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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    01/08/2014 03:18 GMT

    BAMAKO, January 8, 2014 (AFP) - Here is a look at developments in Mali since the French army intervened a year ago to fight back Islamic militants who were advancing towards the capital Bamako.

    • January 11: The French military launches Operation Serval to support the Malian army and drive back the Islamists, who are pushing south towards Bamako.

    Air raids in the centre and north of the country drive Islamists from several strongholds in the north.

    • January 26-28: French-led troops recapture the desert towns of Gao and Timbuktu. On the 30th, French forces also retake control of Kidal airport, and troops from Chad arrive to secure the town itself.

    • February 18: An offensive is launched to drive Islamists from the mountainous Ifoghas region in the northeast.

    Violent clashes oppose French and Chadian soldiers and Islamists. In late February, Islamist leader Abdelhamid Abou Zeid is killed by the French army.

    • April 8: Operation Gustav begins, with French troops tracking militants in a valley north of Gao.

    • June 18: Malian authorities and Tuareg rebels in Kidal sign a ceasefire agreement.

    • July 1: A United Nations peacekeeping force known as MINUSMA takes over command of security duties carried out by an African force, AFISMA.

    • August 11: Former prime minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita wins 77.6 percent of the vote in the second round of a presidential election and is subsequently announced as Mali's new head of state.

    • September 28: After several months of calm, Al-Qaeda's North African branch AQIM goes back on the offensive. Since then, more than a dozen deaths have been recorded among civilians and military units from Mali and the MINUSMA force.

    • October 20: More than 1,500 soldiers from France, Mali and MINUSMA launch Operation Hydra in the north to counter a potential resurgence of "terrorist movements", according to French officials.

    • November 2: Two French journalists are killed after being kidnapped in Kidal.

    • November 24 and December 15: Keita's party, the Rally for Mali, and its junior partners win an absolute majority in legislative elections.

    acm/wai/jmy/ft/nb/ric

    © 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: Deutsche Welthungerhilfe e. V. (German Agro Action)
    Country: Mali
    preview


    I. Contexte

    Le rapport de la campagne agricole 2013-2014 du cer cle de Bandiagara (élaboré par le ser-vice d’agriculture dudit cercle, en Oct. 2013) est accablant. En effet, il y ressort que les plu-viométries de ladite campagne sont très inférieures à celles de l’année dernière. Ce qui a eu un impact négatif sur la production céréalière à te l enseigne que dans les différentes com-munes du cercle, les productions céréalières ne peu vent couvrir que 3,5 mois sur 12. En plus, Welthungerhilfe et ses partenaires ont constatés un e situation gravissime/ alarmante pour certains groupes vulnérables dans leur zone d’inter vention.

    Le rapport du mois d’octobre 2013 du Système d’Aler te Précoce (SAP) confirme la situation insuffisante à Bandiagara avec 16 communes en diffi culté alimentaires, et à Nara avec 4 communes en difficulté économique.

    Selon nos partenaires l’Association du Centre sahél ien de Prestation d'Etude, d'Eco-développement et de Démocratie Appliquée (CSPEEDA) dans le cercle de Nara et Groupe de Recherche et d'Applications Techniques (GRAT) dans le cercle de Tenenkou, une baisse des productions agricoles est également attendue lesdit s cercles.

    C’est pour cette raison que Welthungerhilfe et ses partenaires d’exécution ont planifié une analyse rapide de la situation au près des ménages dans les cercle de Bandiagara, Nara et Tenenkou. Le but est d’apprécier la situation alime ntaire au niveau des ménages, et d’analyser l’impact d’une éventuelle baisse des pro ductions sur ceux-ci afin de mieux déter-miner les actions adéquates.


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    01/08/2014 17:59 GMT

    CREIL, January 8, 2014 (AFP) - France will cut its troops in Mali to 1,600 by the middle of next month from the current level of 2,500, President Francois Hollande said Wednesday.

    Speaking at an airbase in Creil in northern France, Hollande said the "situation is well under control" in Mali, where the "key objectives of the mission have been accomplished."

    "The troop size will be reduced from about 2,500 at present to 1,600 and then to 1,000 which is the number necessary to fight any threat that might resurface as these terrorist groups are still present in northern Mali," the president said.

    France launched the military Operation Serval in its former colony on January 11, 2013 to repel an Islamist advance following a coup.

    The intervention has been widely hailed as a success internationally for stopping Al-Qaeda-linked militants and Tuareg rebels from descending south of the sprawling country and advancing on the capital Bamako.

    dch-ha/ach/ric


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    01/08/2014 17:31 GMT

    CREIL, 8 janvier 2014 (AFP) - Les effectifs militaires français au Mali vont être ramenés de près de 2.500 hommes aujourd'hui à 1.600 à la mi-février, a annoncé mercredi le président français François Hollande, estimant que "l'essentiel de la mission a été accompli".

    "Les effectifs passeront de 2.500 à peu près aujourd'hui à 1.600, puis ils déclineront jusqu'à mille, ce qui sera le niveau nécessaire pour faire face à toute menace qui pourrait ressurgir, car les groupes terroristes sont encore présents au Nord Mali", a-t-il déclaré à l'occasion de ses voeux aux armées sur la base aérienne de Creil, près de Paris.

    "Nous avons maintenant la situation bien en main", l'opération militaire Serval déclenchée le 11 janvier 2013 ayant été "un succès reconnu" par les Maliens, mais aussi "l'ensemble de la communauté internationale", a fait valoir M. Hollande.

    "Au Mali, l'essentiel de la mission est accompli" et "la mission est en train de s'achever", s'est-il encore félicité.

    Jusqu'à présent, le ministère français de la Défense évoquait une réduction des effectifs du contingent français au Mali à un millier d'hommes au printemps. 650 d'entre eux doivent poursuivre leurs opérations contre le "terrorisme", les 350 autres se répartissant entre la mission européenne de formation de l'armée malienne (EUTM Mali) et la participation française à l'état-major de la Mission de l'ONU au Mali, la Minusma.

    L'opération Serval a été déclenchée il y a tout juste un an pour chasser les islamistes armés liés à al-Qaïda qui contrôlaient le nord du Mali et menaçaient de descendre vers le sud et Bamako, la capitale.

    Depuis, ce pays a retrouvé la stabilité politique, avec l'organisation d'élections présidentielle et législatives, mais reste confronté à une forte insécurité dans le Nord.

    dch-ha/pg/alc/bds


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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger
    preview


    1. This position supersedes UNHCR’s May 2012 Position on Returns to Mali.

    Background and recent developments

    1. Following violence, hostilities, human rights violations and a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in the northern part of Mali since mid-January 2012, large numbers of Malians fled abroad or were displaced internally. As of the end of October 2013, UNHCR and partners continued to address the needs of 169,291 Malian refugees in Algeria, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger. The estimated number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) inside Mali is 283,726 according to the Malian Commission of Population and Movements

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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Chad

    For the first time since the beginning of its operations in Chad 50 years ago, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has received a contribution of 182 metrics tons of food from the Chadian government for its school meals programme. The donation is worth US$400,000 dollars (almost FCFA 200 million).

    N'DJAMENA - For the first time since the beginning of its operations in Chad 50 years ago, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has received a contribution of 182 metrics tons of food from the Chadian government for its school meals programme. The donation is worth US$400,000 dollars (almost FCFA 200 million).

    "We were delighted to receive this first donation from the Chadian government,” said Lauren Landis, WFP Chad Country Director. “It shows recognition of the need for WFP food assistance in the schools and highlights the strong partnership between the Government and WFP, aiming at encouraging the enrolment of children in school in Chad.”

    Every morning, hundreds of children go to school on an empty stomach in Chad. This prevents them from concentrating on their lessons and makes them less likely to attend school regularly. To address this problem, WFP is working with the Ministry of Education and Literacy in proving school meals to more than 800 schools in the Sahelian belt, which is the part of the country most affected by food insecurity. Hot meals, served daily to more than 200,000 students, encourage them to attend school and provides an incentive for their families to send them to school rather than to work in the fields.

