UN Mediation and the Politics of Transition after Constitutional Crises

Context

When a coup d'état or unconstitutional change of government happens, how does the UN respond? This is the question addressed in IPI's latest policy paper: UN Mediation and the Politics of Transition after Constitutional Crises by Charles T. Call.Examining the UN's experience in dealing with such political crises in Kenya, Mauritania, Guinea, Madagascar, and Kyrgyzstan between 2008 and 2011, this report identifies trends across the cases and draws lessons regarding the role of international mediation and the transitional political arrangements that emerged.

Selected Resources

Strengthening the UN's Mediation Support Unit, whose standby team of thematic experts have been successfully deployed in several cases;In order to ensure a principled, coherent, and effective response that prevents the escalation of violence and facilitates a country's return to constitutional order, Call recommends:

  • expanding and adequately resourcing UN regional offices, which have made singular contributions to mediation efforts;
  • appointing mediators with prior professional experience in other multilateral organizations, who can contribute to effective collaboration among international and regional organizations;
  • preparing the UN more systematically for addressing electoral disputes;
  • enhancing communication between the UN Department of Political Affairs and resident coordinators on the ground;
  • creating effective UN mechanisms to monitor transitional arrangements, including power sharing arrangements and other efforts for reconciliation, justice, and conflict-sensitive development.
  • Interestingly, Call argues that the UN should be cautious about adopting a blanket policy of denouncing all departures from constitutional order.