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United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq

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United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq
Formation14 August 2003
TypePolitical mission
Legal statusextended until 31 December 2025
Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq
Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert
Parent organization
United Nations Security Council

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) was formed on 14 August 2003 by United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1500 at the request of the Iraqi government to support national development efforts.[1][2]

UNAMI's mandate includes advising and assisting the government on political dialogue and national reconciliation; supporting political processes such as elections and the national census; facilitating regional dialogue between Iraq and neighboring countries; coordinating the delivery of humanitarian aid; advancing judicial and legal reforms; and promoting human rights.[3]

The Mission's achievements include assisting in six national elections, coordinating humanitarian and financial assistance from the UN and third-party donors, and providing advisory support to the Council of Representatives,[4] support which played a part in proceedings such as the drafting of Iraq's 2005 constitution, Since 2017, UNAMI has also worked to investigate and bring to justice members of ISIS for their crimes in the country.[5]

Since its establishment, UNAMI's mandate is subject to annual renewal and review by the UNSC; as of 2019, Resolution 2682 extended its mandate until 31 May 2024.[6]

In May 2024, Iraq's Prime Minister, Mohammed Shia' Al Sudani, wrote to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, announcing that UNAMI must finalize its operations and declaring December 31, 2025, as the official end date of the Mission in Iraq.[7] According to the Prime Minister, the decision to end the mission was based on "the political and security stability Iraq is experiencing and the progress made in various fields."[8]


The United Nations has been operating in Iraq since 1955 through a variety of programmes; specialized agencies established their offices in the early 1990s, with UNAMI being established after the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Amid deteriorating conditions in 2007, the UN worked to progressively increase its presence in Iraq and continued to expand its operations throughout the country. The UN maintains its presence in Iraq through the Assistance Mission and the United Nations Country Team (UNCT), which regroups the 20 UN agencies currently operating in Iraq.[2] Former Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General Sérgio Vieira de Mello was among 22 killed in a 2003 suicide attack carried out against the United Nations. The death of the envoy who was seen as a likely candidate for Secretary-General left a lasting impact on the United Nations.[9]

On 13 October 2023, the Secretary General of the United Nations appointed Volker Perthes of Germany as "Head, Independent Strategic Review of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq Mandated by Security Council resolution 2682 (2023)". The purpose of the Independent Strategic Review was to: (a) assess the current threats to the peace and security of Iraq and the continued relevance of the Mission’s tasks and priorities; (b) provide recommendations to optimize the mandate, mission structure and staffing of UNAMI; and (c) assess options to support the Government of Iraq in strengthening effective regional cooperation on issues outlined in paragraph 2 (b) (iv) of the resolution.[10]

Mr Perthes' final report was submitted to the United Nations' Security Council on 28 March 2024. The final report recommended that the Security Council "launch a time-bound and indicator-based transition of the Mission’s tasks to national institutions and the United Nations country team in a responsible, orderly and gradual manner".[11] The final report provides that:

"Considering the current threats and challenges to the peace and security of Iraq, I have concluded that the core political functions of UNAMI, notably its good offices and advocacy, remain relevant. Its capacity-building activities in the areas of electoral assistance, human rights and cross-cutting United Nations priorities are also pertinent. They support long-term needs and are expected to remain relevant beyond the Mission’s eventual transition. They should therefore be gradually transferred to the United Nations country team as part of an overall reconfiguration of the United Nations presence in Iraq. Overall, UNAMI, in its present form, appears too big. Its mandate, priorities, activities, structure and staffing require streamlining to make it fit for the realities in Iraq."

For its part, the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Mohammed Shia' Al Sudani requested that UNAMI be dissolved, asserting that the mission has outlived its necessity. The government stated that "[t]his decision to end UNAMI's operations in Iraq, apart from the reasons mentioned, is a natural outcome of the evolving relationship between Iraq and the United Nations, fostering cooperation on different levels".[12] On 17 May 2024, members of the United Nations Security Council debated and were divided on UNAMI's future, with the United States stating that UNAMI still had “important work to do,” and making no mention of Baghdad’s request.[13]


UNAMI is headed by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq, who is supported by the Deputy Special Representative for Iraq for Political, Electoral and Constitutional Support, who oversees political and human rights affairs; and the Deputy Special Representative for Iraq, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, who oversees UN humanitarian and development efforts. The Mission is administered by the United Nations Department of Political Affairs and supported by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support.

