The United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) is a Special Political Mission with a regional 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. These include arms trafficking, organized crime and the presence of armed groups such as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
UNOCA was established through an exchange of letters completed in August 2010 between the United Nations Secretary-General and the Security Council, and was inaugurated in March 2011 in Libreville, Gabon. The Office is currently headed by the Secretary-General's Special Representative
Since May 2011, the Office also provides the Secretariat of the Standing Advisory Committee of the UN in charge of security issues in Central Africa (UNSAC).
Promoting coordination against the Lord's Resistance Army
At the request of the Security Council, UNOCA is working with the AU, LRA-affected countries, UN partners and others to maximize the collective impact of actions to address the impact of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Central Africa and Head of UNOCA, Mr.
Abdoulaye Bathily, and the AU Special Envoy on the LRA, Lieutenant General (Rtd.) Jackson Kiprono Tuwei, are working together to help ensure sustained political commitment by the governments of the four affected countries Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan and Uganda and the necessary support of their partners. In this regard, they undertook several joint missions in those countries.
In addition, UNOCA has worked closely with the UN Office to the African Union, UN entities in the LRA-affected areas, and the African Union to develop a regional strategy, which was adopted by the Security Council in 2012, to counter the LRA as well as to address the impact of its activities and promote collective action. In this context, UNOCA convenes on a semi-annual basis a meeting of LRA focal points in Entebbe, Uganda. This meeting convenes all stakeholders involved on the LRA issue and is an opportunity to assess the situation in LRA affected countries as well as discuss priorities in the implementation of the UN regional strategy to address the LRA threat.
UNOCA also coordinates the UN’s support for the operationalization of the African Union-led Regional Cooperative Initiative for the elimination of the LRA and the African Union Regional Task Force
Central African Republic
Four of the country’s five presidents since independence in 1960 have been removed from power through unconstitutional means, and state authority is weak in many parts of the country. Ethnic tensions in the north and the presence of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), an armed group known for its brutal tactics, have added to instability, which has crippled the country for decades and driven people away from their homes.
SRSG Bathily is the United Nations representative in the International Mediation on the crisis in the Central African Republic. Established on 7 July 2014, during the 5th meeting of the International Contact Group on the Central African Republic (ICG-CAR), the International Mediation also comprises President Denis Sassou Nguesso, the ECCAS-appointed mediator, and a representative of the African Union. The diplomatic efforts of the International Mediation led to the signing of the Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities in the Central African Republic, known as the Brazzaville Agreement, in July 2014. In December 2014, in a Presidential Statement (S/PRST/2014/25), the Security Council commended the efforts of the international mediation process and welcomed the designation by the Secretary-General of SRSG Bathily to support the process and commended him for his work in this regard. In close coordination with MINUSCA, SRSG Bathily has been deeply engaged in the mediation, undertaking frequent visits to Brazzaville and Bangui, and taking part in meetings of the International Contact Group on the Central African Republic (ICG-CAR).
Prior to that and in light of deep-seated ills, the United Nations had been supporting the Central African Republic (CAR) since 2000, when the Security Council established the United Nations Peace-Building Support Office in the Central African Republic (BONUCA). It was later replaced by the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA), which led the UN’s efforts on the ground until April 2014.
During its existence, BINUCA helped to consolidate peace, foster national reconciliation, and strengthen democratic institutions, as well as strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights.
On 10 April 2014, the Security Council decided to establish a UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the CAR (MINUSCA) in view of the developments on the ground. MINUSCA subsumed BINUCA.