Insecurity has widened, the humanitarian situation has deteriorated, more children are out of schoolNEW YORK, United States of America, January 11, 2022 / APO Group / -
A decade after the civil conflict broke out in Mali, hopes for an early resolution of the insurgency and conflicts have not materialized, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the country, El-Ghassim Wane, told the Security Council on Tuesday. .
Instead, explained the main UN envoy, "insecurity has expanded, the humanitarian situation has deteriorated, more children do not go to school and the country has been affected by an endless cycle of instability."
In fact, more than 1.8 million people are expected to need food assistance in 2022 compared to 1.3 million in 2021, the highest level of food insecurity on record since 2014.
And more than half a million children have been affected by the closure of schools, which, according to the envoy, puts "the future of the country in danger."
Despite these challenges, Mr. Wane argued that the situation "would have been much worse" without the commitment of the international community, including the deployment of the UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSMA) in 2013.
The Malian government has been trying to restore stability after a series of setbacks since early 2012, including a failed military coup, renewed fighting between government forces and Tuareg rebels, and the seizure of its northern territory by part of radical extremists.
The Special Representative also briefed the Council on the ongoing clash between the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the military-controlled transition leaders of Mali.
Over the weekend, ECOWAS held an Extraordinary Summit and decided that the proposed timetable for the transition, of up to five and a half years, was “totally unacceptable”.
Urging the Malian authorities to focus on a speedy return to constitutional order, they decided to maintain the individual sanctions established on December 12 and imposed additional ones.
The new sanctions include the withdrawal of Bamako ambassadors, the closure of land and air borders, the suspension of all commercial and financial transactions (with some exceptions), and the suspension of financial assistance, among others.
Mali reciprocated by withdrawing its ambassadors and closing its borders with the ECOWAS member states.
However, in a speech to the nation on Monday night, Transitional President Colonel Assimi Goita called for unity and calm, stating that Mali remains open to dialogue.
Mr. Wane explained that supporting the transition is a key aspect of MINUSMA's mandate, so the mission will try to find a consensual way out to overcome the stalemate.
"A prolonged stagnation will make it much more difficult to find a consensual solution, while increasing the difficulties for the population and further weaken the capacity of the State," he argued, warning that such a scenario "would have far-reaching consequences for Mali and its neighbors." .
Beyond the political transition, Mr. Wane believes that it is also crucial that the Council continue to pay attention to the implementation of the peace agreement and stability in the Center of the divided nation, calling them two "building blocks" for a peaceful and stable peace. Mali.
'Window of opportunity'
In December, a national consultation process, known as Assises nationales de la refondation, ended with a series of main recommendations, including a constitutional review, the creation of a Senate, the acceleration of the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) process. and territorial decentralization.
For Mr. Wane, these proposals "offer a window of opportunity on which all interested parties should take advantage of to advance in the implementation of the peace agreement."
The Special Representative also provided an update on MINUSMA activities, noting that there were more extremist attacks in 2021 than in previous years.
The mission ended the year with the highest number of casualties since 2013, following a significant increase in attacks against main axes, convoys, camps and temporary operating bases.
In all, 28 peacekeepers were killed, including seven Togolese, in a single incident in December.
The conflict has also had a devastating impact on the civilian population and the humanitarian situation.
On December 3, for example, 32 civilians, including 26 women and children, were killed near Songho when extremist elements attacked their bus.
In just one year, the number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) increased from 216,000 to more than 400,000.
In such difficult circumstances, Mr. Wane described the response to the humanitarian appeal as "tepid", with only 38% of the funds received.