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ReliefWeb - Updates

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    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country: Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, World

    7 de marzo de 2013, Roma - Los primeros pronósticos para la cosecha de trigo de 2013 apuntan a un aumento de la producción hasta los 690 millones de toneladas, un 4,3 por ciento más que en 2012. Esta sería la segunda mayor cosecha de la historia, según el último informe trimestral de Perspectivas de cosechas y situación alimentaria elaborado por la FAO.

    El aumento de la producción se espera sobre todo en Europa, impulsado por el incremento de la superficie plantada en respuesta a los altos precios y una recuperación de los rendimientos en algunos países, en particular la Federación de Rusia.

    El panorama en Estados Unidos, aunque menos favorable debido a las condiciones iniciales de sequía, ha mejorado algo en las últimas semanas.

    Mientras tanto, los recientes precios bajos del trigo y, hasta cierto punto del maíz, mantienen el índice de la FAO para los precios de los alimentos -también publicado hoy- sin cambios en 210 puntos por segundo mes consecutivo en febrero. Ello equivale a un 2,5 por ciento (5 puntos) menos que en febrero de 2012.

    Desde noviembre de 2012, el índice se ha movido dentro de una estrecha franja de 210-212 puntos, ya que el aumento de los precios de los productos lácteos y de aceites y grasas se ha visto en gran parte compensado por la disminución de los precios de cereales y azúcar.

    Demasiado pronto para un pronostico mundial

    A esta altura de la temporada, aún no se ha plantado la mayor parte de los cereales secundarios y del arroz, por lo que todavía es demasiado pronto para hacer incluso un pronóstico preliminar de los cereales a nivel mundial para 2013.

    Pero las perspectivas para las primeras cosechas de cereales secundarios en 2013 en el hemisferio sur son en general favorables. Las perspectivas para el arroz también son positivas en varios países al sur del ecuador.

    El informe Perspectivas de cosechas y situación alimentaria se centra en los acontecimientos que afectan a la situación de seguridad alimentaria de los países en desarrollo. En su revisión de los puntos críticos de inseguridad alimentaria, el informe destaca los siguientes países, entre otros:

    • Siria, donde se calcula que 4 millones de personas se encuentran en necesidad urgente de ayuda alimentaria y para sus medios de vida mientras continúa el grave conflicto civil. Además, los refugiados sirios están ejerciendo presión sobre otros países de la región. El país recibe ya ayuda alimentaria internacional.

    • República Popular Democrática de Corea, donde una sequía en mayo-junio de 2012, seguida de inundaciones localizadas en julio-agosto, dañó la producción y las infraestructuras agrícolas. El país sufre de inseguridad alimentaria crónica, con 2,8 millones de personas muy vulnerables necesitadas de ayuda alimentaria en 2012-13.

    Intensificación del conflicto

    • En la República Democrática del Congo, la escalada del conflicto ha incrementado el número total de desplazadas internos a unos 2,7 millones de personas. Las actividades agrícolas se han visto dificultadas, especialmente en el este del país, mientras que los precios de los alimentos continúan altos. A nivel nacional, se estima que un total de 6,4 millones de personas están en situación de crisis alimentaria y de medios de vida.

    • Mali, donde la inseguridad en el norte del país ha interrumpido los flujos de productos básicos agrícolas y provocado grandes desplazamientos de población. Esto ha agravado la ya precaria situación alimentaria creada por la sequía en 2011.

    • Sudán, donde se calcula que cerca de 3,5 millones de personas necesitan ayuda humanitaria, sobre todo en zonas de conflicto.

    En cuanto a los precios internacionales de los alimentos, el índice de la FAO para los precios de cereales tuvo una media de 245 puntos en febrero, poco menos de un 1 por ciento menos respecto a enero, pero todavía un 8 por ciento más que en febrero de 2012. El índice de la FAO para los precios de aceites y grasas se situó en 206 puntos en febrero, un 0,4 por ciento más que en enero. El aumento fue impulsado por el aceite de palma, debido principalmente al esperado descenso de la producción estacional y una reducción de las existencias respecto a sus altos niveles actuales.

    El índice de la FAO para los precios de productos lácteos alcanzó 203 puntos en febrero, un 2,4 por ciento más que en enero (5 puntos), lo que supone el incremento más importante desde septiembre de 2012. Este aumento fue principalmente un reflejo de la caída de la producción en Oceanía, debido a las elevadas temperaturas.

    El índice de la FAO para los precios de la carne tuvo una media de 178 puntos en febrero, el mismo nivel de enero. Los precios para las aves de corral fueron ligeramente más bajos y algo más elevados los del cerdo, mientras que otros tipos de carne se mantuvieron prácticamente sin cambios. El índice de carne se ha mantenido prácticamente estable desde octubre de 2012.

    El índice de la FAO para los precios del azúcar FAO se situó en 259 puntos en febrero, un 3 por ciento (8,6 puntos), menos que en enero. Los precios bajaron por cuarto mes consecutivo, con las expectativas de un excedente de producción mundial relativamente importante y la mejora de producto disponible para la exportación en 2012-13.

    Contacto

    Christopher Matthews Oficina de prensa (Roma) (+39) 06 570 53762 christopher.matthews@fao.org


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    Source: UN Children's Fund
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali
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    Highlights

    • Since the military intervention in Mali in January 2013, Burkina Faso has recorded some 5,000 new refugees, bringing the current caseload to 47,676 individuals of which almost 26,500 are children. UNICEF is pursuing interventions child protection and education, covering more than 7,330 children between the ages of 3-17.
    • The total estimated annual caseload of children under 5 suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition is 120,000 children in 2013. The number of new admissions in January 2013 was 3,106 with a reported completion rate of 49%.
    • According to the annual national nutrition survey (NNS), using SMART methodology, conducted in September-October 2012 with support from UNICEF, WFP, World Bank and NGOs, Global Acute Malnutrition increased from 10.2% in 2011 to 10.9% in 2012. Severe Acute Malnutrition decreased from 2.4% in 2011 to 1.8% in 2012 (NNS 2011 and 2012). Key Infant and Young Child Feeding indicators were included for the first time in the National Nutrition Survey.
    • From January to February 2013, 88 cases of measles and 0 deaths were reported in Dori, Gorom Gorom and Djibo districts in the Malian refugee camps. In response to this outbreak of measles in the refugee camps, in February 2013, more than 13,875 people above 6 months old were immunized against measles as more than one third of the cases were above 15 years old. During this campaign 2,989 children under 5 also received OPV vaccine.
    • In February, no case of cholera was reported and the epidemic is considered over since November 2012.
    • LOU between UNICEF and UNHCR to signed in the next few days.

