Mali on the brink - Insights from local peacebuilders on the causes of violent conflict and the prospects for peace (July 2018)


Executive Summary

Mali is facing an escalating violent conflict that has spread from the peripheral Sahel regions in the far northwest to the centre of the country. In 2018, the country is faced with a situation where violence is more intense and widespread than during the widely publicised 2012–2013 crisis.

Mali is not experiencing a civil war in the conventional sense but a complex, multidimensional security crisis of interlinked micro-conflicts.

Communities are fragmenting into competing armed factions and mass atrocities are becoming commonplace. In 2013, international military intervention took place, followed by a democratic transition. Yet, five years on, the presidential election due on 29 July, poses a short-term risk to political stability, as well as a long-term opportunity to rebuild the Malian state and society.

Peace Direct began working in Mali in late 2017, in collaboration with the national office of the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP).
With over 500 member organisations across West Africa, WANEP is well placed to increase coordination between local civil society and women led organisations in the region. Peace Direct will be supporting WANEP in its aims to increase the sense of security and social cohesion among communities, through enhanced capacity and coordination of local civil society organisations.

This report presents the findings of Peace Direct’s first Peace Exchange workshop in Bamako, a practitioner led conflict analysis workshop, (subsequently referred to as ‘Peace Exchange’), bringing together 20 representatives from grassroots peacebuilding organisations from across Mali to discuss the drivers of violent conflict, opportunities and challenges. It also draws on results from a qualitative survey that was distributed to participant organisations to share among their respective local peacebuilding networks across Mali, as well as three in-depth interviews with participants from the Peace Exchange. In addition, the report refers to quantitative data from the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project Database to present a bottom-up picture of the challenges Mali’s people and communities face in building a safe and dignified future.