DPPA’s Strategic Plan 2023–2026: Adapting to the Peace and Security Challenges of the Future

The Department’s newly released plan, which covers the next four years, focuses on goals that will frame its work preventing and resolving conflict in a more complex and crisis-driven context.

Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region Huang Xia visits Kiwanja, Democratic Republic of Congo. Credit: UN Photo

The Global Context

The multiple threats to peace and security plaguing our world have converged in an unprecedented and devastating manner. Armed conflicts continue to exact a catastrophic toll. Just in the past year, the war in Ukraine brought a return of full-scale conflict to Europe and challenged the very principles of the UN Charter. Digital technologies, hate speech and disinformation are impacting national and regional level conflict dynamics. Populism is on the rise and democracy is under attack. The COVID-19 pandemic has not only undermined trust in public institutions, but also exacerbated inequalities. And we are still struggling to adequately tackle the existential climate crisis.

Together, these challenges have systemic implications that compound their individual effects, while growing divisions at the global level make multilateral action to address them more difficult.

Against this backdrop, DPPA has developed and just launched its new Strategic Plan, covering the period 2023–2026. The Plan signals a degree of continuity from its predecessor, as the Department’s overarching goals and strategic objectives naturally remain largely the same. But while the Strategic Plan 2020–2022 was crafted in the context of the Secretary-General’s reforms in his 2017, including a restructuring of the UN’s peace and security pillar to make it more coherent, pragmatic and effective, the new Plan is more outward looking and reflective of the current global context, and looks at how DPPA and its special political missions can bolster both “good offices” work and the contributions of the multilateral system.

The Plan and the New Agenda for Peace

Special Envoy of the Secretary-General Geir O. Pedersen visits Baba Amr, Syria. Photo credit: UN Photo

DPPA’s new Strategic Plan is also framed by the work to develop a New Agenda for Peace, pursuant to the Secretary-General’s report on Our Common Agenda. DPPA is developing the New Agenda for Peace together with DPO and the Offices of Counter-Terrorism and of Disarmament Affairs. The New Agenda will put forward ideas and outline actions how the United Nations can assist Member States with more cooperative approaches to manage threats at the global, regional and national levels, as well as how it can help re-build trust in the collective security system.

The Agenda will also describe enhancements to the “diplomatic toolbox” of the UN Charter, in order to better prevent the outbreak, escalation and recurrence of hostilities, as called for in the UN75 Declaration. The Agenda will contain a renewed emphasis on the Organization’s peacebuilding strengths, including potentially reinforcing the role of the Peacebuilding Commission. It will also focus on inclusion efforts, to make progress in promoting women’s participation in political processes. The Strategic Plan will echo these areas and themes, and thus be in lockstep with the New Agenda for Peace.

The Goals

Local communities to discuss the transition process,UNITAMS, Darfur, Sudan. Photo credit: UNITAMS

DPPA’s new Strategic Plan organizes the Department’s work into three main goals. Two of these focus on substantive work, while the third is focused on internal systems and working measures.

Goal 1, “Preventing and resolving violent conflicts and sustaining peace,” focuses on the Department’s mandate to prevent and halt violent conflict. Through its network of special political missions, peace and development advisors, and field presences — and in concert with the wider UN system — the Department will extend the Secretary-General’s “good offices” where they are needed most.

Goal 2, “A more effective multilateral architecture for international peace and security,” focuses on the work of DPPA as part of the global international system, including the support it provides to UN bodies. As the Plan notes, “DPPA is central to advancing the UN’s normative role within the multilateral system and the broader public discourse,” taking into account and addressing issues such as the Women, Peace and Security Agenda and the priority issues affecting conflict dynamics, such as climate change.

Goal 3, “A stronger, more diverse and more effective Department,” reflects the understanding that DPPA’s internal culture, working methods and approaches are critical to the successful implementation of its mandates.

DPPA’s Approach

Mirko Manzoni, Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for Mozambique. Credit: Photo UN Mozambique

In an environment of multiple crises, growing demand, and constrained resources, the Department is strengthening its emphasis on prioritization. DPPA will need to balance crisis response and conflict resolution efforts on the one hand, and longer-term peacebuilding and sustaining peace initiatives on the other and ensure that all situations benefit from systematic reviews of political analysis and strategy. DPPA will continue to advance innovation, including through digital transformation, data, foresight, and behavioral science. It will also draw upon the expertise of the entire peace and security pillar, and continue to strengthen its partnerships across the development, humanitarian and human rights communities.

DPPA will also focus on continuing its inclusion efforts, ensuring gender-responsive peacemaking and the engagement of women’s groups in conflict prevention, in line with the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, as well as continuing to lead work on the inclusion of youth, in accordance with the Youth, Peace and Security agenda. Critically, it will also expand its reach to ensure the inclusion of the LGBTQI+ community, persons living with disabilities, and other excluded groups and communities.

One Actor Among Many

Above all, and as the Goals of the Plan make clear, DPPA is conscious of its role as one of a network of stakeholders — international, regional, sub-regional, local — that must all contribute to help change the trajectory of conflict and reduce the risks of actual or potential violence.

“We are grateful to have received so many useful contributions and inputs from our stakeholders and partners, including of course the staff of DPPA, at many levels,” said Markus Bouillon, Chief of the Office of the Under-Secretary-General, whose team coordinated the development of the new Strategic Plan. “This has undoubtedly made our Plan stronger and more focused. DPPA’s new Strategic Plan builds on the goals and objectives of the previous plan — but reflects the lessons learned and the new environment in which we find ourselves. Orientation towards the impact on the ground and prioritization are more important than ever.”

Read and download DPPA’s Strategic Plan 2023–2026 here.




The online magazine of the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Politically Speaking

The online magazine of the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs