Recent abrupt and rapid transitions in political systems have highlighted the risks these moments can pose for peace and stability. Risks are typically compounded by the presence of heavily centralized administrations, and the absence of credible mechanisms for succession. These types of situations present unique challenges for the UN’s engagement in the lead-up to, during and after a transition event. With many countries facing abrupt changes and rapid transitions in their political systems, the UN needs to be prepared to implement its conflict prevention and sustaining peace mandates to support countries in building resilience, mitigating risks and attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The question of how to most effectively engage before, during and after transition moments of this type is vital to DPPA strategy and planning. More is needed by way of analytical frameworks and evidence-based practical advice to help DPPA and related personnel to plan, advise UN Country Teams and develop programming tools to support countries through such a unique and challenging event. Understanding the gender-related impacts of such transitions is also important for future UN engagements.