Background

Yemen has been facing a tragic and complex political military crisis since 2011, with grave implications for the country’s future and the whole region.

In 2011, the United Nations Secretary-General appointed a Special Adviser to support the Secretary-General in exercising his good offices in Yemen. The United Nations provided support for the negotiations between the Government and the opposition, which resulted in the signing of the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative and its Implementation Mechanism in Riyadh on 23 November 2011. The Special Adviser remained actively engaged with all Yemeni sides in facilitating and supporting its effective implementation. 

In 2012, the Secretary-General established the Office of the Special Envoy to the Secretary-General on Yemen to exercise his good offices to: facilitate Yemen’s transition and assist in the implementation of the Agreement; lead UN support to the National Dialogue Conference and coordinate international assistance to the Conference; provide support to other transition steps, including the constitutional review, and new general elections; work closely with the members of the Security Council, the GCC and other international partners; and support the Secretary-General’s ongoing reporting obligations to the Security Council in the context of resolutions 2014 (2011) and 2051 (2012).

In January 2014, Yemenis concluded the National Dialogue Conference, with the support and facilitation provided by the United Nations, which brought together 565 delegates from all the regions and political groupings of Yemen. The outcome document of the National Dialogue Conference established the foundations for a new federal and democratic Yemen, with support for good governance, the rule of law and human rights. A Constitution Drafting Commission was created to draft a new constitution based on the National Dialogue Conference outcomes.

Despite important progress in the political transition, conflicts between government forces, the Houthis and other armed groups after the draft constitution and power-sharing arrangements led to an escalation of military violence in mid-2014. Notwithstanding agreements brokered by then United Nations Special Adviser, the Houthis and allied units of the armed forces seized control of Sana’a and other parts of the country in September 2014 and over the ensuing months.

The United Nations facilitated numerous rounds of negotiations to resolve the political impasse, but these efforts were ineffective to halt the escalation of military confrontations that continued in early 2015. At the request of President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a coalition of countries led by Saudi Arabia intervened militarily on 26 March 2015 in support of the Government of Yemen.

Ιn its resolution 2216 (2015), the Security Council has requested the Secretary-General to intensify his good offices role in order to enable the resumption of a peaceful, inclusive, orderly and Yemeni-led transition. Since then, the Special Envoy has facilitated successive rounds of consultations aimed at obtaining a negotiated settlement to end the conflict and resume the political transition process, including direct talks in Switzerland in June and December 2015, and in Kuwait from April to August 2016. Despite these efforts by the United Nations, fighting continued between various parties throughout the country, including along the Saudi Arabia-Yemen border. 

On 16 February 2018, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres appointed Mr. Martin Griffiths of the United Kingdom as his Special Envoy for Yemen.

On 13 December 2018, the Government of Yemen and the Houthis  reached an agreement in Sweden, the Stockholm Agreement, on Hudaydah port and city, which included a mutual re-deployment of forces from the port and the city, and the establishment of a Governorate-wide ceasefire, as well as an agreement on the exchange of prisoners and detainees and an understanding on Ta’iz.

The Special Envoy of the Secretary-General has been responsible for mediating an agreement to end the conflict and enable the resumption of the political transition process, in accordance with the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative, the outcomes of the National Dialogue and Security Council resolutions.