    Through this school meals programme, WFP hopes to strengthen its partnership with the Government and with local farmers, in order for most of the food required for the school meal programme to be grown and purchased locally. This not only helps support the local economy but also means the whole community is involved in this school meals initiative.

    To mark the contribution received from the Chadian Government, WFP is today holding a ceremony at WFP’s warehouses in Chagoua, where the food for school meals is stored before being dispatched to the various institutions.

    # # #

    WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. On average, WFP reaches more than 90 million people with food assistance in 80 countries each year.

    For more information, please contact Loyse Tabin, Reports/Public Information Officer, N’Djamena, Chad (loyse.tabin@wfp.org )


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    Source: International Monetary Fund
    Country: Mali

    By Christine Lagarde
    Economic, Social and Cultural Council
    Mali, January 9, 2014

    As prepared for delivery

    Introduction

    Mr. President of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council,
    Members of Government,
    Presidents of National Institutions,
    Members of the Diplomatic Corps and International Organizations,
    Members of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council,
    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    It is a great honor for me to speak before your Council at such an important moment for your great country.

    As I stand here today, I am reminded of the old Malian proverb: “The talisman of a hunter is his perseverance” [Dònsòya la basi ye timinandya ye] « Le talisman du chasseur, c’est sa persévérance ». Perseverance is indeed what best symbolizes the spirit of the Malian people.

    Today Mali is showing courage and perseverance, as it emerges from a very difficult period in its recent history. The successful presidential and parliamentary elections, with the record high voter turnout, attest to Mali’s determination to leave the political and security crisis of 2012 firmly behind and to restore its democratic tradition.

    As you know very well, the priority now is to steer the economy from crisis to recovery. I would like to talk today about how the gains of the past decade can be built upon to lay the foundations for a strong and resilient economy—where the dividends of growth are more widely shared.

    Respectable track record

    The ten years preceding the crisis were indeed impressive. Mali boasted a robust growth rate of about 5.5 percent on average between 2001 and 2011—well above the average for countries in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) (of 3.9 percent).

    Mali was also one of the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa that made most progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. To mention but a few—between 2001 and 2011:

    Primary school enrolment increased, with 7 out of every 10 children now enrolled compared to 4 children in 2001;

    Literacy rates were doubled for both youth males and females;

    Child mortality was almost halved; and

    Finally, while admittedly still high, important strides were made in reducing poverty.

    But the task is far from finished. Mali has a fast-growing population and largely untapped economic and human potential. The challenge today is to strengthen economic fundamentals to accelerate growth and job creation, and to make an even more meaningful dent in poverty by ensuring that growth is inclusive.

    Unlocking Mali’s potential will require significant investment not only in infrastructure but also in the country’s biggest asset—its people—through education and health. Equipping young Malian people with the appropriate skills and tools will be key in boosting the growth potential of the economy.

    Throughout all the challenges of recent years, the IMF has always been a close partner of Mali. We were among the first to provide emergency funding after last year’s events, and last month we approved financing through our Extended Credit Facility. Our commitment is unwavering to help Mali reach its development objectives.

    With this in mind, I would like to share with you my thoughts on three issues likely to shape Mali’s economic prospects in the near term:

    The global economic environment;

    The outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa; and

    Finally, the policy agenda that will enable Mali to seize the opportunity to create strong, sustainable and inclusive growth.

    1. Global Economic Environment

    First, the global economic environment. Our revised forecasts on the global outlook will be released in a few weeks, so I will not be discussing numbers, but only trends..

    Five years after the financial crisis, the world economy is gradually on the mend. But the recovery is uneven and subdued, and its underlying dynamics are shifting.

    Driven by robust private sector activity, growth in the United States is gaining ground, implying an eventual normalization in financial conditions. In Japan, there have been important steps to stimulate growth. And Europe is slowly emerging from a deep recession, though important challenges remain to be addressed.

    At the same time, emerging market economies are slowing, following several years in which they were the main engine of global growth. As financial conditions in advanced economies normalize, the risk of heightened volatility in financial markets may create new challenges in emerging market economies and further slowdown their growth. There is also the risk of potential spillovers to countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly those that are more financially integrated with the global economy (including from higher commodity prices and foreign direct investment flows).

    1. Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa

    Which brings me to my second point: the outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa. Here the news is encouraging.

    In fact, Sub-Saharan Africa has been the second-fastest-growing region in the world in recent years, just after Asia. In many countries, this growth has contributed to higher living standards and faster poverty reduction. Low inflation, reduced levels of public debt, and adequate foreign exchange reserve levels – have shielded much of the region from the global financial crisis.

    The improvement is particularly significant in Mali’s neighborhood. Thanks to the recovery in Côte d’Ivoire, which has been working hard to recover the ground lost after years of civil strife, the West African Union (WAEMU) has been one of the fastest growing regions in Africa. This is an obvious benefit for Mali—since part of your exports and imports are with your neighbors.

    Overall, we expect Sub-Saharan Africa to enjoy continued robust growth—which our projections in October place at 5 percent in 2013 and close to 6 percent in 2014. But this outlook is not without risks. Policymakers should remain vigilant to threats from slower demand in emerging market economies, unfavorable changes in commodity prices, or higher financing costs.

    We will have the opportunity to revisit some of these issues in depth in May when we hold a conference in partnership with the Government of Mozambique to which all Sub-Saharan Africa countries have been invited—including your Minister of Economy and Finance. Appropriately titled “Africa Rising”, the conference will take stock of Africa’s economic successes, as well as the challenges going forward.

    1. Unlocking Mali’s Potential

    Let me now turn to my third topic and the main issue for today’s meeting—unlocking Mali’s potential. Although the global outlook suggests a relatively benign external environment for Mali, your country is facing some difficult challenges of its own as it emerges from a turbulent period.

    Consolidating peace, advancing national reconciliation, and ensuring political stability are key objectives. And rightly so—political stability is essential for good economic performance. And vice versa—a strong, healthy economy improves the prospects for political stability and social peace.

    Fostering inclusive growth, where individuals across the broad spectrum of the economy can benefit and thrive, is an important part of this process.

    Mali’s challenges are formidable; but so are its opportunities. This country has large untapped, economic potential—including a wealth of natural resources. Agriculture is one example.

    If rivers can be harnessed to irrigate large swathes of uncultivated land, production can be expanded significantly. Agriculture, which today provides most employment, could thus create additional jobs for the fast-growing population. It could also increase, as well as diversify, exports to neighboring countries that are net food importers.

    Unleashing these opportunities means tackling other bottlenecks. A major one is underdeveloped infrastructure, which unless addressed, is going to hold back growth.

    The lack of power, for instance, is a big brake on expansion.

    You all know what this means. Without reliable power, there are power outages. Companies are forced to produce the electricity that they need, which drives their costs up. Children cannot study in the evening. Cooking is done on wood stoves, or stoves using other polluting fuel sources—fuels that families spend hours collecting in fields and forests.

    A thriving economy will also require a strong base of human capital. So investment in education and training are crucial. The emerging labor force must have the basic skills and the skills that match business demand.

    In other words, unlocking Mali’s potential will require large investments—both in the public as well as the private sector. A policy agenda that has inclusive growth as an overarching objective can, in turn, help solidify the dividends from such investment. So we need three P’s: public investment, private investment, and participation for all.

    Let me take up these issues in turn.

    3.1 Unlocking Mali’s Economic Potential—Public Sector Investment

    The first “P”: In terms of public sector investment, creating fiscal space to accommodate additional spending calls for action on two fronts. First, Mali needs to mobilize more tax revenue; and second, it needs to make better use of existing resources.

    There is certainly room to increase tax revenue. At 15 percent, Mali’s tax revenue-to-GDP ratio is lower than it should be. Efforts to raise revenue should focus on broadening the base—by strengthening tax administration and phasing out exemptions—and improving compliance.

    There is also a need to make better use of existing resources.

    To begin with, Mali has a large energy subsidy bill—amounting to about 100 billion CFAF. This is more than the budget of the ministry of health. Gradually removing these subsidies would free up budgetary resources that could be directed instead to priority investments for the development of Mali.

    At the same time, it is crucial to embark on reforms to improve governance and public financial management.

