October 2019 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 September 2019
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Expected Council Action

In October, the Council is expected to hold a briefing on the situation in Mali, followed by consultations. The mandate of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) ends on 30 June 2020. The Mali sanctions measures expire on 31 August 2020, and the mandate of the Panel of Experts expires on 30 September 2020.

Key Recent Developments

On 28 June, the Council adopted resolution 2480 renewing MINUSMA’s mandate. While the mission’s primary strategic priority remains to support the implementation of the 2015 Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali, the resolution created a second strategic priority for MINUSMA focused on the situation in the centre of Mali, which has experienced worsening intercommunal violence fuelled by terrorist groups. In particular, MINUSMA is “to facilitate the implementation of a comprehensive politically-led Malian strategy to protect civilians, reduce intercommunal violence, and re-establish State authority, State presence and basic social services in Central Mali”.

Frustrated by the limited implementation of the 2015 peace and reconciliation agreement, the resolution specified the progress the Council expects to see in the next year. The identified areas are constitutional reform; decentralisation; security sector reform; development of the north; and the full, effective and meaningful participation of women.

While attacks by extremist groups and militias continued in the centre and north, central Mali experienced a reduction in violence in recent months amidst several local peace initiatives. On 3 August, ethnic Fulani and Dogon militias in the Mopti and Ségou regions signed a peace agreement in the presence of Prime Minister Boubou Cissé, who was conducting his second visit to central Mali since July.

Critical to implementing the 2015 peace agreement is the government’s planned “inclusive political dialogue” to reach consensual decisions on the major challenges facing Mali and on political reforms, including the revision of the constitution, decentralisation legislation, and new timelines for a referendum and legislative, regional and local elections. To prepare for the dialogue, consultations were launched with civil society, political parties and religious leaders, leading to the adoption of its terms of reference in mid-September. As part of the accelerated disarmament, demobilisation and integration process, around 1,000 former combatants from the armed groups that signed the peace agreement recently completed training to be integrated into the Malian armed forces. However, they have yet to be deployed.

Regarding the joint force of the Group of Five for the Sahel (FC-G5S), resolution 2480 expressed the Council’s support for expanding MINUSMA’s provision of “life support consumables” to all contingents operating in the framework of the FC-G5S rather than just those on Malian territory, on the condition that the joint force or other partners deliver this assistance and that units receiving such assistance strictly comply with the UN human rights due diligence policy.

On 25 September, a high-level meeting on Mali and the Sahel brought together leaders of Mali and other Sahel countries, representatives of member states, and international and regional organisations, including the AU, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the UN. The Malian government provided an update on progress in implementing the peace agreement and preparations for the national dialogue, and participants reviewed the decisions of ECOWAS from a recent 14 September summit that assessed regional counter-terrorism approaches.

Sanctions-Related Developments

The 2374 Mali Sanctions Committee on 10 July imposed a travel ban on five individuals, including members of the Coordination and Platform coalitions of armed groups and a member of Parliament from the ruling political party. The committee highlighted the involvement of some of these individuals in activities to destabilise Mali, including activities funded by organised crime. On 29 August, the Council adopted resolution 2484 renewing the Mali sanctions, which also include an asset freeze against individuals and entities engaged in actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, or stability of Mali.

Key Issues and Options

Following the renewal of MINUSMA’s mandate with the addition of a second strategic priority regarding central Mali, the challenge will be to implement this mandate while continuing to devote close attention to the north without additional troops and with fewer resources than those originally proposed by the Secretary-General to the Fifth Committee.

Progress in implementing the 2015 peace agreement, particularly in the priority areas identified in resolution 2480, is a key issue. Council members could continue to pursue bilaterally ways of increasing pressure on the parties to advance the implementation of the agreement. In pushing for progress in the priority areas identified in resolution 2480, Council members are likely to be mindful that these developments depend as much or more on the engagement and good faith of the parties as on the mission itself.

As the sanctions committee considers additional designations or delisting requests, a related issue is assessing whether sanctions are having the intended effect in changing the behaviour of spoilers.

Council Dynamics

During negotiations on resolution 2480, there were some discussions among members about distinguishing between “primary” and “second” strategic priorities or having two strategic priorities of equal significance. In the end, the distinction between primary and second priorities was retained.

While members want to see faster implementation of the peace agreement, they have diverging views on the use of sanctions. Some members are more inclined to impose sanctions for non-implementation of the peace agreement, which they note can always be lifted following substantial progress in implementation, while others are more cautious, expressing concerns about potentially alienating parties in the peace process and being too one-sided in their use against the armed groups.

France is the penholder on Mali and Ambassador José Singer Weisinger (Dominican Republic) chairs the 2374 Mali Sanctions Committee.

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Security Council Resolutions
29 August 2019S/RES/2484 This resolution renewed the Mali sanctions measures (travel ban and asset freeze) until 31 August 2020 and the mandate of the Panel of Experts until 30 September 2020.
28 June 2019S/RES/2480 The Council renewed the mandate of MINUSCA until 30 June 2020.
Security Council Meeting Records
28 June 2019S/PV.8568 This was the meeting at which resolution 2480 was adopted.
12 June 2019S/PV.8547 The Council was briefed on developments in Mali by Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of MINUSMA.
Sanctions Committee Documents
7 August 2019S/2019/636 This was the final report of the Mali Panel of Experts
10 July 2019SC/13878 This was a press release by the 2374 Sanctions Committee on the five individuals added to the sanctions list.

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