Prioritizing and Sequencing Peacekeeping Mandates in 2018: The Case of MINUSMA

Three years after the signing of the 2015 Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali, many key provisions remain unimplemented. Threats posed by violent extremists and intercommunal violence exacerbate an already tense political environment, impeding the political process and the restoration and extension of state authority. These violent dynamics have claimed the lives of civilians, Malian security forces, MINUSMA peacekeepers, and French forces. Instability threatens to undermine the free and fair presidential elections scheduled for July as well as regional and municipal elections that are expected to take place later in the year.

In this context, the International Peace Institute (IPI), the Stimson Center, and Security Council Report organized a workshop on May 8, 2018, to discuss MINUSMA’s mandate and political strategy. This workshop offered a platform for member states and UN actors to develop a shared understanding and common strategic assessment of the situation in Mali. The discussion was intended to help the Security Council make informed decisions with respect to the strategic orientation, prioritization, and sequencing of the mission’s mandate and actions on the ground.

With a focus on providing support to the political process, the extension of state authority, security sector reform, and to other security actors, participants discussed how the Council could reflect these strategic priorities in the upcoming MINUSMA mandate. Several participants also highlighted potential tensions among mandated tasks, noting the need to consider more closely how each fits into the mission’s political strategy in order to achieve the Council’s strategic objectives.