    Allow me to be frank: improving governance means addressing corruption. Malians themselves know best that corruption poses a threat to democracy, and undermines the rule of law. It discourages investment by hindering the development of fair market structures, and by distorting competition. And it frays the social fabric and undermines trust in the political system and government institutions.

    That is why President Keita’s call to make the fight against corruption a priority has received widespread popular support. Stronger institutions and improved governance will contribute to an environment where everyone can benefit.

    In this context, persevering with reforms of public financial management is key. These reforms should help to tighten expenditure control; and reassure international donors about Mali’s capacity to manage aid inflows, without jeopardizing hard-won gains in debt sustainability.

    Mali has also benefited from debt relief granted under initiatives supported by the international community. Continuing to rely primarily on grants and concessional financing to support development projects will be crucial in preserving the fiscal space that has been created.

    3.2 Unlocking Mali’s Economic Potential—Private Sector Investment

    So these are some priority issues for the public sector. What about the second “P”—the private sector? It also has a key role to play in unleashing Mali’s potential.

    But the right conditions need to be in place for the private sector to assume the role of the engine of growth. This will require an improvement in the business environment.

    In the IMF’s experience, financial sector development and increased access to financial services can be a critical factor in promoting private sector expansion and the economy’s progress. By providing a larger pool of funding and more diverse products, financial development fosters private sector growth and can help meet infrastructure needs.

    Let me give you one example that struck me. In Mali, only about 10 percent of the population has a bank account. If banks collected more deposits, they would have more stable resources to provide credit to the economy.

    And if contract enforcement were stronger, banks would be more willing to provide credit. A more developed land titling system could also offer greater opportunity to use land as collateral for financing the development of agriculture.

    These and other steps toward financial inclusion will not only improve the business environment but also the overall economic environment from which everyone will benefit.

    3.3 Unlocking Mali’s Economic Potential—Participation of All

    This brings me to my last “P”—participation of all.

    I am reminded here of a saying by Albert Einstein: “All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual.”

    We need to ensure that overall growth is more equitable and inclusive; that everyone gets to participate in the benefits of growth.

    The IMF’s global experience indicates that a more balanced distribution of income generates more sustained growth and greater economic stability. So while Mali’s agricultural expansion over the past few years has helped lift the incomes of many rural households, urban incomes seem to have lagged. Going forward, the benefits of economic growth need to be more broadly shared.

    This is also true in terms of gender. According to a recent IMF study, countries where women are held back by outdated obstacles and attitudes tend to have lower per capita income—by as much as 27 percent. This is not good for women, or for men, or for Mali.

    Removing obstacles to female participation in economic activity must rank high on the policy agenda. Again, let me frank: women are key to unlocking Mali’s potential.

    Conclusion

    This all adds up to an ambitious agenda of reforms. Malian wisdom says that “You cannot pick up a pebble with one finger.” [Bolokoni kélé tè bèlè ta : on ne peut pas prendre un caillou avec un seul doigt de la main.]

    The stakeholders in Mali’s development are diverse, as is the composition of your Council, with representatives from all walks of life. Yet, like the fingers of one hand, they are all working together toward a common goal—that of unleashing Mali’s potential.

    Your development partners, including the IMF, stand ready to help Mali unlock its growth potential. Together, let us pick up all the pebbles on the way that will lead to a better life for all in Mali.

    Thank you.


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    Source: UN Security Council
    Country: Mali

    I. Introduction

    1. The present report is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 2100 (2013), by which the Council established the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

    2. In the resolution, the Council requested me to keep it regularly informed of the situation in Mali and the implementation of the mandate of MINUSMA. In particular, the Council asked me to report every three months, from 1 July 2013, with updates on the security situation and the priority political elements, as well as with relevant information on the progress, promotion and protection of human rights and international humanitarian law. In addition, I was asked to include in my reports a review of troop levels, force generation and deployment of all constituent elements of MINUSMA. The present report covers the period from 30 September to 21 December 2013.


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    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country: Eritrea, Mauritania, Niger, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen
    preview


    Control operations continue on both sides of the Red Sea

    The Desert Locust situation remains worrisome in the winter breeding areas along both sides of the Red Sea. Ecological conditions continue to be favourable for another generation of breeding that could produce more hopper bands and swarms in Yemen, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia and, to a lesser extent, in Sudan.

    In Saudi Arabia, ground control operations continue against hopper groups and bands and groups of mature adults between Lith and Jizan. Some groups are laying eggs and one mature swarm was reported.

    In Sudan, ground and aerial control operations continue against groups of adults that are maturing on the southern coast between Tokar Delta and the Eritrea border, and egg-laying is in process. A mature swarm was seen laying eggs in the Tokar Delta. Ground control operations are also in progress in sub-coastal areas of the northeast against hopper bands and groups of immature adults near Tomala.

    In West Africa, scattered immature adults are present in northwest Mauritania and one immature swarm formed in the Banc d’Arguin National Park. In Niger, ground teams treated a few adult groups in the Ténéré Desert.


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    Source: International Crisis Group
    Country: Mali

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    A year after the beginning of the French intervention in Mali, constitutional order and territorial integrity have been restored. However, the north remains a hotbed of intercommunal tensions and localised violence as both French and UN forces struggle to consolidate security gains. Expectations for President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta (IBK) run very high. He is supposed to help elaborate consensus for the future of the northern regions as well as implement reforms to strengthen state institutions. It is time for his government to act beyond declarations of intent. An easy mistake would be to revamp, in the short term, the clientelist system that brought former regimes to a standstill. While the president cannot overhaul the state in a few months, the urgent need to stabilise the situation should not detract from implementing meaningful governance reforms and a truly inclusive dialogue on the future of the country. The opportunity to do so should not be missed.

    2013 ended with renewed tensions across the north. Reported incidents include armed banditry, new jihadi attacks, intercommunal violence and frequent clashes between Malian forces and local armed groups. So far these have not led to massive violence but seeds of a more devastating conflict are being planted. Peaceful coexistence between communities remains a distant dream. So far, insecurity has prevented the restoration of state authority and the delivery of humanitarian aid in the north. As a consequence, popular resentment against the government is high, as evidenced by a series of protests in several northern towns, especially Gao. Though the legislative vote was almost incident-free, the situation is worrying, especially in Kidal, in the extreme north, where two French journalists were killed on 2 November and the army fired on civilian protesters on 28 November.

    The government has been slow to restore basic services in the north as Malian authorities lack resources to do so. Moreover, they have lost the confidence of most inhabitants of these regions, though many of them do not back armed groups’ separatist or autonomist plans. To bridge the gap between the government and the population, the newly started rehabilitation programs should focus primarily on providing concrete services. While redeploying in the north, Malian authorities cannot afford to repeat past, unfulfilled promises of change.

    After the rather quick success of the French military Serval Operation, international intervention is finding it difficult to consolidate its gains in the longer run. France, which is now also involved in the Central African Republic, is not ready to finance, on its own, a long-term stabilisation program. The UN force (MINUSMA) has been complementing French efforts to stabilise Mali since July 2013, but an insufficient number of peacekeepers and lack of adequate means cast doubt on its capacities to carry out its mandate alone. More broadly, while security in the Sahel is a regional issue, progress in building regional cooperation has been slow and mutual distrust remains high between Mali’s neighbours.

    The series of national and regional conferences on decentralisation and the future of the north, held in late 2013, is a positive step toward national dialogue. It could possibly lead to more than a political showdown between the government and the armed groups. For that to happen, however, the meetings should be more inclusive, as critics suggest, and result in prompt, tangible actions. For instance, the overdue transfer of state resources to local authorities must be implemented. The regional forums, set as follow-ups to national meetings, should be community-led and not another way to impose Bamako’s top-down decisions. Otherwise, the government’s efforts over the past months will be no more than a communication strategy without any impact on the ground.

