The Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA) was officially established on 1 March 2003 by the Secretary-General Bulletin (ST/SGB/2003/6), in line with General Assembly Resolution A/RES/57/7 of 4 November 2002 and became operational on 1 May 2003.

In accordance with the above resolution, OSAA was initially mandated to:

  • enhance international support for Africa's development and security through its advocacy and analytical work,
  • assist  the Secretary-General in improving coherence and coordination of the UN System support to Africa, and
  • facilitate inter-governmental deliberations on Africa at the global level, in particular relating to the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).

In implementation of its mandate, OSAA:

  • supports the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council in their deliberations on Africa;
  • coordinates and guide the preparation of Africa-related reports and inputs, in particular support for NEPAD by the United Nations System and the international community, including the private sector and civil society;
  • coordinates the Interdepartmental Task Force on African Affairs (IDTFA), to ensure a coherent and integrated approach for United Nations support for Africa, including following up on the implementation of all global summit and conference outcomes related to Africa;
  • initiates reports on critical issues affecting Africa, and in particular on the interrelated issues of peace and development;
  • coordinates global advocacy in support of NEPAD, and;
  • acts as the focal point for NEPAD within the United Nations Secretariat at Headquarters.

OSAA’s role was subsequently expanded in resolution 66/293 adopted by the General Assembly on 15 October 2012, which mandated the Office to establish a monitoring mechanism to review commitments made towards Africa’s development.