Prioritizing and Sequencing Security Council Mandates in 2021: The Case of MINUSMA

The UN Security Council is expected to renew the mandate of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in June 2021. This comes in the midst of a challenging political context and deteriorating security environment in Mali.

In this context, the International Peace Institute (IPI), the Stimson Center, and Security Council Report organized a virtual workshop on May 20, 2021, to discuss MINUSMA’s mandate and political strategy. The workshop offered a forum for member states, UN staff, and outside experts to develop a shared understanding and common strategic assessment of the situation in Mali. The session was intended to help the Security Council make informed decisions with respect to the strategic orientation, prioritization, and sequencing of MINUSMA’s mandate and actions on the ground.

This workshop took place before the detention of the civilian leaders of Mali’s transitional government by military officers on May 24, 2021, and the subsequent suspension of the country from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU). The meeting note does not reflect these developments or subsequent responses.

Participants highlighted that the mission’s current strategic priorities—supporting the implementation of the 2015 Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation and facilitating the implementation of a comprehensive, politically led national strategy to stabilize central Mali—remain relevant to the UN’s engagement in the country. They stressed that the Security Council and MINUSMA should pursue an overarching, strategic approach to political engagement with the Malian authorities. They also emphasized avenues through which the mission can improve its collaboration with national stakeholders and international partners to address the protection of civilians, human rights, justice, and service-delivery issues, which are central to a people-centered approach to peacebuilding and stabilization.