    So far, northern armed groups have refused to attend these meetings, which they say are government-led initiatives with little room for a true dialogue. Despite the recent announcement of their imminent merger in a bid to strengthen their position vis-à-vis Bamako, they are divided over the opportunity to restore links with the government. For its part, the latter seems to have returned to the old clientelist system used by previous regimes to control the north. In the legislative elections, President IBK’s party backed several candidates from or close to the armed groups. The government is rekindling clientelist links with Tuareg and Arab leaders with the aim to divide and gradually weaken the armed groups. This policy is likely to bring short-term stability at the expense of long-term cohesion and inclusiveness, vital for peace and development in the troubled north. In addition, it has deepened tensions between armed groups, thus increasing the risk of new splinter groups taking up arms.

    In accordance with the June 2013 preliminary agreement signed in Ouagadougou, inclusive peace talks should take place 60 days after the formation of the new cabinet. This deadline expired at the beginning of November 2013. Contacts between the government and armed groups are still taking place but through informal channels and in an increasingly tense atmosphere. The main bone of contention is the future of combatants. The current uncertainty could threaten the ceasefire. The international community should use its influence and convince the actors that they must respect the provisions of the Ouagadougou agreement. The armed groups must accept disarmament and the full return of the Malian administration in Kidal, which could initially work with MINUSMA to maintain law and order. As for the government, it must show more flexibility and understand that national conferences are not an alternative to truly inclusive talks with all the northern communities, including armed groups.

    Finally, the focus on the northern region should not overshadow the need to lay better foundations both for the state and for governance. As Crisis Group previously mentioned, the crisis in the north revealed serious dysfunctions that affect the country as a whole. Malian democracy, hailed as a regional example, collapsed suddenly. The country’s new leadership and international partners agree that meaningful reforms are required to break with the past. Some believe that these reforms are too early, too soon for a state still reeling from the crisis. However, it is important not to miss the unique opportunity of implementing an ambitious reform on governance and economic development, supported by a well-coordinated international response. At the very least, bad habits of the past should not resurface.

    RECOMMENDATIONS

    To ensure security throughout the territory and better protect the populations

    To the Malian government:

    1. Ensure that the redeployment of the state in the north focuses on resumption and improvement of services (judicial, educational and health) and not only on restoration of the symbols of central authority.

    2. Restore trust between state representatives and northern populations, particularly in Kidal, by:

    a) investigating all potential abuses committed by armed forces against civilians and trying those individuals involved;

    b) setting up the international investigation committee prescribed by Article 18 of the Ouagadougou agreement as soon as possible;

    c) ensuring the professionalism and probity of the armed forces deployed in the north, in particular by using trained police forces, rather than the army, to maintain law and order; and

    d) putting an end to the use of community-based armed groups to restore security in the north.

    To armed groups in the north:

    1. Respect strictly their confinement into barracks as stipulated by the Ouagadougou agreement, or otherwise accept co-responsibility for incidents happening in localities where they still operate.

    2. Clarify and update their political demands.

    To the Security Council and countries contributing troops:

    1. Increase without delay MINUSMA’s human and logistic resources, especially airborne capacity, until reaching full capacity.

    To MINUSMA:

    1. Fulfil its civilian protection mandate while remaining neutral to avoid being perceived as a state proxy, especially in the north.

    2. Reinforce significantly its presence in the north, especially in towns where security incidents have been reported, and strengthen its patrol capacities, in conjunction with Malian forces, to secure main roads.

    3. Secure the return of refugees, including in pastoral areas, through an increased presence outside of urban centres.

    To the French authorities:

    1. Maintain a rapid reaction contingent and intelligence gathering capacities on Malian soil to support the government and MINUSMA.

    To the African Union, Sahel, West and North African states, the UN special envoy for the Sahel and special representative of the European Union for the Sahel:

    1. Help revive regional cooperation for security and economic development, by supporting consultation and decision-making mechanisms to defuse tensions between the countries involved, such as the African Union-backed initiative that regularly gathers heads of intelligence services of the region.

    To promote peace and reconciliation

    To the Malian government:

    1. Capitalise on the dialogue initiated since the Ouagadougou agreement by:

    a) opening inclusive peace talks with representatives of northern communities, including the armed groups that signed the agreement;

    b) opening, as soon as possible, discussions on disarmament and the future of combatants;

    c) showing flexibility in organising negotiations so as to hold meetings outside Bamako, including in major northern cities; and

    d) refraining from setting decentralisation as the only acceptable basis for negotiations, being open to other institutional arrangements, and implementing measures to facilitate dialogue.

    1. Pursue and strengthen a sustainable national reconciliation policy by:

    a) making sure the dialogue is held at the grassroots level rather than imposed by the state, and setting up regional and local forums as follow-up measures to the recent national conferences;

    b) showing determination to continue discussions and to implement the recommendations of these forums, by linking them directly to a political decision-making process; and

    c) clarifying the mission and functioning of the Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation Commission, adding to its prerogatives a fact-finding mission on crimes committed since 1963.

    To MINUSMA, ECOWAS, witnesses to the Ouagadougou Agreement (AU, EU and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) and the French government:

    1. Continue to facilitate negotiations maintaining a neutral position as between the government and armed groups.

    To initiate a meaningful reform of the state and governance

    To the Malian government:

    1. Show capacity to implement long-lasting state reforms through immediate, tangible actions mainly by:

    a) continuing, in the short-term, to enforce discipline and a strict respect of hierarchy within the armed forces and undertaking a long-term reform of the security sector in collaboration with the EU training mission in Mali (EUTM);

    b) implementing short-term measures to restore public services in the north and throughout the country;

    c) implementing, in the longer term, the main recommendations of the general meetings on decentralisation, steering clear of the pitfalls of an ill-prepared decentralisation;

    d) facilitating, without delay, judicial action against corruption, and quickly highlighting the first results of such action; and

    e) putting in place a longer-term policy to restore the capacities and independence of the justice system.

    To Mali’s partners and donors:

    1. Review fully the failures of past aid policies, taking into account their own responsibilities as well as those of Malian leaders.

    2. Coordinate their actions, especially through the creation of frequent donor forums to define an aid policy tailored to the country’s limited absorption capacities.

    3. Put in place mechanisms to ensure a better monitoring of aid disbursement and to significantly reduce embezzlement.

    4. Help the government set priorities and plan decisions while focusing on tangible actions to restore public services and economic development across the country and not only in regional capitals.

    Dakar/Brussels, 10 January 2014

    Full report in French


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    Source: International Crisis Group
    Country: Mali
    preview


    SYNTHESE ET RECOMMANDATION

    Un an après l’intervention française, l’intégrité territoriale et l’ordre constitutionnel ont été rétablis au Mali. Mais la persistance des tensions intercommunautaires et de violences localisées témoigne d’une stabilisation encore précaire du Nord, alors que les forces françaises et onusiennes peinent à consolider leurs progrès en matière de sécurité. Les attentes à l’égard du président Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta sont immenses. Il doit à la fois élaborer un compromis sur le devenir du Nord et engager la réforme d’un Etat affaibli par la crise. Son gouvernement doit aller au-delà des déclarations d’intention et passer à l’action. Pour consolider la situation à court terme, il est tenté de renouer avec un système clientéliste qui a conduit les précédents régimes dans l’impasse. Le président ne peut certes pas tout réformer brusquement mais l’urgence de la stabilisation ne doit ni faire manquer l’occasion d’entamer une réforme profonde de la gouvernance ni occulter la nécessité d’un dialogue véritablement inclusif sur l’avenir du pays.

    Au Nord, la situation s’est à nouveau tendue fin 2013. L’insécurité prend des formes multiples : banditisme armé, reprise des attaques jihadistes, violences intercommunautaires et incidents réguliers entre forces maliennes et groupes armés. La violence reste contenue mais les ingrédients d’une déflagration plus large sont présents. Les conditions d’un nouveau vivre ensemble sont loin d’être réunies. L’insécurité entrave le retour de l’Etat et le déploiement de l’aide. Dans ce contexte, l’insatisfaction des populations à l’égard des pouvoirs publics reste forte, comme l’attestent des manifestations dans plusieurs localités du Nord et notamment à Gao. Les élections législatives ont certes eu lieu sans incident majeur mais la situation reste préoccupante, en particulier à Kidal, à l’extrême nord du pays, après l’assassinat de deux journalistes français le 2 novembre et des tirs de l’armée malienne sur des manifestants civils le 28 novembre.

