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Mediating Transition in Yemen: Achievements and Lessons

Author: Zyck, S.A. 
Publication date: 2014

Yemen remains the only site of an Arab Spring uprising that ended in a negotiated agreement and an internationally supported transition process. 

This report explores how the UN proactively employed the good offices of the secretary-general to open an impartial space for dialogue where none had previously been considered possible and closely participated in designing and implementing a transition process for Yemen that involved the inclusive National Dialogue Conference (NDC).

In light of the recent conflict in the North of Yemen and Sana’a, with a constitution-drafting process underway, a referendum to approve a draft constitution, and coming elections all within the next year, the open dialogue established among key parties and factions in Yemen’s transition had become increasingly important.

The highly complex environment posed numerous challenges for mediation, and the report identifies the UN’s multifaceted and still-evolving contributions, as well as some missed opportunities, in Yemen’s transition and in responding to the country’s ongoing and escalating conflicts.

After providing a historical context and analysis of the UN role in mediating Yemen’s transition process, the report concludes with recommendations and lesson learned for UN mediation.