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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    03/09/2013 19:42 GMT

    BAMAKO, March 09, 2013 (AFP) - Chad's 2,000-strong contingent in Mali, which has played a leading part in the fight against jihadist militants, on Saturday officially joined the regional African force deployed there.

    "As of today, our Chadian brothers who are fighting to liberate Mali are joining AFISMA," Ivorian army chief Soumaila Bakayoko, whose country currently chairs the regional bloc ECOWAS, told reporters.

    "This is good news, it will strengthen cohesion," he said after meeting his counterparts in Dakar.

    He said a Chadian general would take one of the two vice presidencies of the African-led force for Mali known as AFISMA.

    French forces launched a surprise intervention on January 11 in a bid to stop Al Qaeda-linked fighters who had controlled northern Mali since April 2012 from moving southward and threatening the capital Bamako.

    Islamist groups have largely been forced out of the main cities in the north and are now waging a guerrilla war against French, Malian and other troops seeking to help the government assert its control over the entire territory.

    The Economic Community of West African States secured pledges for thousands of troops from its member countries but AFISMA forces have been slow in backing French efforts to retake control of northern Mali.

    However Chad, which is not an ECOWAS member, has some of the best trained desert fighters on the continent and has scored major victories after entering northern Mali directly from its northeastern border with Niger.

    The Chadian forces were not initially fighting under direct AFISMA command.

    Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno has claimed that his troops killed the region's two leading jihadist figures, Abdelhamid Abou Zeid and Mokhtar Belmokhtar, during intense battles that also left 27 Chadian soldiers dead.

    AFISMA now comprises around 6,300 troops and is supposed to take over from France, which has said it would start scaling back its operations next month, and help Malian forces secure the north of the country.

    Also Saturday, a Tuareg separatist group in the north, the Azawad National Liberation Movement (MNLA), "categorically rejected" an ECOWAS demand for rebels to disarm as a pre-condition for talks with the Malian government, the MNLA said in a statement.

    The ethnic Tuareg group, which abandoned its drive for independence in favour of helping France push out Islamist radicals, also pressed for a UN peacekeeping mission to be dispatched to help bring calm to the north.

    sd/vjf/boc

    © 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Chad
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    Household food stocks are generally adequate in the Sahelian region of Chad

    KEY MESSAGES

    • Household food stock levels in the Sahelian zone are currently above-average and should enable very poor and poor households to meet their food needs with few difficulties between now and the beginning of the lean season.

    • Despite good nationwide harvests, urban markets in southern areas of the country are only moderately well-stocked compared to normal due to the negative effects of recent floods and of local government bans on cereal exports. Unlike price trends in the Sahelian zone, food prices in the Sudanian zone are currently rising.

    • Overall, the food security situation is favorable due to the current level of household food stocks and the good availability of market garden crops in certain areas. Thus, all livelihood zones will be facing Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity outcomes between now and June 2013.


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    Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid department
    Country: Kenya, Somalia
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    Humanitarian situation and needs

    Key messages

    • While the situation has improved in 2012 due to good rainfall and substantial aid, 1.1 million Kenyans are currently still in need of humanitarian assistance;

    • The situation in Dabaab refugee camp, the biggest in the world, has been stable, but there are still gaps in the provision of adequate food and security;

    • The overall situation remains fragile and requires constant vigilance also due to the upcoming elections in the country. The European Commission together with other donors actively contributes to helping the country prepare for elections to avoid outbreaks of violence within the country seen at the last elections.


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    Source: UN Children's Fund
    Country: Cameroon
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    Highlights

    • An EU and ECHO joint delegation undertook a 5 day mission to the Far North region and, along with UNICEF/French Red Cross, conducted a joint evaluation of the nutrition response to the Sahel crisis in 2012.

    • Security concerns have been elevated after the reported kidnapping of Seven French Nationals from the Far North region.

    • SMT has updated the security plans for North since the kidnappings, which has been raised to Level 2 low.

    • Education emergency response for floods culminated with the Minister of Basic Education launching two campaigns with UNICEF in North and Far North - "Our schools without cholera" national campaign launch in Maroua, Far-North and “Remise de bibilothèque” to all the floodaffected schools in the North and Far North.

    • The annual targeted caseload of acute malnutrition for 2013 for the two regions is 57,616 cases of Severe Acute Malnutrition and 93,456 cases of Moderate Acute Malnutrition.

    • To date, 1, 645 WASH kits have been distributed to families with severely malnourished children in 435 Nutritional centres. The water quality control of the 39 boreholes (17 North and 22 in far North) was undertaken for the construction / rehabilitation in partnership with LNGO (CODAS Garoua, FBM) and Private Company (2SW, Geofor).


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    Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid department
    Country: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia
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    Key messages

    • The overall food security situation has improved but remains very fragile;

    • Emergency conditions persist in Somalia;

    • Security is an issue in Somalia and in refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia. Access to vulnerable people in border areas is restricted;

    • Apart from delivering emergency aid, the main challenge for governments and international community is to jointly contribute to building resilience to drought and tackling the underlying structural weaknesses.


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    Source: ECOWAS
    Country: Mali

    N°: 063/2013

    10 mars 2013 [Mali - Bamako]

    Les membres du Comité restreint des chefs d'état-major généraux de la CEDEAO ont approuvé les principes de transformation de la Mission internationale de soutien au Mali sous conduite africaine (Misma) en une mission des Nations unies (NU), et souhaité que le mandat, les règles d’engagement et les modalités pratiques de cette mutation tiennent compte des réalités du terrain au Mali.

    A la cérémonie de clôture, le samedi 9 mars 2013 à Bamako, au Mali, de leur session extraordinaire de deux jours, ils ont décidé de se réunir à nouveau après la séance de travail prévue le lundi 11 mars 2013 entre la Misma et les NU pour la transformation de cette force en une mission onusienne.

    Le président du Comité des chefs d’état-major généraux de la CEDEAO, le chef d’état-major général des Forces républicaines de Côte-d’Ivoire, le général de corps d’armée Soumaïla Bakayoko, a salué l’initiative de voir la Misma passer sous la bannière des NU en ce sens qu’elle engendrera, a-t-il dit, des équipements et des capacités opérationnelles beaucoup plus élevés pour les troupes de la Misma.

