DPA Department of Political Affairs

UN Entity Layer: 

The United Nations Department of Political Affairs was established in 1992 and in 1997 was designated as the lead entity responsible for diplomatic conflict resolution. DPA serves as the lead UN entity in support of peace negotiations and the implementation of peace agreements, which makes it very responsible in the implementation of SCR 1325. The nature of the work of the DPA at the Headquarters and field levels is diplomacy, which includes bringing parties to conflict to the table, support electoral processes and support the work of the Security Council members and the Special Representatives and Representatives to the Secretary-General.

The department holds an advisory role to the Office of the Secretary-General and acts as a support unit for UN envoys and field operations. DPA also provides assistance to Member States and bodies such as the Security Council in the form of political advisors and support for the Security Council’s committees and working groups. DPA is heavily relied upon for thematic support in UN entities such as the General Assembly where it monitors two main themes: 1) Rights of Palestinian People, and 2) Decolonization. Jeffrey Feltman currently holds the post as the Under-Secretary of DPA and reports to the Secretary-General.

Gender Mainstreaming is an express policy of the Department. DPA works closely with the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women (OSAGI) on the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325, specifically on the women’s participation in the electoral process. However, DPA does not have a Gender Unit, and civil society continues to call for the establishment of a DPA Gender Unit with gender advice throughout DPA, particularly in the Mediation Support Unit, which will impact women at the peace table, and having the crucial areas of particular concern to women in conflict situations addressed in peace agreements.


DPA’s responsibilities in the implementation of the provisions of SCR 1325 can be approached from three aspects of its mandate. First, DPA has responsibilities for all articles that call on action from the Secretary-General, with the exception of those that address the Secretary-General’s responsibilities in the context of peacekeeping.

These articles include responsibilities to:

  • increase the number of women appointed as Special Representatives and Envoys and other positions in UN field operations
  • provide training guidelines on women’s rights and women’s involvement in peacebuilding processes
  • report to the Security Council on gender mainstreaming in peacekeeping missions, and the particular situation of women and girls in the respective country

Second, DPA is implicated in article 8, which calls on “all actors involved, when negotiating and implementing peace agreements” to integrate a gender perspective in constitutional and electoral processes, security sector reform and the negotiation and implementation of peace agreements, as well as support women’s participation in conflict resolution, the negotiation and implementation of peace agreements.

Third, DPA is responsible in its capacity as a political advisor to Member States, to those provisions that pertain to the work of Member States and the Security Council itself as primary actors in implementation.

These articles include responsibilities to:

  • increase the number of women in decision-making at all levels
  • integrate a gender perspective and women’s rights approach into all Security Council missions
  • exclude amnesty provisions for sexual and other violent crimes against women and girls from peace agreements and national legislation.

Contact Information

For more information, please visit the official DPA website.