Welcome to the United Nations

Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region

Established: February 2013
A Congolese woman from Aru, Ituri, knitting in front of her house with a baby on her back, in Ituri, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
A Congolese woman from Aru, Ituri, Democratic Republic of the Congo. UN Photo/Martine Perret

The United Nations (UN) has long been engaged in efforts to bring peace and stability to Africa’s Great Lakes region, which has been plagued by decades of political instability and armed conflicts, porous borders and humanitarian crises, as well as tensions over natural resources and other potentially destabilizing factors.


A key step in the efforts has been the adoption, on 24 February 2013, of a UN-brokered accord aimed at stabilizing the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the region. The Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework (PSC Framework) was signed by 11 countries, namely Angola, Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. In early 2014, Kenya and Sudan became the 12th and 13th signatories of the Framework. The UN, the African Union (AU), the International  Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are acting as Guarantors of the Framework.


The Agreement encompasses commitments at the national, regional and international level geared towards addressing the root causes of conflict and ending the recurring cycles of violence in eastern DRC and the Great Lakes region. Its implementation is supported by the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region. 


The work of the Special Envoy, as reflected in his Strategic Plan for 2018-2020, consists of establishing confidence and strengthening regional relations and cooperation between the signatories of the framework, especially the core countries of the region. It further focuses on supporting cross-border efforts to neutralize negative forces, finding political solutions to displacements of populations, enhancing judicial cooperation in the Great Lakes, and advancing the Women, Peace and Security agenda regionally, as well as strengthening the role of youth. The efforts of the Special Envoy build on existing accords for the region and continent, in close coordination with regional and international organizations. Furthermore, through the Great Lakes Regional Strategic Framework, the Special Envoy coordinates closely with UN entities present in the region, including the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), the Special Envoy for Burundi and the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA). 


The Special Envoy is supported by a small Office based in Nairobi, Kenya, and by the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA) at UN Headquarters in New York.



Head of Mission: Huang Xia



National staff: 8

International staff: 19

Total: 27