    «Les moyens déployés par les NU sont sans commune mesure avec ceux que fournissent de petits pays comme les nôtres. Une mission pilotée par les NU dispose de moyens logistiques lourds et conséquents. De plus, en termes d’effectifs de troupes, les bataillons des armées africaines sont composés de 650 hommes alors que ceux des NU en comptent 850», a précisé le général Bakayoko.

    Il a toutefois indiqué qu’il n’y aura pas une grande différence entre la Misma originelle et celle sous tutelle des NU, vu que plusieurs pays africains contributeurs de troupes se sont engagés à participer la Misma, même transformée, en répondant aux exigences des NU.

    A propos justement de pays contributeurs de troupes, le Comité restreint des chefs d'état-major généraux de la CEDEAO les a exhortés à faire diligence, afin que tous les soldats de la Misma soient déployés au Mali avant la fin du mois de mars 2013.

    Actuellement, plus de 6 000 soldats sur environ 7 000 attendus, soit plus de 80% des troupes de la Misma, sont déjà déployés sur le terrain des opérations au Mali en même temps que des troupes maliennes, françaises et tchadiennes, a dit le général Bakayoko.

    Pour sa part, le représentant spécial du président de la Commission de la CEDEAO au Mali et adjoint au chef de la Misma, M. Aboudou Cheaka Touré, a toutefois déploré l’absence de visibilité des activités de la Misma, donnant l’impression qu’il n’existe sur le territoire malien que de troupes françaises et tchadiennes, alors que les forces armées maliennes et les soldats de la Misma y sont également présents.

    Autre décision de cette session extraordinaire, le Tchad fait désormais partie intégrante de la Misma, conformément à la résolution du 42ème sommet des chefs d'Etat et de gouvernement de la CEDEAO tenu les 27 et 28 février 2013 à Yamoussoukro, en Côte d’Ivoire.

    A ce titre, ce pays participera aux sessions du Comité restreint des chefs d'état-major généraux de la CEDEAO, comme c’est le cas de la présente session à laquelle a pris part, pour la première fois, le chef d’état-major général des armées tchadiennes, le général de brigade Brahim Seid Mahamat. Par ailleurs, ce Comité a décidé que le Tchad nomme un général en qualité d’adjoint (un deuxième) au commandant de la Misma.

    A noter que le commandant de la Misma est le général de division Shehu Abdul Kadir, du Nigéria, et son adjoint, le général de brigade Garba Yayé, du Niger.


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    Source: Assessment Capacities Project
    Country: Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Haiti, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines, Samoa, Senegal, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, World, Yemen, Zimbabwe, South Sudan (Republic of)
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    On 6 March at least 27 people were killed in a standoff between approximately 200 members of the Royal Sulu Army, an armed Islamic group from the southern Philippines who have occupied the Sabah region in Malaysia since 9 February, and the Government of Malaysia.

    In Syria, intense fighting was reported in Raqqa, Homs and Quneitra. The number of Syrian refugees continued to rise, amounting to a total of 1,086,975 as of 11 March.

    Intense fighting persisted over the last week in the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains in northern Mali, where rebels have regrouped. Meanwhile, rebels continue to undertake reprisal and guerilla attacks in liberated towns of northern Mali, in particular Gao and Kidal.

    In Central African Republic, an armed faction of the Seleka rebel coalition attacked the northern town of Sido in an apparent breach of the recent peace accord. The security situation is worrying and 1,100,000 people are estimated to be affected by the current crisis in the Seleka-controlled areas.

    Clashes between FARDC and the APCLS rebel group escalated on February 27 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The renewed conflict in North Kivu Province, with clashes in Kitchanga in the Masisi Territory has displaced an estimated 75,000 people according to IOM.

    Floods in Bolivia have affected 107,500 people as of 4 March.

    Global Emergency Overview web interface


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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Mali

    A year of conflict in the West African nation of Mali has brought hunger to hundreds of thousands of people. Drought and endemic poverty have also taken their toll. Here are 8 things to know about hunger in Mali and what WFP is doing to deliver food and hope to the people who live there.

    1. The food security and nutrition situation in northern Mali has deteriorated significantly following a conflict in the northern part of the county which has forced some 335,000 people from their homes while making it difficult to reach those who stayed behind with assistance.

    2. Over 80 percent of families in Mali live on what they can grow on small plots of land prone to droughts, flooding and locusts. Without irrigation and modern farming methods, they are at the mercy of a changing climate.

    3. Around 15 percent of children in Mali suffered from acute malnutrition, even before the crisis. More than one fifth of school-aged children do not attend school. Three quarters of them are girls.

    4. Some 69 percent of Mali’s population lives below the national poverty line. That’s one reason it’s ranked 175 out of 187 countries on the UNDP Human Development Index.

    5. WFP expects to assist around one million people this year in Mali. A little over half are families affected by the conflict, while the rest are people in the southern part of the country receiving nutritional support for their families while they work on community-building projects.

    6. WFP has been using small boats to send food up the Niger River to cities like Timbuktu and Gao in northern Mali. Since the beginning of the crisis, enough food has been sent this way to feed around 68,000 people for a month. Road transport is difficult and dangerous, but a WFP convoy has been able to cross the border from Niger carrying food for 6,500 school children in Gao.

    7. In addition to providing food to families displaced by the fighting, WFP will also begin giving them cash, which they can use to buy fresh meat and vegetables. That will give them the flexibility to choose what foods to buy while giving a much needed boost to the local economy.

    8. Pop duo Amadou and Mariam are both from Mali. They met at the Institute for the Young Blind in Bamako where they started performing together, before going on to become stars on the world music scene. They became Ambassadors in 2010 with a visit to quake-stricken Haiti where they filmed the video for the single “Labendela” about the fight against hunger.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Mali, Mauritania
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    Minimal levels of seasonal food insecurity for most of the population

    KEY MESSAGES

     Food availability in most livelihood zones is favorable due to better than average local cereal harvests, the jump-starting of domestic trade and trade with Mali in rainfed agriculture areas, a regular flow of commercial imports, normal levels of seasonal income, and the continued operation of so-called “boutiques de solidarité” (government-subsidized shops).

