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United Nations Department of Political Affairs

The United Nations Department of Political Affairs (DPA) is a department of the Secretariat of the United Nations (UN) with responsibility for monitoring and assessing global political developments and advising and assisting the UN Secretary General and his envoys in the peaceful prevention and resolution of conflict around the world. The department manages field-based political missions in Africa, Central Asia, and the Middle East, and has in recent years been increasing its professional capacities in conflict mediation and preventive diplomacy. DPA also oversees UN electoral assistance to Member States of the organization. Established in 1992, the department's responsibilities also include providing secretariat support to the UN Security Council and two standing committees created by the General Assembly concerning the Rights of the Palestinian People and Decolonization.

United Nations Department of Political Affairs
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United Nations Department of Political Affairs Logo.svg
Formation1992; 27 years ago (1992)
TypeDepartment of the Secretariat
Legal statusActive
Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs
Rosemary DiCarlo
Parent organization
United Nations Secretariat
The Department of Political Affairs is headquartered at the Secretariat in new York



On 28 March 2018, UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced the appointment of Rosemary DiCarlo of the United States, President of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy and Senior Fellow at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, Yale University, as Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs.

Ms. DiCarlo succeeds Jeffrey D. Feltman of the United States, who completes his assignment on 31 March 2018. The Secretary-General is deeply grateful for Mr. Feltman’s dedicated, inspirational leadership of the Department of Political Affairs and his diplomatic skills in exercising the good offices of the Secretary-General to defuse crises and identify just and durable political solutions around the world.

Ms. DiCarlo brings more than 35 years of experience in public service and academia. During her distinguished career with the United States Department of State, she served, inter alia, as Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations with the rank and status of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. In that capacity, she represented the United States at the Security Council, General Assembly and other United Nations bodies.

Prior assignments included Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, and Director for United Nations Affairs at the National Security Council in Washington, D.C. Her overseas tours took her to the United States Embassies in Moscow and Oslo.

Ms. DiCarlo graduated from Brown University with a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. in comparative literature, as well as Slavic languages and literature. She speaks French and Russian.

Former Under-Secretaries-GeneralEdit

Field missionsEdit

As of December 2016, the DPA manages the following political missions and peace-building support offices engaged in conflict prevention, peacemaking and post-conflict peacebuilding in Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East:

In Africa:

In Asia:

In the Middle East:

In South America:

These DPA-led field operations are headed by senior representatives of the Secretary-General and provide a forward platform for preventive diplomacy and other activities across a range of disciplines, to help prevent and resolve conflict or to build lasting peace in nations emerging from civil wars. The peace-building offices, currently active in Burundi, Guinea-Bissau, the Central African Republic and Sierra Leone aim to help nations consolidate peace through comprehensive peace-building strategies developed and carried out in coordination with national actors and U.N. development and humanitarian entities on the ground. Political missions are part of a continuum of UN peace operations working in different stages of the conflict cycle. In some instances, following the signing of peace agreements, political missions overseen by the Department of Political Affairs during the stage of peace negotiations have been replaced by peacekeeping missions. In other instances, U.N. peacekeeping operations have given way to special political missions overseeing longer term peace-building activities.

Good Offices missions

In addition to the field-based missions currently under its supervision, DPA provides guidance and support to traveling envoys and special advisers of the Secretary-General bringing to bear his “good offices” for the resolution of conflicts or the implementation of other UN mandates. These currently include UN envoys or special advisers for Cyprus, Yemen, Syria, Western Sahara, and the Macedonian-Greek naming dispute.

Investigative Mandates and Fact-Finding Missions

DPA has also assisted in establishing and providing support to various UN investigative and fact-finding bodies. These have included: the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG); the United Nations Commission of Inquiry into the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan; the International Commission of Inquiry on the 28 September 2009 events in Guinea; and the United Nations International Investigation Commission in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit