Supporting the stabilisation and peace process

Project description

Title: Project to support stabilisation and peace in Mali
Commissioned by: Federal Foreign Office
Country: Mali
Lead executing agency: Ministry of National Reconciliation and Social Cohesion
Overall term: 2016 to 2021

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Context

Following a military coup and the occupation of the north by Islamist terrorist groups and separatist rebels, Mali faced a major political and security crisis in 2012. After the government regained control of the north with the help of international military forces and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) had been sent to the country, Mali returned to relative stability with elections being held in 2013. In 2015, a peace agreement was signed between the Government of Mali, pro-government armed groups and the coalition of militant groups resisting central authority. It provided an opportunity to lay the foundation for reconciliation, stability and peace. However, progress in implementing the agreement remains slow even today – in addition to the obstructive approach adopted by the involved stakeholders, new centres of conflict are arising with excessive force being used against civilians in central Mali. With terrorist attacks expanding further and further south, it is becoming increasingly difficult to bring long-lasting stability to Mali.

The main state actors in the peace process face diverse challenges: they need to accelerate the implementation of the peace agreement, pay attention to the needs of the people, negotiate in conflicts, drive forward the process of coming to terms with experiences and reconciliation, and also make a peace dividend visible for the population. Their human resources, financial and organisational capacities are extremely limited and coordination between ministries, state administrative structures, local authorities and the populace is inadequate. The fact that Mali also has yet to address human rights violations or undergo the subsequent process of the reconciliation in society as a whole is another obstacle to achieving stability and peace.

Objective

Mali’s institutions have received support to implement an inclusive stabilisation and peace process. The population is increasingly benefiting from a peace dividend, which boosts confidence in the peace process and in the government.

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Approach

The predecessor project laid the foundations for the work of the Ministry of National Reconciliation and the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, helped improve communication regarding the peace agreement and promoted dialogue and conflict resolution in the regions.

The current project cooperates with the Ministry of National Reconciliation, the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, the Office of the High Representative of the President of the Republic of Mali for the Implementation of the Algiers Peace Agreement, the representation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Mali, decentralised state services, local authorities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), foundations and experts. The partnerships are one of the cornerstones of the project and promote strategic (peace) alliances.

Stabilisation of the northern regions and promotion of peaceful cohabitation: Through participatory citizens’ dialogue, micro projects to promote socio-economic perspectives have been identified at local level and implemented together with the target groups. The focus is on encouraging business ideas that will provide the population, particularly women and young people, with an income even in the longer term. The target groups are assisted with drawing up business plans and with sustainable management of the income-generating initiatives.

The project also supports the executing agency and its decentralised structures with constructive conflict transformation. This is done by, among other things, mainstreaming mechanisms that have already been developed such as dialogue formats with mediation components and violence-prevention methods.

Support for coming to terms with the past and reconciliation measures: The project supports the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission of Mali in implementing its mandate by providing strategic, process and technical advice. Priority areas include framing a reparations policy for victims of human rights violations, holding public hearings and developing initiatives and strategies for archiving and remembrance work. The Truth Commission will formulate recommendations and implementation proposals for the Mali Government regarding these topics. The project supports the process of archiving important documents from the peace process, allowing them to be transferred to the National Archives of Mali and made accessible to the public as historical documents.

Coordination with multinational and bilateral stakeholders is a component of the project. These include the UN peacekeeping force (MINUSMA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the European Union, France and Switzerland, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and German and other national and international NGOs and institutions.

Within the scope of the micro projects in Gao, information is shared with the German contingent and the MINUSMA stabilisation unit. Based on a monitoring system, experiences gained in the project will be documented, evaluated and used for any necessary conceptual adjustments.

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Results

  • Despite the difficult security situation, 196,269 people in the northern regions of Gao and Ménaka have benefited from a total of 34 peacebuilding stabilisation measures (micro projects) and the associated positive impact on the living conditions.
  • Throughout the country, 35 dialogue forums have been held on local conflict issues, peaceful use of resources, the contents of the peace agreement and deradicalisation of the local youth.
  • The six regional offices of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission have received technical and material support from the project. So far, more than 13,000 statements made by victims and witnesses regarding human rights violations have been documented.
  • The project has continuously supported the development of a comprehensive reparation and compensation policy for victims of human rights violations through regional consultation processes and professional expertise. This lays the foundations for long-term compensation and reconciliation in Mali.

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