The United Nations assists the East African country of Burundi in its state-building efforts following a 13-year civil war. In 2015, Burundi is scheduled to hold five elections. Mandated by the UN Security Council and at the request of the Government of Burundi, the UN Electoral Observation Mission in Burundi (MENUB) is monitoring the electoral process.
The United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) is a regionally-focused political office with a mandate to help prevent conflict and consolidate peace in Central Africa. UNOCA makes available the UN’s good offices and other assistance to support preventive diplomacy and mediation in situations of tension or potential conflict. It also works closely with UN entities on the ground, governments, regional and sub-regional organizations to address cross-border challenges.
The United Nations has long been engaged in efforts to bring peace and stability to Africa’s Great Lakes sub-region, which has been plagued by decades of political instability and armed conflicts, porous borders and humanitarian crisis. A key step in recent efforts has been the adoption in 2013, of a UN-brokered accord and the appointment of a UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa.
The United Nations has worked with regional and international partners to encourage a peaceful return to constitutional order in Guinea following the military’s seizure of power in December 2008. Failure to place Guinea on a stable, democratic trajectory could undermine international efforts to stabilize the sub-region, particularly in the neighbouring countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire and Guinea Bissau where UN peacekeeping and peacebuilding operations are ongoing.
Guinea-Bissau, one of the world's poorest nations, has been plagued by chronic political instability since gaining independence in 1974. The international community including the United Nations is providing various forms of assistance aimed at helping the West African country build stable, democratic institutions and achieve greater economic prosperity. The Department of Political Affairs provides support and oversight to the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office for Guinea Bissau, UNIOGBIS, a political mission first established in the country in 1999.
The United Nations and its Department of Political Affairs assisted in mediation to resolve Kenya's 2008 electoral crisis, and have since continued to work for reconciliation in the East African country. Major progress was achieved with the elaboration and promulgation of a new Constitution, which was supported overwhelmingly by the Kenyan people in a 2010 referendum.
The United Nations has worked closely with the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to encourage a peaceful and consensual solution to the political crisis in Madagascar, which arose from an unconstitutional change of government in January 2009.
The United Nations developed an Integrated Strategy for the Sahel in 2013 to address the nexus between security and development in the region, in particular in relation to governance, security and resilience. The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Sahel, Hiroute Guebre Sellassie, was entrusted in 2014 with the responsibility of implementing the Strategy.
The Department of Political Affairs (DPA) contributes along with partner UN entities to the global fight against piracy off the coast of Somalia. DPA is an active participant in the International Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, the main international forum on countering piracy. The Department also manages a trust fund supporting a range of projects to strengthen the fight against piracy.
Sierra Leone has made significant strides in securing peace after prolonged violent conflict, but while peace has been secured it has yet to be consolidated. The United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone, a field mission managed by the DPA, brings together the political, development and humanitarian mandates of the UN family in Sierra Leone, to provide an integrated support to the Government in fostering peace and stability and advancing social and economic development.
After almost forty years of conflict in Sudan, the people of Southern Sudan went to the polls in January 2011 for a crucial referendum on their region’s secession from the rest of the country. The UN’s wide-ranging assistance to the process included a panel formed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and supported by the Department of Political Affairs.
Cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union in the maintenance of peace and security has greatly intensified in recent years, as demonstrated by numerous collaborative efforts in conflict prevention, mediation and peacekeeping. In 2010, the UN General Assembly established the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU) to enhance cooperation between the two organisations in conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding across the African continent.
West Africa has taken important strides in consolidating peace and democratic governance after conflicts, but those gains are increasingly imperiled by new threats and cross-cutting threats and challenges including drug trafficking and growing youth unemployment. Through the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA), a Dakar-based political mission managed by the Department of Political Affairs, the United Nations is working with partners around the region to help countries build on progress and cope with threats. UNOWA works closely with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as well as other partners and UN entities to promote an integrated approach to regional issues.
The United Nations has long been engaged in the search for a peaceful solution to the conflict over Western Sahara. The Department of Political Affairs currently provides staff assistance and guidance to the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara to continue the search for a negotiated settlement under UN auspices.