UN political process has entrenched division and conflict in Libya – says report of think tank chaired by former UN Under-Secretary-General


UN political process has entrenched division and conflict in Libya – says report of think tank chaired by former UN Under-Secretary-General 

  • ICDI report: UN mediation efforts in Libya have failed due to a lack of legitimacy and inclusivity with the Libyan people.
  • Recommends the UN establish an independent review into the UN Support Mission in Libya and refrain from dictating terms of the political process.
  • ICDI Chair states: “The plight of the Libyan people demands a rethink of how the UN operates in such situations.”

New York – Today, the International Centre for Dialogue Initiatives (ICDI) – a think-tank established by former United Nations Special Envoys – has released a damning report on the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), “Libya: An Assessment of Twelve Years of International Mediation.”

Based on a series of interviews with various stakeholders, including UN Special Representatives, Libyan politicians, and civil society members, it reveals shortcomings in the UN’s approach. A comparison between the efforts of different Heads of the UNSMIL suggest there have been inherent flaws in the design of the process and inconsistencies of strategy and approach. A lack of transparency over decisions also led too doubts over the impartiality and undermined trust amongst Libyan parties, civil society, and the public – particularly around the criteria used to select participants in the national dialogue process.

ICDI makes a series of policy recommendations, which include:

  • The UN Secretary General establishing an independent review of the UN-led mediation efforts to determine whether it has been conducted in conformity to UN standards.
  • The UN refraining from dictating the terms of the political process, and instead supporting Libyan efforts to organise a National Dialogue.
  • The United Nations encouraging Libyan political parties to increase the participation by Libyan women in political processes and reconciliation.
  • Foreign actors refraining from pushing premature elections in the absence of the security and legal conditions needed for success.
  • Libyan stakeholders joining together to develop a peace and reconciliation agreement, in which they themselves frame the contested issues as shared problems, and rely less on external forces or solutions.
  • UN Security Council members abiding to their own commitments under the arms embargo resolution.

Commenting on the report, Chair of the ICDI and former UN Under-Secretary-General and Special Envoy for Yemen Jamal Benomar said:

“As the report lays bare, 12 years of UN mediation has failed to transition Libya to stability and democracy. In fact, the landscape has become more fragmented and intractable. The risk of renewed conflict is ever present.

“That the Libyan Political Agreement is heralded as UNSMIL’s primary achievement when it may have deepened the crisis should give pause for thought. Is the UN’s approach to post-conflict mediation fit for current purposes? Is the UN learning from past mistakes or perpetuating instability and fragile situations? The plight of the Libyan people demands a rethink of how the UN operates in such situations.”

For interviews and further comment, contact mark.pursey@btpadvisors.com or +44 7384 696275

Full report here.

VIDEO ENGLISH: https://we.tl/t-rJqUg5SXVJ

VIDEO ARABIC: https://we.tl/t-5B5rG0vr0G



Notes to Editors

International Centre for Dialogue Initiatives is the first independent platform focused on the MENA region that is dedicated to mediation, conflict prevention, conflict resolution and promoting dialogue. It was created by veterans of UN mediation with deep roots in the region to serve as a forum for generating, analyzing, and testing home-grown ideas that could enable key parties in conflicts to reach a negotiated settlement. ICDI works with well-respected experts in the region and the world to support Track One and Track Two diplomatic initiatives including processes facilitated by the UN.

Mr Jamal Benomar (Chair) is a pro-democracy activist, human rights defender, diplomat, and international mediator. His international career spans across 35 years, including 25 years at the United Nations, where he rose to the rank of Under-Secretary General. He has served as the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, where he worked to facilitate a peaceful democratic transition in the wake of the Arab Spring, and was the Under-Secretary General for Conflict Prevention leading the UN response to the crisis in Burundi between 2015-2017.

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