BAMAKO, MALI (April 13, 2020) — The Carter Center, which serves as the Independent Observer of Mali’s 2015 peace agreement, today released a new report describing two persistent obstacles to the implementation of the agreement: the delay of electoral and administrative redistricting and continued problems preventing full redeployment of integrated army units.
The report urges the Signatory Parties and the International Mediation to address the long-standing redistricting issue and to come to agreement over the command structure of the newly reconstituted national army.
It contrasts the large amount of attention devoted to redeployment with the much smaller amount given to administrative and electoral redistricting. Since 2015, the parties, especially the government, have repeatedly promised to complete the redistricting process but have failed to do so. By not addressing the north’s underrepresentation in national institutions, the parties and the International Mediation perpetuate one of the fundamental political causes of the 2012 rebellion.
The report also stresses that the conditions under which the 2020 legislative elections are being held deal a blow to the commitments made in the agreement and enshrined in Malian law. As called for by Article 6 of the agreement, the National Assembly created the regions of Taoudéni and Ménaka as collectivités territoriales, but because redistricting has not occurred, their populations will not be able to elect the representatives accorded to them by the law.
The Independent Observer recommends that the agreement’s Monitoring Committee place redistricting at the core of its agenda and support the Parties’ recent dialogue on the redistricting process.
The report praises the recent redeployment of 1,000 newly integrated soldiers (ex-combatants from the Signatory Movements now part of the Malian national army) to Kidal, Gao, Timbuktu, and Ménaka. It laments, however, the six months of additional negotiations the redeployment required. In particular, the report highlights the government’s slow pace and lack of preparation for the redeployment and the Movements’ commanders’ reluctance to fully sever command links with their former combatants.
The Independent Observer signals its concern that the redeployment of integrated units occurred at the same time that the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) expanded its security operations and territorial reach in northern Mali.
The report emphasizes that because the parties have yet to agree on the command structure of the redeployed integrated units, the units are not fully operational. The parties also disagree about the overall structure and needs of the reconstituted army. Failure to resolve these issues means that, with the additional challenge posed by COVID-19, the parties are unlikely to reach the goal set by the U.N. Security Council of operationalizing 3,000 newly integrated troops by June 2020.
The Independent Observer warns that, unless the parties give the same amount of attention to fundamental political reform that they are giving to security matters, implementation of the agreement will remain stalled, and could fail altogether.
Background: The Carter Center was designated as the Independent Observer in late 2017. According to Article 63 of the 2015 agreement, the Independent Observer’s job is to impartially identify blockages in the implementation process and recommend steps for enhancing implementation. The Center’s role as the Independent Observer was recognized by the United Nations Security Council in resolutions 2391 (December 2017), 2423 (June 2018), and 2480 (June 2019), and it assumed its role in January 2018. This report, intended for the Malian parties, the international community, and the public, is the seventh from the Independent Observer.
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A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in over 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.