From the initial crisis surrounding political transition, and through the ensuing war, the United Nations (UN) has played a variety of roles in Yemen, under its mandate from the international community. Most notably, it has served as a mediator seeking to bring the warring parties together to establish a peace agreement that would end the protracted conflict. The perceptions and impressions of the UN and its role among the main parties to the conflict were highly divergent. However, this did not prevent them from expressing a general desire to develop realistic and sustainable solutions to the conflict with the assistance of the UN as a key facilitator and mediator acting on the behalf of the international community.
As part of its ongoing efforts to explore the potential for peace and an end to the ongoing hostilities in Yemen, the Emirates Policy Center (EPC) prepared this paper to explore the role of the United Nations in peacemaking in the country – both before and after the crisis evolved into violence – and its attempts to resolve and mitigate the disastrous humanitarian consequences. The paper reviews in some detail the UN vision of the Yemen conflict and the evolution of its role, providing an analysis of the its limits and purpose, as well as the perceptions of the various belligerents toward it. The paper also examines the impact of the most important internal and external factors on the effectiveness of that role, including the most significant problems and difficulties limiting its effectiveness. It seeks to provide solutions to overcome such barriers in the future and facilitate access to a lasting settlement that lifts Yemen from this devastating conflict.