    L’Etat tarde pour l’instant à démontrer sa capacité à restaurer les services de base au Nord. Au-delà du manque de moyens, il a perdu sa crédibilité auprès d’une large partie des populations de ces régions même si la majorité ne soutient pas le projet séparatiste ou autonomiste des groupes armés. Pour réconcilier l’Etat et les citoyens, les programmes de réhabilitation qui commencent doivent se concentrer sur les services concrets rendus à la population. L’Etat ne doit pas rater son retour dans le Nord.

    L’opération Serval a notamment permis de réduire de manière substantielle l’activité des groupes jihadistes. Après ce premier succès, le dispositif militaire international est confronté au défi de la durée. Alors qu’elle s’engage en Centrafrique, la France ne veut pas assumer seule le coût d’une stabilisation durable du pays. L’opération des Nations unies (Minusma) relaye les efforts des forces françaises depuis juillet 2013 mais des doutes subsistent sur sa capacité à assumer ses missions, en partie du fait du manque d’effectifs et de moyens adaptés. Plus largement, si la dimension transnationale des menaces est reconnue, l’élaboration d’une politique régionale de sécurité progresse encore trop lentement du fait de nombreuses tensions entre les voisins du Mali.

    En organisant fin 2013 les états généraux de la décentralisation et les assises nationales du Nord, l’Etat crée les conditions d’un dialogue national et rompt avec des négociations qui enfermaient trop souvent Etat et groupes armés dans un face-à-face stérile. Ces rencontres doivent cependant aller au-delà des vœux pieux. Il faut maintenant passer aux actions concrètes en installant rapidement des mécanismes pour une redistribution effective des ressources dans les régions et en prenant en compte les critiques sur l’insuffisante représentativité des rencontres organisées par le gouvernement. Les forums régionaux qui prennent le relais des conférences nationales ne doivent pas imposer les choix de Bamako mais associer les communautés locales à la prise de décision. A défaut, les efforts du gouvernement ces derniers mois n’auront été que de vains exercices de communication sans impact sur le terrain.

    Les groupes armés présents au Nord refusent jusqu’ici de participer à ces rencontres. Ils reprochent au gouvernement d’en maitriser exclusivement les modalités et de fermer la porte à un dialogue réel. Malgré l’annonce de leur prochaine fusion pour mieux peser face à Bamako, ils se divisent en réalité sur l’opportunité de retisser des liens avec le pouvoir. Ce dernier semble renouer avec une politique clientéliste qui permettait aux régimes précédents de gouverner le Nord en échange de prébendes. Lors des élections législatives, le parti du président IBK a soutenu plusieurs candidats issus ou proches des groupes armés. En renouant les liens avec des chefs touareg et arabes, le pouvoir espère diviser et affaiblir progressivement les mouvements armés. Cette politique peut ramener de la stabilité à court terme mais elle contribue peu aux nécessaires réformes de la gouvernance dans le septentrion malien. Par ailleurs, elle avive les tensions au sein des groupes armés. Dans ce contexte, des éléments se sentent floués et peuvent reprendre les armes.

    Selon l’accord préliminaire de Ouagadougou de juin 2013, des pourparlers inclusifs de paix devaient s’ouvrir 60 jours après la formation du gouvernement. Ce délai a expiré début novembre. Gouvernement et groupes armés continuent le dialogue mais par des canaux plus informels et dans un contexte plus tendu. Les discussions achoppent notamment sur la question du sort des combattants. L’incertitude actuelle est dangereuse. La communauté internationale doit user de son influence pour amener les acteurs à tenir leurs engagements. Les groupes armés doivent accepter le désarmement et le plein retour des autorités maliennes à Kidal. Celles-ci pourraient provisoirement assurer l’ordre public conjointement avec la Minusma. De son côté, le gouvernement doit se montrer plus flexible et comprendre que les conférences nationales ne se substituent pas à de véritables pourparlers incluant toutes les communautés du Nord, y compris les groupes armés.

    Enfin si l’attention porte aujourd’hui sur les régions du Nord, il ne faut pas négliger la nécessité de refonder sur des bases plus saines l’Etat et la gouvernance sur l’ensemble du territoire. Comme l’a établi Crisis Group, la crise du Nord a révélé les graves déséquilibres qui affectent le pays entier. La démocratie malienne, longtemps tenue pour un modèle régional, s’est effondrée brusquement. Le nouveau pouvoir et ses partenaires internationaux s’accordent à dire que de profondes réformes sont nécessaires pour rompre avec les pratiques passées. Beaucoup estiment cependant qu’elles sont encore prématurées dans le contexte d’un Etat qui se remet à peine debout. Il ne faut cependant pas manquer l’occasion d’une réforme ambitieuse de la gouvernance. A tout le moins les réflexes liés à l’ancien système de gouvernance ne doivent pas reprendre le dessus.

    RECOMMANDATIONS

    Pour renforcer la sécurisation du territoire et la protection des populations

    Au gouvernement du Mali :

    1. Veiller à ce que le retour de l’Etat dans le Nord se concentre sur la restauration et l’amélioration des services (justice, éducation et santé) et non sur les seuls symboles de l’autorité centrale.

    2. Rétablir la confiance entre les représentants de l’Etat et la population du Nord, en particulier celle de Kidal, en :

    a) enquêtant systématiquement sur les plaintes concernant des exactions commises par les forces de sécurité sur les populations civiles et poursuivre en justice les auteurs de tels crimes ;

    b) créant au plus tôt la commission d’enquête internationale prévue par l’article 18 de l’accord de Ouagadougou ;

    c) s’assurant du professionnalisme et de l’intégrité des forces de sécurité déployées au Nord, en particulier, en confiant les missions de maintien de l’ordre public à des forces de police entrainées et non à celles de l’armée ; et

    d) rompant définitivement avec l’utilisation de groupes armés à base communautaire pour rétablir la sécurité au Nord.

    Aux groupes armés du Nord :

    1. Se conformer de manière plus stricte au cantonnement prévu par l’accord de Ouagadougou, ou à défaut, être tenu pour coresponsables des incidents qui se produisent dans les localités où ils sont présents.

    2. Clarifier et actualiser leurs revendications politiques.

    Au Conseil de sécurité et aux pays contributeurs de troupes :

    1. Renforcer rapidement les ressources humaines et logistiques de la Minusma, notamment en moyens aéroportés, jusqu’à l’atteinte de ses effectifs complets.

    A la Minusma :

    1. Assurer, de manière impartiale, son mandat de protection des civils en évitant d’apparaitre comme une force auxiliaire de l’Etat, surtout au Nord du pays.

    2. Renforcer de manière substantielle sa présence dans le Nord, notamment dans les villes où des incidents ont été signalés, et renforcer ses capacités de patrouille, aux côtés des forces maliennes, pour sécuriser les axes routiers.

    3. Sécuriser le retour des réfugiés, y compris dans les zones pastorales, en renforçant sa présence en dehors des espaces urbains.

    Aux autorités françaises :

    1. Maintenir sur le territoire malien des forces dotées de moyens de réaction rapide et de renseignement pour épauler le gouvernement et la Minusma.

    A la Commission de l’Union africaine, aux Etats du Sahel, d’Afrique de l’Ouest et du Nord, à l’envoyé spécial de l’ONU pour le Sahel et au représentant spécial de l’Union européenne pour le Sahel :

    1. Participer à la relance de la coopération régionale en matière de sécurité et de développement économique en appuyant les cadres de concertation et de décision permettant de réduire progressivement les méfiances et les tensions entre les Etats concernés, comme par exemple le processus soutenu par l’Union africaine de réunir régulièrement les chefs des services de renseignements des pays de la sous-région.

    Pour renforcer le processus de réconciliation et de retour à la paix

    Au gouvernement du Mali :

    1. Poursuivre le dialogue engagé dans le cadre de l’accord de Ouagadougou en :

    a) ouvrant les pourparlers de paix inclusifs avec les représentants des communautés du Nord, y compris des groupes armés signataires de l’accord ;

    b) proposant, avec le soutien de ses partenaires, un plan de réinsertion socioéconomique à destination des combattants afin de faciliter le cantonnement et le désarmement ;

    c) faisant preuve de flexibilité dans les modalités de négociation en acceptant que les rencontres se tiennent également en dehors de Bamako, y compris dans les grandes villes du Nord ; et

    d) ne faisant pas de la décentralisation le seul terme de discussion acceptable lors des négociations, envisageant d’autres arrangements institutionnels et prenant des mesures de facilitation favorisant le dialogue.

