Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen
The United Nations has been supporting Yemen for 60 years. Since 2011, the United Nations has been facilitating Yemen’s political transition, at a moment when the country was on the brink of civil war: fighting had killed and wounded hundreds. Yemenis rallied in squares, demanding that President Ali Abdullah Saleh step down.
Working closely with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and government, key political groupings and civil society, a process for peaceful dialogue was established under the auspices of the GCC Initiative and its Implementation Mechanism. The agreement included commitment to inclusive participation, including for women and youth, in the political process.
Under the framework of the agreement there was provision for the non-competitive election for a new President. This took place on 21 February 2012 and power was peacefully transferred to the then Vice-President Abed Rabbuh Mansour Hadi in a largely peaceful environment with high voter participation. A National Unity Government was formed and this was followed by six-months of preparations for a Comprehensive National Dialogue.
A promising Outcome Document was adopted with an agreement on a set of principles for a new Yemen and setting the foundations for a new state on the basis of federalism and democracy, pursuant to the principles of rule of law and equal citizenship. Despite Yemen being among the most conservative countries in the region, the Outcome Document called for 30 per cent representation for women at all levels of government.
The outcomes of the Comprehensive National Dialogue Conference remain an important point of consensus in Yemen’s political life. A Constitution Drafting Commission was formed in March 2014 and worked intensively on a draft constitution until January 2015. Many elements of this draft constitution and recommendations from the Committee should remain useful for the development of a new Yemeni Constitution in the future. The National Dialogue built on Yemen’s proud tradition that has always allowed people regardless of class, regional, or political grouping to talk to each with ease, and strengthened the voice of women, youth and civil society in decisions about the future of the Yemeni state.