Mali: Analysis of conflicts over natural resources, Summary



This study, carried out in Mali, is part of the implementation of the regional project entitled “Renforcer la résilience des populations pastorales et agropastorales transfrontalières dans les zones prioritaires du Sahel” (“Strengthening the resilience of cross-border pastoral and agropastoral populations in priority areas of the Sahel”). Initiated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), it aims to contribute to the resilience of cross-border pastoral and agropastoral populations in priority areas in the Sahel (defined by the G5 Sahel) to prevent and mitigate the impact of agro-climate and security risks on food security through innovative and structuring activities.

In general, the research carried out by the team at the local level aimed to highlight the issues that would allow to understand the dynamics of the conflicts over natural resources and to assess the legitimacy and effectiveness of the different types of mechanisms for managing these conflicts in Mali, mainly in the three regions of the project intervention area (Mopti, Gao and Menaka).

Mali is one of the poorest countries in West Africa. Its gross national product per capita is estimated at USD 671, ranking 182nd on the 2018 Human Development Index of the United Nations Development Programme. In 2015, its population was estimated at 18.14 million, with a density of 12.8 inhabitants per km². Its population is young, with a large percentage (54.9 percent) living in rural areas. The agriculture sector is the main employer of the active population, at 72.9 percent.

Due to the economic dominance of the primary sector, Mali is extremely dependent on natural resources and also vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. In addition, the deterioration of ecosystems has strongly affected rural populations, resulting in a very poor performance in environmental governance. Gender inequalities are present at all social levels and help create or exacerbate tensions between different social groups. In addition to the marked social tensions, the security situation in Mali is precarious due to the presence of non-state armed groups, which, since 2012, have paralyzed economic activities in the north of the country. It should also be noted that insecurity has gained ground in the Inner Delta (Mopti region).

Based on this complex situation, the study made it possible to take stock of the current situation regarding conflicts over natural resources in the project intervention area. It also carried out an accurate analysis of the conflict situation, which made it possible to establish a framework of action. This framework incorporates proposals to improve the effectiveness of conflict prevention mechanisms, recommendations for the design and implementation of projects integrating this issue, as well as proposals related to the structure and content of a training and learning module on conflict prevention.

This report summarizes the main findings of the study conducted in Mali. After a recapitulation of the methodological guidelines for the research approach, this summary emphasizes the salient elements of the analysis. These include the current conflict situation, the typology, causes and drivers of conflicts, the mapping of stakeholders, and the impacts and strategies of conflict management. Finally, the recommendations that emerged from the study will be presented as well as those aimed to better take into account conflict situations in the project results framework.