22 March 2023

Water resources in Mali’s Inner Niger Delta: Actions to promote peaceful governance

The Inner Niger Delta is home to over two million people working in agriculture, livestock herding, and fishing. People depend on the water from the Delta for food security, livelihoods and daily life.

Climatic stressors like drought, the associated decline in rainfall and increased flooding negatively affect already vulnerable communities, and current predictions show the situation will worsen for future generations.

Over the past three decades, the area has seen violent conflicts resulting in serious injury and death, often caused by disputes over land, pastures, and fisheries. Ineffective and discriminatory water governance threatens human security and is a catalyst for conflict. 

The policy brief summarizes how increased water stress affects people’s livelihoods and its consequences for social relations in the Inner Niger Delta. It analyses traditional and modern mechanisms for managing water-related conflicts and their limitations and takes a critical look at the alternative societal models presented to communities by armed groups. The brief provides decision-makers with information about the challenges of water resource management and offers recommendations on concrete action to promote the peaceful governance of water resources in the Delta.


This policy brief was originally published by International Alert, in collaboration with the Water, Peace, and Security partnership, and can be found here.

Authored by Abdoulkadri Oumarou Toure, with contributions of Svenja Wolter, Audrey Legat, Ely Cissouma and Beteo Zongo.

Photo credit: Flickr/ILRI