The United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) is a Special Political Mission with a regional mandate to help prevent conflict and consolidate peace in Central Africa. UNOCA makes available the UN’s good offices and other assistance to support preventive diplomacy and mediation in situations of tension or potential conflict. It also works closely with UN entities on the ground, governments, regional and sub-regional organizations to address cross-border challenges. These include arms trafficking, organized crime and the presence of armed and terrorist groups such as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and Boko Haram.
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. The Office is currently headed by the Secretary-General's Special Representative François Louncény Fall (Guinea).
Since May 2011, the Office is also the Secretariat to the UN Standing Advisory Committee on Security Issues in Central Africa (UNSAC).
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.
Promoting coordination against the Lord's Resistance Army
At the request of the Security Council, UNOCA works with the African Union (AU), LRA-affected countries, UN partners and others to maximize the collective impact of actions to address the impact of the LRA. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Central Africa and Head of UNOCA, SRSG François Louncény Fall, and the AU Special Envoy on LRA Issues, Lieutenant General (Rtd.) Jackson Kiprono Tuwei, work together to help ensure sustained political commitment by the governments of the four affected countries: Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan and Uganda and the necessary support of their partners.
In addition, UNOCA has worked closely with the UN Office to the African Union, UN entities in the LRA-affected areas, and the African Union to develop a regional strategy, which was adopted by the Security Council in 2012, to counter the LRA as well as to address the impact of its activities and promote collective action. In this context, UNOCA convenes on a semi-annual basis a meeting of LRA focal points involved on the issue. This is an opportunity to assess the situation in LRA affected countries as well as discuss priorities in the implementation of the UN regional strategy to address the LRA threat.
UNOCA also coordinates the UN’s support for the operationalization of the African Union-led Regional Cooperative Initiative for the elimination of the LRA and the African Union Regional Task Force.