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United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa
Established: March 2011

The United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) is a Special Political Mission with a regional mandate to help prevent conflict and sustain peace in Central Africa, with due attention to the principles of the UN Charter, including human rights and gender dimensions. UNOCA provides good offices and other assistance to support preventive diplomacy and mediation in situations of tension or potential conflict, particularly in countries facing electoral or institutional crises or violent conflicts. It also works closely with UN entities on the ground, governments, civil society, regional and sub-regional organizations, notably the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), to help strengthen regional capacity,promote good governance and advocate for measures to address cross-border challenges such as arms trafficking, organized crime and maritime insecurity, as well as persistent and emerging threats to peace and security, including those related to hate speech, the impact of climate change and the continued presence of armed groups in the subregion and of terrorist groups in the Lake Chad Basin and Sahel region. These include the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).


UNOCA’s mandate also includes the strengthening of the coherence and coordination in the work of the United Nations in the subregion on peace and security. In this regard, the Security Council stresses, among other things, the importance of interactions with Resident Coordinators and United Nations country teams. Improved collaboration and coordination with the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) is also highlighted. The aim is to strengthen the action carried out by United Nations entities, regional and international efforts to address cross-cutting and cross-border challenges to peace and security. In addition, UNOCA mobilizes, at the sub-regional level, support for the peace process in the Central African Republic, in close cooperation with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic.


UNOCA was established through an exchange of letters completed in August 2010 between the United Nations Secretary-General and the Security Council, and was inaugurated in March 2011 in Libreville, Gabon. Its mandate was renewed for another three-year period (1 September 2021-31 August 2024) in August 2021. The Office is currently headed by the Secretary-General's Special Representative Abdou Abarry (Niger). 


Since May 2011, the Office is also the Secretariat to the UN Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa (UNSAC), which meets twice a year at the Ministerial level to assess the state of the geopolitical and security situation in the sub-region and to report on disarmament and arms limitation programs as well as on initiatives aimed at promoting peace, including through confidence-building mea­sures.


UNOCA is the third regional political office attached to the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA). Along with the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) and the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy in Central Asia (UNRCCA), these regional offices have demonstrated the value of preventive diplomacy and other assistance in helping regions to manage shared problems, crises and tensions peacefully.



Supporting regional multidimensional response to the crisis in the Lake Chad Basin region

As mandated by the Security Council, UNOCA works jointly with UNOWAS to support regional efforts aimed at addressing the crisis related to the activities of Boko Haram and ISWAP in the Lake Chad Basin region. This includes regularly monitoring, analyzing and reporting on developments on the ground to inform the Security Council of the evolution of the crisis and maintain the latter high on the agenda of the international community.


UNOCA supports the implementation of the Regional Strategy for the Stabilization, Recovery and Resilience of the Boko Haram-affected Areas of the Lake Chad Basin led by the Lake Chad Basin Commission and the African Union. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNOCA is a member of the Regional Strategy’s Steering Committee while UNOCA also co-chairs the Governance Cluster of the Regional Strategy’s Regional Task Force. Jointly with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Central Africa supports resource mobilization efforts for the implementation of the Regional Strategy and promotes greater cooperation between the affected States through joint high-level engagement, including their joint visits to Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria.  



Special Representative: Abdou Abarry


National staff: 7

International staff: 33

Total: 50