Mali has faced ongoing conflict since the coup d’état in 2012, and progress in the 2015 Malian peace process has been slow. The peace agreement between the former government and northern separatists has not yet been implemented. In addition to northern Mali’s challenging situation, central Mali has also faced high levels of conflict since 2016, and the growing presence of and attacks carried out by jihadist groups have further destabilized the situation. The political situation in Mali has changed since the recent coup d’etat on 18 August 2020. Under pressure and economic sanctions from ECOWAS and countries in the region, the transitional administration has agreed to organize elections within the next 18 months. The conflict has had wide humanitarian, socio-economic and human rights repercussions. Even with heavy military presence, Mali’s humanitarian situation is challenging, and 4.3 million people need humanitarian assistance.
Several international and regional actors operate in Mali. The UN has since 2013 deployed one of its most extensive multidimensional peacekeeping operations—the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). The mission currently includes over 15 000 personnel from 57 contributing countries. Furthermore, over 5000 French troops are deployed under France’s Operation Barkhane. Barkhane now also commands the Takuba Task Force, an elite unit set up in 2020 where multiple countries have agreed to provide special forces. The regional G5 Sahel force consists of joint forces from Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad, coordinating military operations in Mali’s border regions. The European Union (EU) also has two training missions in Mali, the EU Training Mission in Mali (EUTM) which provides training for the Malian armed forces, and the EU Capacity and Assistance Programme (EUCAP), which focuses on the internal security forces and police. The African Union (AU) is also heavily involved in peace initiatives in Mali. The Mission de l’Union Africaine pour le Mali et le Sahel (MISAHEL) is the AU’s mission for Mali and the Sahel, which oversees the AU’s work in Mali and the region. In 2020, a 3000-strong force was approved by the AU´s Peace and Security Council to be deployed to the Sahel region. The force will work together with ECOWAS and the G5 Sahel.
Due to the challenging and ongoing crisis in Mali, it was an interesting place for the Effectiveness of Peace Operations Network to conduct a study of the UN operation in Mali (MINUSMA) in 2019. However, the situation and context are constantly changing, and new studies are in the pipeline by EPON partners. On this page, you will find the 2019 EPON study and other related EPON partner studies on peacebuilding and stabilization initiatives in Mali.