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 following a two-year civil war. The mission has been headed since 2012 by the Secretary-General’s Representative for Guinea-Bissau, José Ramos-Horta. UNIOGBIS' presence has been repeatedly extended amid continued fragility in the country, whose problems have been exacerbated in recent years by its emergence as a key transit point in the international drug trade.
The main priorities of UNIOGBIS are to support efforts to consolidate constitutional rule, further political dialogue and national reconciliation, encourage security sector reform, and promote respect for human rights and the rule of law. The mission has provided assistance in several national elections -- most recently coordinating international observers during the special July 2009 presidential elections convened following the assassination of President João Bernardo Vieira.
UNIOGBIS works closely with the UN Resident Coordinator and the UN Country Team (UNCT) to strengthen UN system-wide synergies and to mobilize international financial assistance. The Office also works to enhance cooperation between the major international partners working for progress in Guinea-Bissau, including the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries (CPLP), among others.
In 2007, Guinea-Bissau was placed on the agenda of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), a step which has increased the international community’s attention to the country and its needs. A year later, the Peacebuilding Commission and the Government of Guinea-Bissau adopted a Strategic Framework for Peacebuilding in the country. Following the allocation of $16.8 million from the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) to Guinea-Bissau, the PBC/PBF National Steering Committee adopted a new Priority Plan in June 2011 to contribute to Security Sector Reform, national dialogue and reconciliation, and youth employment.