The closure of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) signifies a success for UN peace and stability efforts, as well as the Organization’s ability to quickly liquidate a field mission once its mandate is complete.
After the Security Council’s decision to end the UNIOGBIS mandate on 31 December 2020, a small Liquidation Team formed from remaining support staff (and aided by experts from the Department of Operational Support) completed closure activities within two months.
This includes support to affected staff, disposal of all remaining assets, environmental clean-up, and the destruction or archival of records.
As many colleagues were affected by downsizing decisions, the Liquidation Team helped UNIOGBIS staff find vacancies with other UN entities, held a jobs fair with prospective employers, and also offered entrepreneurship training and counselling services.
The liquidation of UNIOGBIS was an important opportunity to support the broader transition of the Organization’s role in Guinea-Bissau to the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) under the leadership of the Resident Coordinator.
UNIOGBIS successfully returned its headquarters facility to the UNCT fully renovated and equipped. They transferred assets and inventories in line with the Organization’s rules and regulations and ensured that, wherever possible, the skills and experience of UNIOGBIS staff were retained by agencies, funds, and programmes in the country.
Despite the short two-month closure period following the drawdown throughout 2020, the closure of any field mission is a complex and long-term process, aimed at enabling a smooth transition from UN presence to the local government, as well as preservation of the mission’s legacy.
To ensure close cooperation needed between UNIOGBIS and UNHQ, the Division of Special Activities (in DOS) started coordinating with other pillars – including the Global Services Centre based in Brindisi and the Regional Services Centre in Entebbe – more than 18 months before the mandate was complete.
The Division for Special Activities is a key operational arm of DOS, and provides support solutions across the Secretariat for "special situations."