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Report of the Independent Observer - Observations on the Implementation of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali, Resulting from the Algiers Process (December 2020)

Carter Center
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BAMAKO, MALI (Dec. 16, 2020) – The Carter Center, which serves as the Independent Observer of Mali's 2015 peace agreement, today released its year-end report, which finds that the lack of commitment by the parties -- combined with the sociopolitical crisis, the coup d'état, the establishment of the Transition, and the COVID-19 pandemic -- greatly limited the progress of implementation in 2020.

The Independent Observer's year-end report presents six core observations and lessons learned from three years of observation, as well as six key recommendations that could spur momentum.

Though 2020 was a particularly difficult year, the Transition has introduced new opportunities. The charter governing the Transition recognizes the centrality of the peace agreement, and the transitional government has committed to reviving its implementation in support of peace throughout Mali, West Africa, and the Sahel.

That is why the Independent Observer's recommendations emphasize actions that would have both immediate and long-term impact and that would help refocus the parties' efforts, renew working methods, and overcome obstacles -- thus achieving concrete progress toward peace and security in Mali. The report also includes specific observations on the period from April to November 2020 and a detailed table that covers implementation commitment by commitment.

The report highlights the considerable delays in implementing the core provisions of the agreement and notes that the parties need to work on both the political-institutional and security pillars of the agreement simultaneously, or neither will succeed. It also points out that significant progress has not been made in integrating ex-combatants into the national defense and security forces nor in implementing security sector reform. Other core provisions that are not yet complete are the decentralizing of governance and instituting key reforms that would allow all Malians, including those in the north, to have meaningful representation in national institutions.

Another key lesson concerns the lack of a robust decision-making body, or framework, for the implementation of the agreement. If significant progress is to occur, the Independent Observer suggests installing an inter-Malian body or a new framework to enforce greater consistency and efficiency in the peace process. It must be granted the appropriate authority and be capable of coordinating the implementation of agreed-upon decisions on all aspects of the agreement.

The Independent Observer urges the president, vice president, prime minister, as well as the Platform and Coordination of Azawad Movements -- now all represented in the transitional government -- to publicly reaffirm their support for the agreement and explain its benefits in terms of peace and national security to Malians throughout the country.

It also calls upon the international community, which effectively mobilized during the period following the coup d'état, to continue defending the centrality of the agreement to Mali's peace and stabilization throughout the transitional period and to help the parties overcome longstanding obstacles and keep the commitments made in the agreement.

The report highlights urgent actions that need to be completed during the transitional period. Namely, the government should finalize the administrative redistricting process, needed to establish voter lists, which is critical to ensure that all Malians, including those from the Taoudeni and Menaka regions, are fully represented in the next elections. In addition, the recently deployed units of the reconstituted army which initially lacked equipment and command oversight, must be supported so that they are able to serve as a tool to build trust among the parties and model success for the next steps in the security sector reform process. Focusing efforts on these reconstituted units also will help tackle security issues, protect the population's access to basic services, strengthen support for the Agreement, and rebuild Malians' confidence in a peaceful future.