Ashraf Jehangir Qazi (2004–2005): Qazi was appointed SRSG in July 2004 and remained in position until September 2007.

Staffan de Mistura (2005–2009): De Mistura has a Swedish mother and an Italian father. He was appointed SRSG in September 2007. De Mistura remained in his position until July 2009.

Ad Melkert (2009–2011): Melkert is from the Netherlands. Melkert studied political science at the University of Amsterdam. Melkert was appointed SRSG in July 2009.[14]

Martin Kobler (2011–2013): Kobler is from Germany. Kobler was appointed SRSG in August 2011.[15]

Nickolay Mladenov (2013–2015): Mladenov is from Bulgaria. In 1995, he graduated from the University of National and World Economy, majoring in international relations. The following year he obtained an MA in war studies from King's College London. Mladenov was appointed as SRSG in August 2013. Mladenov remained in his post until February 2015, when he was appointed UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.

Ján Kubiš (2015–2019): Kubiš was appointed SRSG in February 2015. Kubiš is from Slovakia. Kubiš studied international relations at the University of Moscow. Kubiš remained in his post until December 2018. In January 2019, Kubiš was appointed United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon.

Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert (2019–present): Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert of the Netherlands is the current SRSG for Iraq, succeeding Ján Kubiš of Slovakia in December 2018.[16] The current Deputy Special Representative for Political, Electoral and Constitutional Affairs is Alice Walpole of the United Kingdom,[17] While Ghulam Isaczai of Afghanistan serves as the Deputy Special Representative responsible for humanitarian and development efforts.[18]

In 2023, there were approximately 648 personnel, 251 international staff and 397 national staff working for UNAMI.[19]


The current mandate of UNAMI was extended to 31 May 2023 under UNSC Resolution 2631, adopted on 26 May 2022.[20] One of its tasks is to implement the International Compact with Iraq. The Mission is mandated "as circumstances permit" and "at the request of the Government of Iraq" to:

  • Advise support and assist the Government of Iraq in:
    • advancing their inclusive, political dialogue and national reconciliation;
    • development of processes for holding elections and referenda;
    • constitutional review and the implementation of constitutional provisions;
    • development of processes acceptable to the Government of Iraq to resolve disputed internal boundaries;
    • facilitating regional dialogue, including on issues of border security, energy, and refugees;
    • planning, funding and implementing reintegration programmes for former members of illegal armed groups;
    • initial planning for the conduct of a comprehensive census;
  • Promote, support, and facilitate, in coordination with the Government of Iraq:
    • The coordination and delivery of humanitarian assistance and the safe, orderly, and voluntary return, as appropriate;
    • The implementation of the International Compact with Iraq, including coordination with donors and international financial institutions;
    • The coordination and implementation of programmes to improve Iraq's capacity to provide essential services for its people and continue active donor coordination of critical reconstruction and assistance programmes through the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq (IRFFI);
    • Economic reform, capacity-building and the conditions for sustainable development, including through coordination with national and regional organizations and, as appropriate, civil society, donors, and international financial institutions;
    • The development of effective civil, social and essential services, including through training and conferences in Iraq when possible;
    • The contributions of United Nations agencies, funds, and programmes to the objectives outlined in this resolution under a unified leadership of the Secretary-General through his Special Representative for Iraq;
  • And also promote the protection of human rights and judicial and legal reform in order to strengthen the rule of law in Iraq[3]

Military representatives and guards[edit]