     However, an estimated 5,000 poor farming households in wadi and oasis areas where last year’s poor rainfall conditions sharply reduced the size of viable cropping areas and resulting streams of household incomes are stressed (IPC Phase 2).

     For the time being, only the Bassikounou department is feeling the effects of the Malian conflict on the cross-border movement of people and goods, which has seen an influx of more than 13,000 Malian refugees since the middle of January. Elsewhere, Malian and Mauritanian cereal traders are continuing to supply Mauritanian markets in rainfed agriculture and agropastoral areas.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Mali, Mauritania
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    Insécurité alimentaire saisonnière toujours minime pour la plupart de la population

    MESSAGES CLÉS

     La disponibilité alimentaire étant encore assurée par les importants stocks (familiaux et marchands) et les flux internes et transfrontaliers, la plupart des ménages pauvres, restent en insécurité alimentaire Minime (IPC Phase 1).

     Dans la zone d’oueds et oasis, on estime qu’environ 5 000 ménages pauvres agricoles restent affectés par les conséquences de la mauvaise pluviométrie saisonnière sur leurs productions agropastorales et leurs revenus et sont en situation de Stress (IPC Phase 2).

     Après une forte reprise des arrivées en février, les flux des refugiés se sont réduits. Leur présence n’a pour le moment, de conséquences négatives que sur les flux commerciaux et humains de la moughataa de Bassikounou, mais on attend que la concentration des bras valides et des animaux dans le sud-est entraineront la Stress alimentaire à partir de mai.


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    Source: UN Country Team in Mali
    Country: Mali
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    1. SITUATION GÉNÉRALE

    Depuis le 10 janvier, la dynamique de la crise malienne a fortement changé sur les plans sécuritaire, politique et humanitaire. Dans une certaine mesure le contexte s’est même complexifié, devenant encore moins lisible et prédictible qu’il ne l’était antérieurement.
    Sur le plan politique les incertitudes demeurent et l’on ne peut exclure l’apparition de nouvelles tensions. De même, la question des minorités ethniques mettra probablement du temps à se résoudre.
    Les conditions sécuritaires vont probablement rester volatiles pendant de nombreux mois, et pourraient même se dégrader davantage au nord du pays, comme le laisse présumer les attaques récentes de militants islamistes à Gao. De plus, la présence de mines, d’engins explosifs artisanaux et des munitions non explosées représente une menace sérieuse pour la population civile et les acteurs humanitaires actifs dans le nord du pays.
    L’insécurité et la peur générée par des tensions entre communautés ont un impact très négatif sur le transport et le commerce au nord du pays. Selon les témoignages reçus, dans les grands centres urbains (Gao, Tombouctou notamment), de nombreux commerçants ont fui. La conséquence est un accroissement des coûts, alors que la disponibilité des denrées alimentaires et d’articles de première nécessité diminue.


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    03/12/2013 03:08 GMT

    by Stéphane JOURDAIN

    MOPTI, Mali, March 12, 2013 (AFP) - Intrigued, Amadou picked up a discarded grenade to play with outside an earth hut in central Mali. When he threw it, it exploded and he lost all the fingers on his left hand.

    He is yet another victim of the explosive weapons left over from the months-long conflict between Islamist militants who occupied the country's north and the Malian authorities and their allies trying to push them back.

    Since April last year 60 people have been killed or injured in this way. Children are often the first in line -- five dead and 38 hurt in the space of a few months, according to the UN children's fund UNICEF.

    "The situation is extremely worrying," says UNICEF spokesman Laurent Duvilliers from the capital Bamako.

    "200,000 children are at risk of injury or death in the north and centre of Mali because of these munitions that they want to play with."

    Back in Mopti -- a city that lies on the edge of the country's north, where French-led troops have been battling jihadists since an offensive to reconquer the north began in January -- Amadou is being treated in hospital.

    A white bandage covers the stump on his left arm. Dejected, the 19-year-old explains he took the grenade to have a look at what it was.

    "I was curious, I unscrewed it to throw it and it exploded," he says softly under the white neon light of the hospital room.

    "I'm angry at myself because I knew that it wasn't a good thing. But I'm also mad at those who brought this device into the city."

    The explosion on February 28 etched a permanent mark on Amadou's family. His three-year-old brother has scars on his neck, chest and knee. The force of the blast also made a hole in a metal basin in front of their thatched-roof hut.

    -- "An extremely worrying situation" --

    Mopti itself was not the scene of fighting pitting jihadists against French-led troops.

    But injured people still flocked to its hospital when clashes erupted in Konna, just 70 kilometres further north.

    And according to Boubacar Diallo, director of the hospital, "jihadists have infiltrated the population."

    "Over just a few days, we had two explosions. These are the collateral effects of war," he says, passing his hand over Amadou's head.

    In Konna, Diallo adds, the situation is even worse. "There is ammunition scattered on the ground, grenades, and reports of shells that haven't exploded," he explains.

    At the entrance of the city, "vehicles full of munitions that belonged to jihadists have exploded. But not everything has exploded so it creates a kind of dangerous field."

    The two parts of the country most affected by abandoned weapons and ammunition are the north (Timbuktu, Kidal, Gao) and the centre (Konna, Diabali) where direct combat took place.

    In a bid to limit this form of collateral damage, UNICEF and its partners have launched an awareness campaign.

    People hand out comic strips in cities to try and make children more aware of the dangers and schools put informative pamphlets on display.

    Already used in Afghanistan, the drawings have been adapted for Mali and have reached some 27,000 children so far.

    sj/stb/de/mbx/ks

    © 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal
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    Highlights

    • Despite good harvest in 2012, food insecurity across the Sahel persists.

    • 10.3 million people remain food insecure.

    • US$1.66 billion required to respond to immediate needs and build resilience.


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    03/12/2013 10:38 GMT

    Par Stéphane JOURDAIN

    GAO (Mali), 12 mars 2013 (AFP) - Le car bondé de voyageurs s'est garé devant l'ancienne "place de la charia". Sur le toit, les valises et les sacs remplis de marmites de la famille Maïga: neuf mois après avoir fui les jihadistes, Bibata et ses enfants rentrent à Gao, la plus grande ville du nord du Mali.

    Comme les Maïga, des centaines de Maliens sont revennu ces derniers jours vivre à Gao, selon Almahadi Ag Akeratane, responsable de l'ONG malienne Tassaght, qui tente de recenser ces déplacés pour les aider. Un retour "massif" qui "pose de gros problèmes d'accès à la nourriture", dit-il à l'AFP.

