The Political Affairs Office (PAO) provides UNMEE with a political perspective on implementation of its mandate. PAO monitors, analyses, assesses and reports on political trends and developments in the Mission area as well as regional and other external dynamics that impinge on the peace process. Political Affairs Officers gather information from a wide range of sources, including senior officials, local authorities, members of the diplomatic community, and other stakeholders. On the basis of this information, PAO assesses the potential impact of trends and developments on implementation of the Mission's mandate and the peace process in general. PAO provides political advice and substantive support to the head of the Mission – the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG).
PAO is headed by the Principal Political Affairs Officer (PPAO) under the operational guidance of the head of Mission.
PAO is a unified department covering the Mission headquarters in Addis Ababa and Asmara. Under its normal staffing compliment, the office maintains Field Centres on both sides of the border, to enable interaction with local authorities.