Mali: Population in need await the benefits of peace
(Bamako / Dakar, January 22, 2015) – During his mission in Mali from 18 – 22 January, the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel, Toby Lanzer, witnessed progress made and persisting challenges regarding security and access to basic services for communities affected by the crisis. In the North of the country and in Bamako, RHC Lanzer met with members of the Government, local authorities, civil society organizations and humanitarian partners. He also visited Gao and Kidal to meet people affected by the crisis and visit aid projects.
“Important progress has been made; schools have reopened and access to safe water and essential healthcare has improved", he noted. “However the continued redeployment of State authorities is essential if we are to consolidate existing gains and strengthen the much needed recovery and resilience work with the support of humanitarian and development partners”, he added. During his visit, Lanzer noted significant improvement as a result from the return of some administration personnel and relief work. However, progress is less significant in areas where persisting insecurity prevails, hampering aid and maintaining local communities in high levels of vulnerability and precarious conditions.
Mr. Lanzer’s mission took place just after the Humanitarian Coordinator for Mali, Ms. Mbaranga Gasarabwe, completed a tour in Northern Mali, including Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal, to assess the needs and the challenges on the ground, as well as the context in the which humanitarian actors are operating.
"The signature of the Peace Agreement and its implementation by all parties should allow for broader humanitarian access to meet people’s urgent needs, as well as working with authorities to strengthen communities’ self-reliance and autonomy", said Mrs. Gasarabwe. “During the coming months, expected improvements in the security situation will be essential to ensure populations’ access to basic services", she added.
Through concerted efforts, humanitarian actors in the country assisted over a million and a half people last year. Water distribution and electricity systems in the main urban centres were rehabilitated with the support of partners from the stabilization sector. However, significant needs remain, notably to ensure access to water in rural areas and Kidal, and avoid a deterioration of public health and livestock’s conditions. Support for the next planting season is also essential to safeguard the food security of households.
"The youth, women and community leaders I met, all, have a vision for the future of their society; and they want to be part of its shaping. Mali is at a turning point in its history and the authorities must remain fully committed to seizing this opportunity. At the same time, the international community must maintain and scale up its support to enable people to realize their expectation for peace, justice and development", Lanzer added.
The humanitarian response plan for Mali - partnering UN agencies and NGOs - calls for US$ 354 million this year and includes a crucial component aimed at building the resilience capacity of communities.
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