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Summary report on lessons learned from the experience of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (S/2021/1099) [EN/AR]

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1. On 22 December 2020, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2559 (2020), by which it decided to terminate the mandate of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) by the end of 2020. That decision concluded the 13-year deployment of UNAMID in Darfur as the first, and thus far only, hybrid peacekeeping mission, which had begun on 31 July 2007 with the adoption of Security Council resolution 1769 (2007) and the transfer of the mandate from the African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) to UNAMID on 31 December 2007. In its resolution 2559 (2020), the Security Council requested the Secretary-General to provide it with an assessment of the lessons learned from the experience of UNAMID.

2. The present report builds on a comprehensive desk review of existing literature and internal documents as well as interviews with Sudanese and international stakeholders and current and former African Union and United Nations officials. The study was jointly conceptualized and overseen by the United Nations and the African Union under the Joint United Nations-African Union Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security. The present summary report outlines the findings and lessons learned in relation to the methods, achievements and challenges of UNAMID in its core mandated areas and cross-cutting functions, as defined in its revised mandate pursuant to Security Council resolution 2148 (2014), and in relation to the unique hybrid mission model.

Context for the deployment of the Operation and the trajectory of its mandate

3. In February 2003, violent conflict erupted in the Darfur region of the Sudan. To address the crisis, AMIS was deployed to Darfur after the signing of the N’djamena humanitarian ceasefire agreement of 2004. Initially a small observer mission, its mandate was extended to include the protection of civilians and its footprint expanded to about 7,000 personnel. The Mission faced mounting operational challenges and increasing concerns over a lack of financial sustainability, leading to calls for a transition from AMIS to a United Nations peacekeeping operation. The deployment of a hybrid African Union-United Nations mission emerged as a compromise after extensive political negotiations and following the refusal of the Government of the Sudan to consent to an expansion of the United Nations Mission in the Sudan into Darfur.

4. On 31 December 2007, UNAMID assumed authority from AMIS, with an initial mandate under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations to cover (a) support to the peace process and good offices, including monitoring and various implementation support roles; (b) security, including the monitoring and reporting of violations of the peace agreement, the protection of civilians, without prejudice to the responsibility of the Government of the Sudan, and the disarmament and disengagement of armed groups; (c) the rule of law, governance and human rights; and (d) facilitation of the provision of humanitarian assistance and access.

5. Through its resolution 2148 (2014), the Security Council streamlined the mandate of UNAMID around three strategic priorities: (a) the protection of civilians, the facilitation of humanitarian access and the safety and security of humanitarian actors; (b) mediation between the Government of the Sudan and the non-signatory armed groups on the basis of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur; and (c) support to the mediation of community conflict, including through measures to address its root causes, in conjunction with the United Nations country team. Furthermore, in 2014, the Council first signalled its intention to initiate a gradual drawdown of UNAMID by requesting recommendations on a future mandate and an exit strategy. Through Council resolution 2363 (2017), the mission was mandated to adopt a “two-pronged approach” with a focus on peacekeeping in the Jebel Marra area to address active fighting while calling for a whole-of-system approach to Darfur in order to support community stabilization and peacebuilding efforts in more stable areas of the region. Following a progressive reduction in the size and footprint of UNAMID to about 6,100 uniformed personnel by the end of 2020, the Council terminated the mission’s mandate through its resolution 2559 (2020), effective 31 December 2020, while authorizing a six-month period for the final drawdown of the mission to be completed by 30 June 2021 and requesting the Secretary-General to ensure a phased, sequenced and efficient transition from UNAMID to the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in the Sudan (UNITAMS), as well as close coordination and cooperation, and the sharing of information and analysis to maximize synergies, leverage resources and prevent duplication of effort.