispute between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Special Adviser on Cyprus
Providing UN good offices to assist the sides in the search for a comprehensive and mutually acceptable settlement to the Cyprus problem.
Established: March 1964
Special Adviser: currently vacant
Staffing: 21 staff (5 national, 16 international)
Budget 2018: $2,792,100
UN Representative to the Geneva International Discussions (UNRGID)
Supporting the Geneva international discussions on security and stability and the return of internally displaced persons and refugees in Georgia, following the hostilities in 2008.
Established: February 2010 (S/RES/1866)
UN Representative: Ayşe Cihan Sultanoğlu (Turkey), appointed 6 July 2018.
Staffing: 7 international staff
Budget 2018/2019: $1,772,600
Special Envoy for Syria
Leading the Geneva process of organizing intra-Syrian negotiations focusing on the schedule and process for drafting a new constitution and precise requirements for UN-supervised elections.
Established: February 2012 (A/RES/66/253)
Special Envoy: Staffan de Mistura (Italy/Sweden), appointed 10 July 2014.
Staffing: 92 staff (31 national, 61 international)
Budget 2018: $16,706,200
Special Envoy for Yemen
Exercising good offices to facilitate a negotiated settlement to end the conflict in Yemen and enable the resumption of a peaceful, inclusive, orderly and Yemeni-led transition.
Staffing: 95 staff (34 national, 61 international)
Budget 2018: $13,051,800
UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)
Assisting the Afghan people and Government in laying the foundations for sustainable peace and development.
Established: March 2002 (S/2002/157)
Staffing: 1,529 staff (1,112 national, 356 international, 61 UN Volunteers)
Budget 2018: $151,418,000
UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI)
Providing advice, support and assistance to the Government and the people of Iraq in advancing inclusive political dialogue and national reconciliation.
Established: August 2003 (S/RES/1500)
Staffing: 868 staff (518 national, 350 international)
Budget 2018: $114,579,800
UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA)
Assisting and supporting the five Central Asian countries in building conflict prevention capacities through enhanced dialogue, confidence-building measures and genuine partnership.
Established: December 2007 (S/2007/279)
Staffing: 30 staff (22 national, 8 international)
Budget 2018: $3,019,600
Office of the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO)
Supporting peace negotiations and the implementation of political agreements between Israel and the Palestinians.
Staffing: 65 staff (35 national, 30 international)
Budget 2018: $8,776,700
Office of the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL)
Carrying out the Secretary-General’s good offices assisting Lebanese parties to reach peaceful and consensus- based solutions to contentious issues.
Established: February 2007 (S/2000/718)
Staffing: 82 staff (62 national, 20 international)
Budget 2018: $8,228,100
Title picture: Participants attend the Women Peace Forum held in Baidoa, Somalia on 25 July 2018. The forum was organised by the Somali National Women Association (SNWA) and supported by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM). UN Photo