    Bibata Maïga, une grande femme fine de 47 ans, reprend son souffle après deux jours de car depuis Sévaré (centre). Elle regarde son fils Aziz, 19 ans, décharger valises, caisses et sacs d'oignons, au total "dix bagages". Ses deux autres fils, Alassane, 12 ans, et Abdulaï, 8 ans, se tiennent près d'elle.

    Elle porte les couvertures usées dans lesquelles ses trois fils ont dormi la nuit dernière à un check-point. Kalachnikov en bandoulière, son mari, un soldat malien, est là: il a fait le voyage quelques jours plus tôt.

    Le périple de la famille, par 40 degrés, a commencé par trois jours d'attente à la gare routière de Sévaré: il n'y avait plus de place dans les cars de Bamako qui remontaient vers le nord.

    Quelque 170.000 Maliens ont fui la région pour des pays voisins et 260.000 autres ont été déplacés dans le pays, depuis début 2012, selon l'agence onusienne de coordination des affaires humanitaires. A Gao où vivaient environ 90.000 habitants, le responsable de l'ONG Tassaght assure que 80% des habitants ont fui. "Il n'y a pas une famille où il ne manque pas quelqu'un", relève Yacouba Maïga, conseiller municipal.

    C'est la première chose que remarque Aziz en rentrant à pied avec sa mère, ses frères et leurs bagages, sous un soleil de plomb: "les rues sont calmes". Elles devraient s'animer à nouveau, car la sécurité revenue à Gao depuis plus de deux semaines convainc des déplacés de rentrer.

    Des bus gratuits pour le retour des déplacés

    Comme beaucoup de familles de fonctionnaires, les Maïga ont fui très rapidement en juin 2012 quand les islamistes du Mujao (Mouvement pour l'unicité et le jihad en Afrique de l'Ouest) ont pris Gao après des combats avec les rebelles touareg du MNLA (Mouvement national de libération de l'Azawad): "on a eu peur qu'ils nous tuent", confie Bibata.

    Des femmes du voisinage la saluent: "bonjour, bonne arrivée", répètent-elles en lui prenant la main.

    Bibata retrouve enfin les murs bleus et le sol en terre battue de sa petite maison. Un sourire éclaire son visage: elle retrouve ses amies, ses belles-soeurs, sa nièce.

    Reprendre la vie comme avant? La question étonne Bibata: "il faut faire les choses petit à petit. Pour l'instant, on n'a plus d'argent". Dans les fiches que l'ONG Tassaght fait remplir aux déplacés qui rentrent, il est demandé de quoi ils manquent le plus. Presque tous répondent: "de nourriture".

    "Les biens de première nécessité manquent. Farine, lait, huile, sucre viennent normalement d'Algérie mais la frontière a été fermée et tout ça s'est arrêté. Le marché de Gao n'existe plus et le riz a du mal à venir du Sud car la route a été fermée plusieurs semaines", résume Almahadi Ag Akeratane.

    Résultat: le prix du carton de lait a doublé, de 17.000 à 34.000 francs CFA (de 26 à 52 euros).

    Les habitants sont néanmoins incités à rentrer. Depuis trois jours, sur la radio Aadar-Koïma, une réclame propose des cars gratuits pour les habitants de Gao qui veulent rentrer de Bamako. A écouter Boubacar Touré, le directeur de la radio, le retour peut être difficile pour les gens de Gao: "la plupart ont été pillés".

    Bibata Maïga savoure en tout cas l'instant. "On est né à Gao, on a grandi à Gao. Ici c'est chez nous, je ne repars plus".

    sj/tmo/stb/de


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    Source: IRIN
    Country: Chad, Libya

    DAKAR, 12 mars 2013 (IRIN) - Des milliers de migrants subsahariens ont été contraints de fuir les violences qui ont précédé et suivi le renversement du leader libyen Mouammar Khadafi en octobre 2011. Depuis lors, toutefois, les autorités en ont gardé des centaines d'autres en détention dans des conditions difficiles avant de les déporter, selon d'anciens travailleurs migrants tchadiens.

    Plus de 2 000 Tchadiens et autres ressortissants de pays d'Afrique subsaharienne sont rentrés chez eux depuis 2012, selon l'Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM). Parmi les déportés, nombreux sont ceux qui ont été détenus pendant plusieurs mois ou années avant d'être ramenés au Tchad dans des camions ouverts. Les migrants rapatriés ont par ailleurs raconté avoir été arrêtés parce qu'ils n'avaient pas de permis de travail ou parce qu'on les soupçonnait d'avoir été des mercenaires à la solde du régime de Kadhafi.

    « Les rapatriements irréguliers sont devenus plus intenses récemment. Depuis l'an dernier, les autorités tchadiennes ont observé un afflux de migrants préalablement détenus en Libye dans le nord du Tchad. La gestion de cette situation représente un défi humanitaire majeur », a dit Qasim Sufi, chef de mission de l'OIM au Tchad.

    « Les rapatriés sont confrontés à une multitude de défis allant du traumatisme d'avoir été détenus pendant de longues périodes (certains jusqu'à 27 mois) à celui d'avoir été témoins ou victimes de violences », a ajouté M. Sufi.

    « Les autorités libyennes organisent des convois pour ramener les migrants au Tchad. Il semble que la plupart des camions ne soient pas adaptés au transport de personnes et qu'ils ne contiennent ni vivres, ni eau, ni trousses de premiers soins alors que le voyage dure souvent 10 jours ou plus. »

    Selon le gouvernement tchadien, quelque 300 000 Tchadiens vivaient et travaillaient en Libye avant la révolte de février 2011. Ils occupaient pour la plupart des emplois peu qualifiés à Tripoli, à Benghazi ou à Sebha, où la majorité a vécu pendant un à cinq ans.

    Depuis janvier 2012 seulement, la Libye a déporté 566 Tchadiens (libérés des centres de détention). « Les rapatriés étaient dans un état lamentable quand ils sont arrivés ; nombre d'entre eux étaient gravement déshydratés et souffraient d'infections, de blessures ou de problèmes d'estomac », a dit M. Sufi.

