Workshop in Bamako, Mali

On 8-10 November, EUNPACK held a workshop in Bamako, Mali. In this workshop, Morten Bøås and Silje Skøien from NUPI met with the ARGA team led by Abdoul Wahab Cisse and Ambroise Dakouo for two days of discussions about the implementation of the field work in Mali. Among the items discussed was the question what sectors we should target in this case. We decided to focus on the EU's support to Security Sector Reform through the EUTM and the EU's approach to rule of law programmes in Mali. Both are sectors of crucial importance as the political environment in Mali is tense and the security situation is fragile.

Unfortunately, Mali is not moving in the right direction. In the northern part of the country, insurgencies are still active; rebels have taken control of territory as well as people in certain places. Conflict has also materialised in Central Mali, particularly in the Mopti region. Here, just 450 kilometres from the capital Bamako, a series of local land rights disputes between semi-nomadic Fulani populations and sedentary farmers have been appropriated by the Salafi insurgency Macina Liberaton Front that recruits among young Fulani men. This insurgency is associated with Ansar ed-Dine (a mainly Tuareg Salafi insurgency) that operates in Northern Mali. 

It is the view of the researchers who took part in the Bamako workshop that these recent events only underscore the need to facilitate a conflict-sensitive approach by key international stakeholders such as the EU. This is the best way to tackle the gaps of intention/implementation and perception/reception identified in EUNPACK as gaps that must be reduced if an external crisis response is to be both legitimate and effective.