The UN Security Council is expected to renew the mandate of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in June 2022. In this context, the International Peace Institute (IPI), the Stimson Center, and Security Council Report co-hosted a virtual roundtable discussion on April 19, 2022. This roundtable offered a platform for member states, UN stakeholders, civil society representatives, and independent experts to share their assessments of the situation in Mali in a frank and collaborative environment. The discussion was intended to help the Security Council make more informed decisions with respect to the prioritization and sequencing of MINUSMA’s mandate and the mission’s strategic orientation and actions on the ground.
Participants agreed that MINUSMA has an important role to play in Mali and that the mission’s mandated priorities still align with the areas where the UN can bring the most added value. But they also noted that MINUSMA alone cannot address all the critical challenges and that the mission is already spread thin across a dangerous operating environment. Given the rapidly changing dynamics in the country and throughout the Sahel region, some participants saw this as an opportunity for the UN Security Council to engage in strategic reflection about MINUSMA’s future.
Participants raised several points for consideration during the upcoming negotiations on MINUSMA’s mandate renewal:
- Focus more on the political dimensions of the mandate, including not only the governance transition but also the implementation of the 2015 peace agreement;
- Reinforce the urgency of progress on the reforms needed to undertake legitimate elections;
- Provide diplomatic support to ECOWAS in its negotiations on a consensual transition timetable;
- Work with the transitional authorities to articulate a shared vision for the protection of civilians, including through the reduction of harm to civilians by the Malian armed forces and the removal of access restrictions for mission personnel;
- Continue focusing on human rights monitoring, investigation, and reporting; and
- Urgently fill the mission’s capability gaps to meet the requirements set out in the Force Adaptation Plan as well as additional requirements following the withdrawal of Operation Barkhane and the Takuba Task Force.