    Peu de temps après sa déportation, Mahamat Zene Issa, un jeune homme de 26 ans qui a vécu en Libye pendant cinq ans, a raconté les mauvais traitements qu'il a subis dans le centre où lui et d'autres travailleurs migrants ont été détenus pendant de longues périodes sans accusation formelle.

    « J'allais rendre visite à mon cousin, qui vit à environ 5 kilomètres de mon appartement, quand un véhicule de l'armée m'a ramassé. [Les soldats] m'ont battu jusqu'à ce que je perde connaissance », a dit à l'OIM M. Issa, qui est originaire de la région des Lacs, au Tchad.

    « Quand je me suis réveillé, j'étais dans un centre de détention. Je ne savais pas pourquoi et il n'y avait personne à qui demander. J'y ai vécu pendant 27 mois dans des conditions difficiles, mais, grâce à Allah, je suis toujours en vie alors que de nombreux autres n'ont pas survécu. J'ai vu des gens se faire tuer ou mourir des suites de maladies. On nous traitait comme des chiens. »

    Si le racisme anti-Noirs existe depuis longtemps en Libye, il est devenu particulièrement problématique pour les migrants subsahariens - les ressortissants de pays comme le Mali, le Niger, le Nigeria, le Sénégal, le Soudan, le Tchad - depuis le soulèvement libyen. Les rebelles qui se sont battus pour renverser Kadhafi l'accusaient en effet d'utiliser des mercenaires africains noirs pour mater la révolte.

    Longtemps avant sa chute, Kadhafi avait été accusé d'avoir intégré des soldats tchadiens, des guerriers touaregs du nord-ouest de l'Afrique et d'autres combattants non-libyens au sein de l'armée libyenne, et notamment de la brigade Khamis, dirigée par l'un de ses fils.

    Les migrants tchadiens déportés par la route depuis la Libye arrivent souvent à Faya, la plus grande ville du nord du Tchad, où ils sont accueillis dans un centre de transit opéré par l'OIM, la Croix-Rouge tchadienne et les autorités locales.

    Depuis juillet 2012, trois vagues de migrants tchadiens ont été déportées depuis la Libye, selon l'OIM. Les affrontements sanglants qui ont accompagné la révolution avaient auparavant entraîné la fuite de plus de 150 000 travailleurs migrants.

    « Battus jour et nuit comme des animaux »

    Moussa Adam Béchir, 25 ans, raconte avoir été arrêté, placé en détention et battu. Il a été enfermé pendant 14 mois avant d'être libéré du jour au lendemain sans aucune explication.

    « Nous étions tous victimes de torture dans le centre de détention. On ne nous traitait pas comme des êtres humains. Nous étions battus jour et nuit comme des animaux simplement parce que nous étions tchadiens et qu'on nous accusait d'être des mercenaires », a dit M. Béchir dans une interview avec l'OIM.

    « Un jour, on nous a amenés à l'hôpital et des infirmières nous ont prélevé du sang sans qu'on nous explique pourquoi », a-t-il ajouté, expliquant que plus de 2 000 personnes, incluant des Maliens et des Nigériens, étaient détenues dans le même centre.

    « J'ignore pourquoi on nous a libérés. Une nuit, on nous a dit que nous pourrions rentrer chez nous le lendemain. Ce jour-là, on nous a fait monter dans des camions pour nous ramener à la maison. »

    Les migrants qui rentrent chez eux ont souvent de la difficulté à se réinstaller. Nombre d'entre eux n'ont pas de papiers d'identité, d'argent ou même de vêtements et doivent se tourner vers leur famille - à qui ils envoyaient auparavant des fonds - pour obtenir du soutien, a expliqué M. Sufi. Certaines familles qui n'avaient pas eu de nouvelles de leurs proches depuis longtemps en avaient conclu qu'ils étaient morts.

    « Même si je ne sais vraiment pas ce qui adviendra de moi maintenant, je suis content d'être de retour à la maison. Ici, on ne me demandera pas mes documents d'identité et je ne risque pas d'être battu ou détenu pour rien », a dit M. Issa.

    ob/cb-gd/amz


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    Source: Caritas
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Senegal

    Caritas is launching a wide-ranging response covering four countries to help those affected by the recent conflict in Mali which has uprooted hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.

    A 3,055,134 euro (US$4 million) programme will strengthen Caritas organisations in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Senegal so they can help the hundreds of thousands of Malians affected by the crisis.

    The prime focus of the programme is to provide aid to the internally displaced, refugees and others who are victims of the Mali conflict.

    “The funds given to this emergency not only give us the chance to extend our solidarity to Malian refugees in a time of need but they also invest in helping Caritas organisations in the Sahel respond to the emergency together and to have a good grounding for collaboration on future emergencies,” said Gaston Goro, head of emergencies at Caritas Mali.

    Over 5000 families (30-35,000 people) in Mali and Burkina Faso will be supported with food rations for three months. Caritas will provide a further 1000 refugee families in Burkina Faso with cash to buy animals for farming. Farmers in the region will receive cash transfers to vaccinate and de-worm their cattle.

    Over 4000 households in Mali will receive either cooking kits or tents or mattresses, depending on their needs, while 500 households will receive solar cookers.

    Caritas will support refugees, the displaced and returnees in other ways such as by giving them seeds so they can farm again, providing children with school kits so they can go back to school, providing healthcare and covering the transport costs of people who want to return to their homes.

    Investment in staff training and improved logistical support will ensure that Caritas member organisations in Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Senegal are better prepared to work together on future crises.

    For more information, please contact Michelle Hough at hough@caritas.va or call 0039 334 2344 136.


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    03/12/2013 15:01 GMT

    by Stéphane Jourdain

    GAO, Mali, March 12, 2013 (AFP) - Tethered to the roof of a crowded bus in Gao's former "Sharia Square", suitcases and boxes carry what few belongings the Maiga family could take as they fled when the town was overrun by jihadists.

    Nine months later Bibata and her children are back, after northern Mali's largest city was liberated by a French-led intervention that drove the Islamist occupation out of the region's main cities and back into the vast desert.

    But they face a new crisis as part of a massive wave of hundreds of refugees that "poses serious problems for food security", according to Almahadi Ag Akeratane, head of Malian charity Tassaght, which is helping the returnees.

    Bibata Maiga, a tall but slender woman of 47, breathes deeply after an arduous two-day journey in 40°C (104°F) heat on the bus from the town of Sevare in central Mali.