    1. Poursuivre, avec plus de vigueur et dans la durée, la politique de réconciliation nationale en :

    a) veillant à ce que le dialogue ne soit pas imposé d’en haut mais réapproprié par les communautés locales, et pour cela, relayer l’action des récentes conférences nationales par des forums régionaux et locaux ;

    b) se montrant plus déterminé à ce que les discussions et recommandations des forums ne restent pas lettre morte et, pour cela, les relier plus directement à un processus de prise de décision politique ; et

    c) reprécisant les missions et le fonctionnement de la Commission dialogue vérité et réconciliation, en lui confiant notamment une mission d’établissement des faits sur les crimes commis depuis 1963, date de la première rébellion touareg au Mali.

    A la Minusma, aux différents médiateurs de la Cedeao, aux témoins de l’accord de Ouagadougou (UA, UE, Organisation de la coopération islamique) et au gouvernement français :

    1. Faciliter les négociations en veillant tout particulièrement à préserver une position de neutralité entre le gouvernement et les groupes armés du Nord.

    Pour engager une réforme profonde de l’Etat et de la gouvernance

    Au gouvernement du Mali :

    1. Poser dès à présent des actes concrets témoignant de sa capacité à porter la réforme de l’Etat dans la durée en :

    a) poursuivant, à court terme, les actions visant au respect de la discipline et de la hiérarchie au sein des forces armées et engageant, à long terme, une réforme du secteur de la sécurité en collaboration avec la mission de formation de l’Union européenne au Mali (EUTM) ;

    b) entreprenant dans le court terme des actions concrètes visant au rétablissement des services publics dans le Nord et sur l’ensemble du territoire ;

    c) préparant à plus longue échéance l’application des recommandations principales des états généraux de la décentralisation en veillant à prévenir les possibles effets pervers d’une décentralisation mal maitrisée ;

    d) facilitant dès à présent l’action de la justice en matière de lutte anti-corruption et mettant rapidement en évidence les premiers résultats ; et

    e) engageant à plus long terme une politique visant à restaurer les moyens de la justice et la préservation de son indépendance.

    Aux partenaires et aux bailleurs de fonds du Mali :

    1. Procéder à un examen lucide de l’échec des politiques d’assistance passées, en prêtant attention à leurs propres responsabilités autant qu’à celles des dirigeants maliens.

    2. Coordonner les interventions notamment à travers la création d’un forum réunissant régulièrement les pays contributeurs pour définir une assistance adaptée aux capacités d’absorption limitées du pays.

    3. Instaurer des mécanismes garantissant un meilleur contrôle de l’utilisation de l’aide et une réduction significative des détournements.

    4. Aider le gouvernement à sérier les priorités et à échelonner les décisions mais privilégier également les actions qui aident au retour concret des services publics et au développement économique dans les régions, au-delà des seules capitales régionales.

    Dakar/Bruxelles, 10 janvier 2014


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali, Mauritania

    01/12/2014 15:52 GMT

    NOUAKCHOTT, January 12, 2014 (AFP) - The leaders of Mali and Mauritania on Sunday signed an accord to boost military cooperation and information sharing in the battle against "armed groups or terrorists" plaguing the west African neighbours.

    Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, elected in August 2013 after months of turbulence in which Islamists seized the northern half of his country, signed the deal on a state visit to Nouakchott.

    He and his Mauritanian counterpart Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz "agreed not to tolerate the presence of any armed or terrorist group that could potentially destabilise" either country, according to a joint statement.

    They also agreed to boost cooperation between their armed forces with "periodic meetings, the regular exchange of information and close consultations."

    The two Sahel nations are both threatened by armed groups including Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which is involved in kidnappings for ransom, arms and drug trafficking and attacks.

    AQIM was one of the groups which spearheaded the Islamic takeover of northern Mali for nine months in 2012, installing a brutal version of sharia law in cities under the control of extremist groups.

    The Islamists were driven out by a French-led military intervention launched last January, but continue to infest the vast northern desert, launching sporadic but deadly attacks on Malian troops and United Nations peacekeepers.

    Mauritania's Aziz has actively fought AQIM's presence in the region, and his troops launched raids on their bases in Mali in 2010 and 2011.

    The two leaders also called for "greater cooperation between all Sahel-Saharan countries to coordinate operations in the fight against armed terrorists, drug traffickers and illicit smuggling."

    str/mrb/fb/ric


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    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country: Eritrea, Mauritania, Niger, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen

    Poursuite des opérations de lutte sur les deux rives de la mer Rouge

    La situation relative au Criquet pèlerin demeure préoccupante dans les zones de reproduction hivernale, le long des deux rives de la mer Rouge. Les conditions écologiques continuent à être favorables pour une autre reproduction, ce qui pourrait donner lieu à la formation de davantage de bandes larvaires et d’essaims au Yémen, en Erythrée, en Arabie saoudite et, à une moindre échelle, au Soudan.

    En Arabie saoudite, les opérations de lutte se poursuivent entre Lith et Jizan contre des groupes et bandes larvaires et des groupes d’adultes. Certains groupes sont en ponte et un essaim mature a été signalé.

    Au Soudan, les opérations de lutte terrestre et aérienne se poursuivent contre des groupes d’ailés en cours de maturation sur la côte méridionale, entre le delta du Tokar et la frontière avec l’Érythrée, et des pontes sont en cours. Un essaim mature a été observé en ponte dans le delta du Tokar. Des opérations de lutte terrestre sont également en cours dans les zones sub-côtières du nord-est, près de Tomala, contre des bandes larvaires et des groupes d’ailés immatures.

    En Afrique de l’ouest, des ailés épars immatures sont présents dans le nord-ouest de la Mauritanie et un essaim immature s’est formé dans le Parc national du Banc d’Arguin. Au Niger, des équipes terrestres ont traité quelques groupes d’ailés dans le désert du Ténéré.


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    Source: Danish Refugee Council
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali
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    PRÉSENTATION

    Située dans le Nord du Burkina Faso, la région sahélienne abrite essentiellement des groupes d’agro-pasteurs semi-nomades. Son climat diffi cile, à la pluviométrie imprévisible et propice aux sécheresses, en fait une région sujette à une insécurité alimentaire récurrente et à faibles revenus.
    Depuis quelques années, la région sahélienne fait l’objet d’une attention particulière de la part des institutions gouvernementales et de certaines agences des Nations Unies, car elle présente les indicateurs les plus bas du Burkina Faso dans les domaines nutritionnel, scolaire et sanitaire. Par ailleurs, des disparités économiques grandissantes placent les populations dans des situations socio-économiques diffi ciles. Les enfants sont de ce fait exposés à de plus grands risques et leurs besoins de protection s’en trouvent accrus.

    La région sahélienne a une riche histoire d’échanges avec les pays voisins, et en particulier avec le Mali et le Niger. Les mêmes groupes ethniques résidant de chaque côté des frontières, les échanges commerciaux, familiaux, amicaux et religieux sont fréquents. Les bergers maliens, burkinabés et nigériens se retrouvent autour des points d’eau pendant la transhumance.

    Ce sont ces liens qui ont incité nombre de familles maliennes à venir se réfugier auprès des communautés sahéliennes du Burkina Faso, lorsque la crise a éclaté au Mali.

    Le HCR et le gouvernement burkinabé ont dénombré plus de 40 000 réfugiés dans ce cas. Ils ont monté deux camps pour les accueillir. Cependant, un certain nombre de réfugiés ont décidé de rester dans les communautés hôtes pour diverses raisons : liens de parenté avec des familles arrivées lors d’exodes antérieurs, liens d’amitié, routes commerciales, proximité des pâturages et des points d’eau, proximité de la frontière, etc.

