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Department of Political Affairs


Western Sahara family

Building lasting peace in war-torn societies is among the most daunting of challenges for global peace and security.

Failure is costly: some nations emerge painfully from devastating conflicts only to slide right back into violence. Yet success requires sustained international support for national efforts across the broadest range of activities -- monitoring ceasefires; demobilizing and reintegrating combatants; assisting the return of refugees and displaced persons; supporting implementation of a peace process; providing electoral assistance; supporting justice and security sector reform; enhancing human rights protections and fostering reconciliation after past atrocities.

The United Nations has been at the center of expanding international peacebuilding efforts, from the verification of peace agreements in Southern Africa, Central America and Cambodia in the 1990s, to subsequent efforts to consolidate peace and strengthen states in the Balkans, East Timor, and West Africa, to contemporary operations in Nepal, Haiti, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Sudan.


Recognizing that the United Nations needs to better anticipate and respond to the challenges of peace- building, the 2005 World Summit approved the creation of a new Peacebuilding Commission. The Commission is supported within the United Nations Secretariat by a Peacebuilding Support Office that draws on the expertise of the many different United Nations entities involved in peacebuilding, including the Department of Political Affairs. A new Peacebuilding Fund was also established.

DPA contributes in important ways to the peacebuilding architecture at the United Nations, including through the work of field offices in countries currently on the PBC’s agenda – Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS), the Central African Republic (BINUCA), Burundi (BINUB) and Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL). The offices carry out comprehensive peace-building strategies that help to unite the entire U.N. presence in these countries in a coherent effort to institutionalize peace.