Welcome to the United Nations

Personal Envoy Western Sahara

Established: March 1997
Refugees walk near the Awsard Refugee Camp.
Refugees walk near the Awsard Refugee Camp. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

The United Nations has long been engaged in the search for a peaceful solution to the conflict over Western Sahara. On 16 August 2017, the Secretary-General appointed Mr. Horst Köhler as his Personal Envoy for Western Sahara to continue the search for a negotiated settlement under UN auspices. Mr. Köhler resigned on 22 May 2019 for health reasons. On 6 October, the Secretary-General appointed Staffan de Mistura as his Personal Envoy for Western Sahara to provide good offices on behalf of the Secretary‑General.


In April 2018, in its resolution 2414, the United Nations Security Council reaffirmed its full support for the intention of the Secretary-General and his Personal Envoy to relaunch the negotiating process with a new dynamic and a new spirit with the aim of reaching a mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara in the context of arrangements consistent with the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations.


The Council further called upon the neighbouring countries, Algeria and Mauritania, to make important contributions to this process and to increase their engagement in the negotiating process.


Amid continued diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict, a UN peacekeeping mission, the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), has remained on the ground monitoring the cease fire and providing a stabilizing presence. MINURSO was deployed in 1991 to oversee a cease-fire and a UN settlement plan; however, disagreements between the two parties prevented the holding of the anticipated referendum on the territory’s future. For more information on MINURSO see: https://minurso.unmissions.org




Personal Envoy: Staffan de Mistura



International staff: 2

Total: 2