Political Missions and Good Offices Engagements

The Department of Political Affairs manages political missions engaged in conflict prevention, peacemaking and post-conflict peacebuilding in Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East.

These DPA-led field operations are headed by senior representatives of the Secretary-General and provide a forward platform for preventive diplomacy and other activities across a range of disciplines, to help prevent and resolve conflict,support complex political transitions, in coordination with national actors and UN development and humanitarian entities on the ground. Field-based missions include country-specific missions and regional offices. 

In addition to the field-based missions currently under its supervision, DPA provides guidance and support to traveling envoys and special advisers of the Secretary-General bringing to bear his “good offices” for the resolution of conflicts or the implementation of other UN mandates. These currently include UN envoys or special advisers for CyprusYemenMyanmarSyriaWestern Sahara, and the FYROM-Greece name dispute.

Political missions are part of a continuum of UN peace operations working in different stages of the conflict cycle. In some instances, following the signing of peace agreements, political missions overseen by the Department of Political Affairs during the stage of peace negotiations have been replaced by peacekeeping missions. In other instances, U.N. peacekeeping operations have given way to special political missions overseeing longer term peace-building activities.

PDF map of current Special Political Missions.

See the Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council website for information on the mandates of current and previous missions.

See a list of past political missions.


Investigative Mandates and Fact-Finding Missions

DPA has also assisted in establishing and providing support to various UN investigative and fact-finding bodies. These have included: the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG); the United Nations Commission of Inquiry into the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan; the International Commission of Inquiry on the 28 September 2009 events in Guinea; and the United Nations International Investigation Commission in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.


Peace and Development Advisers and Liaison Offices

In an innovative partnership between DPA and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Joint UNDP-DPA Programme on Building National Capacities for Conflict Prevention provides support for national initiatives towards conflict prevention. Much of the support to date has gone toward deploying "Peace and Development Advisers" – or PDAs as they are known – to UN Country Teams in the field to help national authorities. The Programme also provides seed funding to prevention initiatives overseen by the PDA.