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 Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen (OSESGY) was established under the directions of the United Nations Secretary-General to support the Secretary-General in exercising his good offices in Yemen; facilitate Yemen’s transition; contribute to achieving lasting and just peace in Yemen; work closely with members of the Security Council, the Gulf Cooperation Council 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.

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 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.

On 06 August 2021, the United Nations Secretary-General appointed Hans Grundberg of Sweden as his Special Envoy for Yemen. Mr. Grundberg succeeds Martin Griffiths (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) who was appointed on 16 February 2018, succeeding Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed of Mauritania, who served as a Special Envoy to the SecretaryGeneral from April 2015 to February 2018.

On 02 April 2022, Mr. Grundberg announced a two-months Truce Agreement, which was extended two times and expired on 02 October 2022. The terms of the Truce included facilitating the entry of 18 fuel ships into the ports of Hudaydah, allowing two commercial flights a week to and from Sana’a airport, and convening a meeting between the parties to agree on opening roads in Taiz and elsewhere to improve civilians’ freedom of movement inside Yemen.

The Special-Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen has since engaged in active mediation between the parties to the conflict to agree on confidence-building measures and a nationwide ceasefire and build towards convening an inclusive, Yemeni-led political process under the auspices of the United Nations that delivers on the aspirations of Yemenis in all their diversity.