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. UNOCA provides 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, notably the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), to help strengthen regional capacity to address regional peace and security issues and cross-border challenges. These include arms trafficking, organized crime, maritime insecurity, and the presence of armed and terrorist groups such as Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).
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 François Louncény Fall (Guinea).
Since May 2011, the Office is also the Secretariat to the UN Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions 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.
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.