    She watches her 19-year-old son Aziz unload suitcases, boxes and bags of onions, a total of just 10 items of luggage, flanked by her younger boys Alassane, 12, and Abdulai, eight.

    Bibata wears three blankets her sons had slept under the previous night at a checkpoint. Kalashnikov slung over his shoulder, her husband, a Malian soldier, has come to meet her, having made the trip a few days earlier.

    With no space on north-bound buses from Bamako, the Maiga family were forced to wait three days at the bus station in Sevare before they could catch a ride.

    France launched a military operation on January 11 to prevent groups linked to Al-Qaeda that had occupied northern Mali for nine months from pushing south and threatening the capital Bamako.

    Around 170,000 Malians have fled the region to neighbouring countries and 260,000 others have been displaced internally since early 2012, according to the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

    Gao had about 90,000 inhabitants, but Tassaght estimates that around 80 percent fled the Islamist invasion.

    "There isn't a single family that isn't missing someone," said local councillor Yacouba Maiga.

    As Bibata and her family complete the final part of the journey to their modest house on foot, women come up to her and take her by the hand, wishing her a happy return.

    "The streets are quiet," says Aziz, suddenly hit by the void left by the displaced as the family carry their belongings under a blazing sun.

    But soon these streets will teem with life once more, an improved security outlook in Gao over the last two weeks convincing its inhabitants to come home.

    -- Free buses returning the displaced --

    Like many families of public servants and functionaries, the Maigas quickly fled in June last year when Al-Qaeda offshoot the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) defeated ethnic Tuareg rebels from the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) to take Gao.

    "We were afraid they would kill us," says Bibata.

    Finally the family sees the blue walls and dirt floor of their small home and a smile lights up Bibata's face as she is reunited with friends, her sisters and a niece.

    Asked if she can pick up where she left off nine months ago, Bibata is surprised, as if she hasn't had time to consider the future.

    "We have to take things gradually. At the moment, we have no money," she says.

    On the forms that Tassaght makes the returning displaced Malians fill out there is a section asking what they need the most, and the answer is almost always the same: food.

    "We are lacking the basic necessities. Flour, milk, oil and sugar normally come from Algeria, but the border was closed and everything stopped. Gao market no longer exists and it's hard to get rice from the south because the road was closed for several weeks," says Ag Akeratane, the Tassaght head.

    As a result, the price of a carton of milk has doubled to 34,000 CFA francs (52 euros / 68 dollars).

    Yet people are nevertheless being encouraged to return. For three days, Radio Aadar Koima has been broadcasting an offer of free buses for Gao residents who want to make the journey back home from Bamako.

    But it can be a difficult return, according to Boubacar Toure, the director of the station, who warned that many find when they get back to Gao their homes and businesses have been looted.

    Bibata, meanwhile, takes a moment to enjoy her own homecoming.

    "We are born in Gao, we grew up in Gao," she insists.

    "This is our home and I'm not leaving again."

    sj/tmo/ft/nb

    © 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: International Peace Institute
    Country: Mali

    The UN Security Council has asked the UN Secretary-General (SG) to report by the end of March on the feasibility of and conditions for the creation of a UN peacekeeping operation in Mali, which would likely absorb troops from the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA) and the small advance UN political and human rights presence already there with the UN Office in Mali (UNOM).

    But as the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operation (DPKO) is about to send an initial “exploration mission” to Bamako, the fear is that many in New York–in the Security Council and UN Secretariat alike–have already made up their mind that a full-fledged UN multidimensional peacekeeping operation is the way to go; some are reportedly already looking for an acronym for the new peacekeeping operation.

    The prospect of a new UN peacekeeping mission in Mali should be an opportunity for a broader strategic discussion between the UN Secretariat and member states (Council members & troop-contributing countries in particular) on where UN peacekeeping is going in light of lessons from past UN missions on the continent, and some of the challenges the UN is likely to face in Mali.

    Without prejudging the conclusions of the assessment that will be carried out on the ground, here are some initial thoughts for the mandate and format of a possible UN peacekeeping mission in Mali.

    Key Conclusions

    • Talks of peacekeeping troops should not distract from the fact that the crisis in Mali remains a political and governance one. The mission should therefore include a strong political mandate, in support of ongoing regional efforts by ECOWAS and the AU and the implementation of the transition road map, but also an exit strategy based on specific benchmarks for drawdown.
    • The issue of the host country’s consent will need to be carefully considered when drafting the initial mandate. With divisions in Bamako, and the upcoming July elections, it could easily be reversed, especially if Malians start seeing a large, static, and risk-adverse UN peacekeeping presence as a burden rather than serving its interests of keeping Islamists at bay in the north.
    • A lighter UN peacekeeping footprint, operating in parallel with a robust non-UN rapid response force, could help reduce the risk to UN staff. It would also mean that the protection of civilians component of a future mandate should focus on supporting the political process and national institutions (in conformity with the HRDDP), which may also help manage Malian expectations.
    • A phased deployment with an initial short-term mandate focused on a few key functions could give the UN some room to better tailor the mission design and capacities based on ongoing discussions with national counterparts.
    • Given the central issue of organized crime and trafficking, which made it possible for criminal groups and jihadist organizations to expand their influence in northern Mali, it should be included in early assessments and analysis, which should in turn inform the mandate.

    Analysis

    The stars seem to be (at least temporarily) aligning behind a French push for a UN multidimensional peacekeeping operation in Mali to be authorized soon, in part because the push includes a Council resolution by April which would provide an exit strategy to its already prolonged—if so far successful—military intervention launched on January 11, while “multilateralizing” it, even if it means keeping a small rapid reaction force alongside the UN mission for some time.

    Key Council members seem to support the idea on the basis that such an arrangement would provide greater Security Council oversight of the mission than an AMISOM-type partnership with the Africa-led force AFISMA, or a UNAMID-type hybrid mission. The United States floated the idea soon after the beginning of the French intervention, and Russia, which holds the rotating presidency of the Council this month, indicated this week that it was ready to discuss a UN peacekeeping force for Mali.

    Although there are some concerns over whether there is yet a peace to keep in Mali, such a UN operation would also address some of the UN Secretariat’s earlier reservations with regards to a UN-funded support package for an offensive military operation expressed in the Secretary-General’s December letter (S/2012/926) and November report (S/2012/894). It would provide ECOWAS troop contributors with the predictable funding and logistics they need; last week, the African Union expressed support for the transformation of AFISMA into a UN operation under certain parameters. And a recent letter from the interim President of Mali, Dioncounda Traoré, to the Secretary-General presumably expressed host country consent for a multidimensional UN operation, but without a heavy UN presence in Bamako.