  •  Fiji - 160 troops, who are responsible for protecting UN buildings and staff in the Green Zone. Trained, equipped and transported to Iraq by Australia, the contingent was first deployed to Iraq in December 2004, at which time it consisted of 134 troops.[21][22]
  •    Nepal - 77 troops and one military observer. After Fiji, Nepal bears the most responsibility for guarding UN assets in Iraq.[22]

Former Participants[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ United Nations Security Council Resolution 1500. S/RES/1500(2003) page 1. 14 August 2003. Retrieved 13 September 2007.
  2. ^ a b "About UN in Iraq". United Nations Iraq. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  3. ^ a b "UNAMI Mandate". United Nations Iraq. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  4. ^ "Facts and Figures". United Nations Iraq. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  5. ^ United Nations Security Council Resolution 2379. S/RES/2379(2017) 21 September 2017.
  6. ^ United Nations Security Council Resolution 2682. S/RES/2682(2023) 30 May 2023.
  7. ^ "Iraq requests end of UN assistance mission by end-2025". Reuters.
  8. ^ "Prime Minister Receives Plasschaert on the Occasion of her Tenure End". Iraqi News Agency.
  9. ^ Gowan, Richard (12 August 2013). "Diplomatic Fallout: Vieira de Mello and the Dark Side of U.N. Diplomacy". World Politics Review.
  10. ^ "Secretary-General appoints Mr. Volker Perthes of Germany as Head, Independent Strategic Review of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq Mandated by Security Council resolution 2682 (2023)". United Nations. 13 October 2023.
  11. ^ "Report on the independent strategic review of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq" (PDF). United Nations. 28 March 2024.
  12. ^ "Iraqi government issues a statement regarding ending UNAMI mandate in Iraq". Iraqi News Agency. 12 May 2024.
  13. ^ "Report on the independent strategic review of the United Nations Assistance Mission for IraqUN Security Council members divided on Iraq's request to close UN mission by 2025". al-Arabiya. 17 May 2024.
  14. ^ Secretary-General (13 July 2009). "Secretary-General Appoints Ad Melkert of Netherlands as His Special Representative for Iraq" (Press release). United Nations. SG/A/1193-BIO/4095-IK/606.
  15. ^ Secretary-General (11 August 2011). "Secretary-General Appoints Martin Kobler of Germany as Special Representative for Iraq" (Press release). United Nations. SG/A/1304-BIO/4308-IK/637.
  16. ^ Secretary-General (31 August 2018). "Secretary-General Appoints Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert of Netherlands Special Representative for Iraq" (Press release). United Nations. SG/A/1830-BIO/5132-PKO/751. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  17. ^ "UNAMI Leadership". United Nations Iraq. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  18. ^ "Secretary-General appoints Mr. Ghulam Isaczai of Afghanistan as Deputy Special Representative and Resident Coordinator for Iraq". United Nations Iraq. Retrieved 25 July 2022.
  19. ^ "United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) | United Nations in Iraq". iraq.un.org. Retrieved 8 February 2023.
  20. ^ Security Council (14 June 2018). "Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2421 (2018), Security Council Extends Mandate of Iraq Mission, with Priority Focus on Inclusive Political Dialogue" (Press release). United Nations. SC/13380. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  21. ^ "United Nations Peace Operations - Year in Review 2004". Un.org. Archived from the original on 9 June 2008. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  22. ^ a b "Summary of Contribution to UN Peacekeeping by Mission, Country and Post. Police, UN Military Experts on Mission, Staff Officers and Troops 31/01/2020" (PDF). Peacekeeping.UN.org.
  23. ^ "Iraq Weekly Status Report" (PDF). United States Department of State. 16 March 2005. Retrieved 4 August 2012 – via GlobalSecurity.org.
  24. ^ Pike, John. "Iraq Coalition: Non-US Forces in Iraq". GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  25. ^ "Press Releases, Statements & Transcripts - Embassy of the U.S. in Georgia". Archived from the original on 10 October 2017. Retrieved 15 May 2009.
  26. ^ "Operation IOLAUS". Department of National Defence. 15 January 2014.
  27. ^ a b c d e f g DPKO UN Mission's Summary detailed by Country

External links[edit]