    L’arrivée des réfugiés dans la région sahélienne et l’ouverture des camps ont amené la communauté humanitaire à ouvrir des programmes d’urgence, afi n de répondre à leurs besoins essentiels et d’assurer leur protection. Si les activités menées par les organisations se sont déroulées la majeure partie du temps dans les camps, quelques programmes visaient plus spécifi quement les communautés hôtes. Le programme de protection mené par le CDR faisait partie de ces derniers.
    Le CDR, en collaboration avec l’UNICEF et le fonds DANIDA, a décidé de mener une enquête sur les risques et les mécanismes de protection de l’enfant dans les communautés hôtes et auprès des réfugiés résidant en dehors des camps. Cette étude avait pour objectif de comprendre la nature de ces risques, leurs fondements culturels, ainsi que les réponses adoptées par les communautés pour les neutraliser. Elle avait aussi pour objectif de déterminer les approches à avoir pour renforcer les réponses communautaires et/ou institutionnelles faces aux risques.

    Ainsi, l’enquête a été conduite en juillet 2013, dans 21 communautés proches de la frontière malienne. Certaines de ces communautés hébergeaient des réfugiés ; d’autres non. L’enquête consistait en discussions en groupes et en entretiens individuels avec des adultes et des enfants.

    Parallèlement, nous avons rencontré des intervenants issus des administrations gouvernementales et du personnel des organisations humanitaires. Nous avons privilégié une approche d’inspiration ethnographique et qualitative.


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    Source: Danish Refugee Council
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali

    Children of refugees and host communities children are facing a high number of risks, due to their difficult socio-economic situation shows new study from the Danish Refugee Council.

    The Danish Refugee Council’s recent study on risks faced by children and on existing protection mechanisms in northern Burkina Faso highlights the main concerns expressed by refugees and host regarding their children’s safety and future prospects. On top of displaying distortions in aid allocation, the study reveals that the main causes of anxiety for parents, children and stakeholders on the field are usually linked to some socio-cultural customs incompatible with children’s physical integrity and wellbeing; psycho-social concerns; harsh economic and living conditions and the global change of lifestyle induced by the Malian conflict.

    In order to cope with those risks, both refugees and local people have relied on existing protection mechanisms at family and community levels. Depending on the hazard, it is implicitly agreed that the adults and the eldest children have a role to play in looking after the youngest and intervening to protect them if needed. As for the village authorities, they are usually in charge of making sure that the kids have access to school, health care, sufficient food, etc.

    The study puts forward a few recommendations which, if implemented, could make children’s protection in the Sahel region of Burkina Faso more effective and durable. Improving communication and coordination of initiatives between communities and stakeholders on the field is one of them. Integrating more extensively the specific needs of children and youth in more community oriented ways of designing programming is another to find a balance between the tradition and the rights based approach. Reinforcing the preexisting social and legal systems is a third sizeable one to best protect children.

    The study, qualitative in nature, results from 426 individual interviews conducted in July 2013 in the provinces of Soum and Oudalan, in association with UNICEF. 76% of the interviewed were “hosts”, while 24% were refugees (living both in and outside non official sites).

    The Danish Refugee Council has been present in Burkina Faso since the beginning of 2013, providing direct assistance and protection monitoring for approximately 10 000 beneficiaries, including Malian refugees and Burkina Faso host communities. Willing to promote social cohesion, DRC also endeavors to strengthen and build local partnership, communities’ capacity for self-protection and in order to improve the well-being of children.

    Read full report (in French):


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    Source: UN Children's Fund, Education Cluster
    Country: Mali
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    I. Causes et facteurs sous-jacents

    La crise sociopolitique et alimen taire à laquelle le Mali fait face à l’heure actuelle a fortement perturbé les capacités de l’état Malien d’assurer la fourniture adéquate de services sociaux de base, y compris la prestation des services éducatifs. Le conflit armé au Nord du Mali qui a entrainé un déplacement massif des populations à l’intérieur de ces mêmes régions, vers les régions du Sud et les pay s li mitrophes a aussi exacerbé les problèmes structurels du système éducatif Malien. Dans le secteur de l’éducation du fait de la crise plusieurs facteurs ont un impact sur l’accès et la qualité de l’éducation. Ces facteurs sont décrits ci-dessous :

    1.1 Facteurs limitant l’accès à l’éducation:

    • Insécurité au Nord : La reprise des activités éducative s reste limitée dans les régions du Nord o ù la situation sécuritaire précaire empêche l’ouverture des écoles dans certaines communes du Nord.
    Pour l’année 201-201 3,52% des écoles ont pu reprendre dans les régions du Nord. Il est à noter qu’aucune école n’a repris à Kidal où le niveau d’insécurité reste élevé. Suite à un e enquête mené e par le Cluster Education et le Ministère de L’Education Nationale (MEN), l’inquiétude des parents pour la sécurité de leurs enfants à l’école est ressortie comme étant l’une des causes majeur es menant à la déscolarisation des enfants au Nord. Pour la nou velle année scolaire 2013-2014 dans les régions de Gao et To mbouctou l’insécurité continue d’avoir un impact négatif sur le secteur où 34% des écoles fondamentales à Gao et 19% des écoles à Tombouctou sont à risque de ne pas rouvrir a cause des contraintes sécuritaires. Dans la région de Kidal, le système éducatif reste encore non-fonctionnel en raison de la situation sécuritaire précaire qui empêche le retour de l’administration scolaire et la reprise des activités éducatives ;

    • L’indisponibilité des enseignants dans les zones affectées par le conflit : Le retour des enseignants titulaires au Nord reste faible dans les zones non sécurisées. Pour l’année scolaire 2012-2013, 53% des enseignants avaient repris fonction dans les régions de Gao et Tombouctou. Malgré l’effort déployé par le gouvernement pour motiver les enseignants à reprendre leur poste au Nord à travers des primes, le manque d’enseignants reste une contrainte majeure à court et à long terme pour la reprise des activités éducatives de qualité au Nord ;

    • Crise nutritionnel le et alimentaire : Le conflit armé au Nord est exacerbé par la crise alimentaire dans les régions du Nord o ù tous les cercles demeurent en phase 3 (crise) ou phase 4 (urgence) selon le cadre harmonisé d’identification et d’analyse des zones à risque, élaboré par le Cluster Sécurité Alimentaire. La mise en place de programme d’alimentation scolaire reste une des priorités pour les communautés au Nord afin d’assurer la reprise des activités éducatives;

    • Inondations/risque de cholera : En 2013, 61 écoles ont étés endommagées suite aux inond ations qui ont ainsi compromis l’accès à l’éducation pour plus de 11.000 élèves (45% filles) dans les régions de Ségou, Sikasso et Tombouctou. De plus, 43 écoles ont été occupées par des sinistré s dans la ville de Bamako ; ce qui a exercé une pression sur les infrastructures scolaires et sanitaires déjà en mauvais état et à capacités réduites. Selon les données fournies par le Cluster WASH, 850 écoles se situent dans des communes à extrême risque de cholera, dont 4% n’ont pas de point d’eau potableet 36% n’ont pas de latrines fonctionnelles. Parmi ces écoles, 81 se situent dans des zones directe ment affectées par le conflit où le risque d’occupation et pillage est très élevé;

    • Faibles capacités des organes communautaires : Les organes communautaires (Comité de Gestion Scolaire, Association des Parents d’Elèves, Association des Mères d’Elèves) jouent un rôle majeur pour assurer la reprise des activités éducatives dans un contexte où l ’école malienne est gérée au niveau décentralisé. Ces structures, qui déjà étaient en besoin de renforcement dans les régions du Nord avant la crise, ont étés encore plus affaibli es et dépourvues des ressources nécessaires pour faciliter le bon fonctionnement de l’école .

    • Déplacement des populations du Nord : Malgré l’ effort considérable du gouvernement et des communautés hôtes des régions du Sud, 40% des enfants déplacés en âge scolaire (3-18 ans) sont déscolarisés. Les faibles moyens économique s des familles déplacées, et la capacité d’absorption limitée des écoles d’accueil constituent une entrave à la scolarisation des enfants déplacés. Ces contraintes risquent de continuer de limiter les possibilités de scolarisation des enfants déplacés dans un contexte où certain sont déjà perdu deux (2) années scolaires suite à leur déplacement.