    This apparent enthusiasm for deploying a UN peacekeeping mission in Mali is soon likely to be tempered by the challenges it will face on the ground. Limitations of the current UN peacekeeping model should not necessarily lead to inaction on the part of the UN, but rather it could be turned into an opportunity for fresh thinking. It could become the impetus for a broader discussion between the UN Secretariat and member states (Council members and troop-contributing countries in particular) on the need for the peacekeeping tool to reform itself and adapt to realities on the ground, building on some of the lessons from past peacekeeping experiences on the continent, from Chad (MINURCAT) to the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO).

    The first lesson is that peacekeeping troops on the ground are not a substitute for a political strategy aimed at building accountable and legitimate institutions and fostering genuine national reconciliation. The Department of Peacekeeping Operation (DPKO) taking over from the Department of Political Affairs (DPA) and replacing UNOM and AFISMA by a multidimensional UN peacekeeping operation should not distract from the fact that the crisis in Mali is first and foremost a political (and governance) one before being a security crisis. A deployment focused on the northeastern part of the country only (much like in the case of MINURCAT and MONUSCO) could further risk sidelining the UN mission from the political process in Bamako while drawing its leadership into complex operational and security matters. There is also the risk that it may unwittingly play into the North-South divide.

    The mission and its future SRSG should therefore be given a strong political mandate, with a regional dimension in support of ongoing efforts by ECOWAS and the AU including towards the implementation of the transition road map adopted on January 29 by Mali’s National Assembly. The Council resolution should also include an exit strategy based on specific benchmarks (including both political and security governance ones) for drawdown. Short of that, the peacekeeping mission risks being perceived as “instrumentalized” by certain Western powers through the Security Council.

    Related to this is the fact that the very presence of a peacekeeping mission will not achieve coordination and coherence of messages and efforts between the many actors on the ground. Regardless of the willingness or not of others to coordinate, the UN mission will have to be empowered by the Council to play such a role. The European Union (EU) did not wait for the UN mission to be authorized to deploy an initial 70 EU military instructors in February as part of its EU training mission for Malian Defense and Security Forces. France will likely keep a small rapid reaction force alongside the UN mission for some time. And the UN already has a Special Envoy for the Sahel, Romano Prodi, and a Special Representative for West Africa, Said Djinnit, and the African Union a Special Representative and head of AFISMA, while the UK, and France, also each have a special envoy for the Sahel.

    Another important lesson from past UN missions is that the success of a peacekeeping mission is largely dependent on the consent of the host country, which is reversible; particularly if not nurtured by regional and global powers, including members of the Security Council. While the current interim President of Mali, Dioncounda Traoré, may have expressed its country’s consent to the UN mission, this should not discount the fact that Bamako remains profoundly divided. The French military intervention may have (temporarily) strengthened the authority of the interim president (and through him the otherwise discredited former regime), but the influential military junta that previously strongly opposed the deployment of foreign troops in Mali is not about to disappear, as indicated by the nomination of Captain Sanogo as head of the Military Committee for Reform of the Armed Forces and Security in February.

    The timing and duration of the initial peacekeeping mandate should be carefully considered. The presidential and legislative elections announced for July 7 and July 21 could lead the new Malian government to ask for the departure of the UN mission (if authorized beforehand), particularly if it starts seeing the UN presence as a burden rather than serving its main interest of keeping Islamists at bay in the north.

    This highlights another possible tension: while it would absorb (through re-hatting) much of the AFISMA forces, a UN stabilization mission would likely not engage in combat and counterinsurgency operations, much of which have until now been carried out by the French and Chadian troops, which are not part of ECOWAS. This would not, however, protect static UN troops guarding major cities in northern Mali from becoming the target of Islamic insurgents and terrorists. A smaller number of UN troops with a limited set of tasks (focused on force protection and operational security) operating in parallel to a robust non-UN (possibly French-African) rapid response (fighting) force with air support, as well as US drones already operating out of neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger, could help reduce such risks.

    This leads us to the important issue of the footprint and the need to resist the “one-size fits all” approach. Regardless of the conclusions of the conflict-analysis assessments, the temptation for the UN will again be to push for the authorization and deployment of a full-fledged, multidimensional peacekeeping behemoth that includes every piece in the DPKO toolbox—including, for instance, corrections officers, even if prisons may not be a central issue to the current crisis—in support of an all-encompassing Council mandate. And the interim government in Bamako would have difficulty resisting this, particularly if UN troops are deployed primarily in the northern part of the country.

    A lighter footprint would also mean that the protection of civilians (PoC) component of a future mandate should focus on supporting the political process and working with key national institutions towards establishing a protective environment in conformity with the UN Human Rights Due Diligence Policy (HRDDP). A light footprint and a PoC mandate that is not centered on the provision of “physical protection” by armed peacekeepers may also help manage Malian expectations.

    Instead, the UN could use a phased deployment approach (such as the one used for the UN Support Mission in Libya, UNSMIL), with an initial short-term mandate and a limited number of key functions to start with (political and electoral affairs, human rights, and security sector reform, for instance). This would address some of the above concerns regarding the outcome of the elections, and help manage the consent of the host authorities while offering the UN system some flexibility and room to adapt its presence based on longer-term plans developed with national counterparts. It would also permit a better tailoring of the future mission design and capacities (including staff profiles) including possibly the need to bring outside capacities on board (building on the CIVCAP).

    This could be of particular relevance if the UN were to take a different approach to dealing with the central issue of organized crime and drug trafficking, which made it possible for criminal groups and jihadist organizations such as al-Qaeda in the Islamist Maghreb (AQIM) to expand their influence in northern Mali and erode state authority. Since there are clear links between insurgents, terrorists and criminal groups, and the region’s vulnerability has created a permissive environment for illicit activity, any long-term solution will require an effective crime control strategy. As discussed in a forthcoming International Peace Institute publication, peace operations thus far have treated organized crime as “the elephant in the room.” As Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kosovo, and other cases have demonstrated, ignoring the problem will not make it go away.

    Arthur Boutellis is a Research Fellow at the International Peace Institute.

    Originally published in the Global Observatory


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