The United Nations provided diplomatic, political, technical, logistical and financial support for the national dialogue process. Through a team of experts in transition processes, national dialogues, constitution making, law and governance, among other issues, the Office helped empower Yemenis to lead their transition, to plan for it in a deliberate, considered and informed manner, and to learn from the experiences of other countries.
The United Nations worked closely with various Yemeni political parties and leaders to arrange for the Comprehensive National Dialogue Conference. A Technical Preparatory Committee started its meetings in June 2012, involving all political factions and constituencies. It concluded its work in December 2012 with an agreement on the structure, organization, rules of procedure, and management of the National Dialogue Conference. This included creating a Secretariat and a Presidium to oversee nine Working Groups which addressed the Southern question, Saada, national issues and reconciliation and transitional justice, state building, good governance, foundations for building military and security, independent entities, rights and freedoms, and sustainable development.
The United Nations helped to underpin the creation of the Secretariat of the National Dialogue in a record time, through the provision of expertise, funds and logistical support. Under the leadership of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, the 565 delegates representing all Yemeni constituencies, including groups of Southern Hirak, Houthis, women, youth and civil society, commenced the National Dialogue Conference on 18 March 2013.
The United Nations facilitated dozens of Dialogue sessions, and at the request of the interlocutors, presented dozens of papers reflecting on the experiences of other countries in various matters. The Southern question required significant attention, especially as the Working Group on this issue reached deadlock. A sub-committee was formed, and the United Nations facilitated its meetings for three months, leading on 23 December 2013 to the signing of the “Agreement on a Just Solution to the Southern Question,” on the basis of federalism. The National Dialogue then concluded on 25 January 2014 with the adoption of an Outcome Document that stipulated a roadmap towards the full transition of Yemen into a state that upholds democracy, freedom, rule of law, human rights and good governance. A special committee agreed later that the new federal state shall comprise of six regions.