    • Présence des mines et engins non-explosés dans les zones affectées par le conflit : Les risques liés à la présence des mines et engins non-explosés dans les bâtiments scolaires et sur le chemin de l’école constitue un réel danger pour les enfants vivant da ns les zones directement affectées par le conflit ;

    • Impact économique : Les couts liés à la scolarisation (frais de scolarité, manque de matériels scolaires) ont été considéré s comme étant la principale barrière à la scolarisation des enfants selon une enquête me née par le MEN et le Cluster Education dans les régions de Gao et Tombouctou. L e problème de la participation des enfants dans les travaux de subsis tance qui était une contrainte avant la crise s’est accentué avec la pression économique ressentie dans les régions du Nord et les communautés hôtes.

    • La destruction, le pillage et l’occupation des structures éducatives et du mobilier scolaire : La réhabilitation des infrastructures éducatives était considérée come étant une priorité pour assurer le bon fonctionnement des écoles fonctionnelles au Nord pour l’année scolaire 2012-2013. Selon les informations collectées par le Cluster Education pl us de 200 structures éducatives auraient été détruit es, occu pées ou pillées par des groupes armés. Les effets du conflit sur les infrastructures éducatives au Nord ont aggravé les problèmes structurels auxquels le systè me scolaire faisait face avant la crise. Bien que les activités de réhabilitation sont en cours de réalisation, a court terme le manque d’infrastructures adéquate s pourrait d ’avantage limiter l’accès à l’éducation pour les enfants en âge scolaire au Nord, surtout dans un contexte où les familles déplacées au Sud et dans les pays limitrophes commencent à retourner dans leurs régions d’origine .


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    Source: Concern Worldwide
    Country: Kenya, Niger
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    Concern Worldwide’s learning from the Sahel and the Horn of Africa September 2013

    Introduction

    This paper suggests that building community resilience to food and nutrition crises is key to promoting a sustainable development agenda in drought prone regions. It argues that, in order to reverse trends of chronic poverty and malnutrition, radical change is needed in domestic and donor policy. This includes fully integrating disaster preparedness, risk reduction and resilience strategies within development policies.


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    Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid department
    Country: Burkina Faso

    13/01/2014 – Upon interviewing Lenli Traoré, a small farmer in Tapoa, the easternmost province of Burkina Faso, about how his family will be coping after the failed harvest he pulls a faded photo from his breast pocket. “Paguidamba”, he explains, “was one year old when she died. She was ill and became malnourished. We waited too long to seek medical help.” The loss of his daughter five years ago has left Lenli mourning, prompting him to share the fading depiction of the girl with a big belly so as to keep her memory alive. Touched by his gesture, I come to appreciate the true value of him cherishing his lastborn Dieudonné which he tenderly holds while his wife Kanlafé prepares the family meal.

    At only 7 months Dieudonné has already been seriously ill twice during the rainy season, first measles, then malaria. And luckily, this time, his mother had been included as a beneficiary of Action Against Hunger’s cash transfer programme in the region. Although initially meant as a form of food assistance, Kanlafé spent almost her entire last instalment on medical bills for Dieudonné. But the family is happy to have had the possibility to seek care immediately. Most of the 75€ that Kanlafé received in 5 instalments during the ‘lean season’, the hardest months of the year when food and water become scarce, were used to buy food and condiments as well as soap for their family of nine.

    There is no silver bullet to solving the erosion of coping mechanisms which a decade of food crises, shifting climate patterns and increasing food prices have brought upon many families of the Sahel like the Traoré’s. The European Commission’s humanitarian aid department ECHO has been supporting various resilience-building pilot programmes, ranging from seasonal cash transfers for poor households to subsidised health care for the most vulnerable, which could make a real difference if combined and scaled up at the national level.

    “Humanitarian aid has its limits,” says ECHO’s head of office in Burkina Faso Eric Pitois. “Our goal is to save lives, and undertake some preventative action. But we have to go further now and encourage donors and governments to commit to long-term policies that will lift these people out of extreme poverty.”

    Looking at all that is being achieved in regions where pilot programmes are running, their immense potential becomes apparent. In 5 of the 63 Burkinabe sanitary districts, ECHO funds programmes to ensure free health care for children under five, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. The results are spectacular in that the average number of visits to health centres by mothers and children has multiplied many times over. This, in turn, is a blessing when striving to prevent children from becoming severely malnourished and dying from lack of care.

    “Every year at the time of harvest, when parents are busy in the fields, the number of severely malnourished children admitted with medical complications increases,” says Action Against Hunger’s Dr. Issa Sawadogo who provides technical support for the treatment of severe acute malnutrition in Tapoa’s provincial hospital. “Children suffer the most when families don’t manage to be food self-sufficient. Malnutrition really needs to be considered as a public health priority and the solutions should not only come from NGOs.”

    Brought together under an initiative to build resilience in the Sahel and West Africa – AGIR or the Global Alliance for Resilience Initiative – Dr. Issa’s point of view is gaining ground. The realization that increased agricultural production alone will not suffice to feed an exponentially growing population is sinking in. Infrastructure works and optimizing agricultural outputs can be extremely useful, but if there is one thing that humanitarians in this region are demonstrating, it is that investing in policies which shield the most vulnerable families, who are likely to benefit little from these works and agriculture schemes, from ‘falling in deeper’ is needed at the same time.

    “Now is indeed the time to take action,” agrees Burkina Faso’s minister of agriculture Mahama Zoungrana. “Resilience should not be a single-sector effort, because it is a multi-disciplinary issue. We need to build on the best practices we’ve seen throughout the years and pull them together in AGIR so as to build long-term programmes that will allow our people to live in dignity.”

    When asked about this year’s harvest, Lenli replied that the stock of cereals will only cover the family’s needs for 6 months. Alone in his field, shedding blood, sweat and tears to keep his family alive, one realizes it is not by lack of determination nor hard work that fathers like him come to lose their children, but by lack of a safety net.

    AGIR aims to achieve zero hunger in West Africa by 2032. Rome wasn’t built in a day – and neither will resilience -, but building it on the right foundations can prevent the edifice from collapsing.

    Anouk Delafortrie
    Regional Information Officer for West Africa


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    Source: Assessment Capacities Project
    Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Haiti, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Somalia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Yemen, South Sudan (Republic of)
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    South Sudan: Ethnic violence which erupted in mid-December continues, with heavy fighting reported in the states of Jonglei and Unity, and sporadic clashes reported in Upper Nile and Central Equatoria. While numbers cannot be verified due to limited access, thousands of people have been killed or injured and reports indicate that civilians are being targeted in attacks, forcing an estimated 400,000 to flee, mostly internally. Meanwhile, peace talks continue in Ethiopia between the warring parties, but are stalling over the issue of the liberation of political detainees still in Juba’s custody.

    Syria: The UNHCR said the number of refugees who have fled Syria now stands at around 2,379 million people. Intense fighting continues across the country with more reports of barrel bombs being used and rifts within rebel ranks increasing. Meanwhile, the main opposition National Coalition postponed a decision on whether to attend the Geneva II peace talks on January 22 for another week. Meanwhile, the first shipment of priority chemicals left Syria from Lattakia port, amidst pressure on Damascus from international organizations to speed up the process.

    Central African Republic: Whilst a degree of calm has been restored to the capital Bangui, the risk of further violence and sectarian clashes remains, particularly in the surrounding and rural areas. Earlier in the week, Central African Republic's interim President Michel Djotodia and his prime minister both resigned following a two-day meeting in N’Djamena, Chad. New assessments indicated that 2.6 million people – over half of the country’s entire population – were now in immediate need of assistance.

    Philippines: Shelter, food security and the provision of basic healthcare, remain major concerns across the areas affected by the Typhoon Yolanda. To date, over 14.1 million people are still considered to have been affected by the disaster while the rise of epidemics, notably dengue around Ormoc City in Leyte province, has been reported.

    Updated: 14/01/2014 Next Update: 21/01/2014

    Global Emergency Overview Web Interface


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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Mali, Niger
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