17 October 2017

Mali faces multiple and interconnected governance and security challenges. The political and security situation has been particularly volatile in recent years. In 2012 a separatist rebellion spearheded by the Tuareg Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) caused great upheaval in northern Mali. Despite the signing of a peace agreement in 2015, many of the underlying grievances and tensions, and drivers of conflict remain. The arid north of Mali, home to mostly Tuareg and pastoral groups, is also a climate vulnerability hotspot, experiencing severe droughts and desertification.

Mali has a long-standing tradition of local resource conflicts between farmers and herders related to patterns of movement among nomadic and pastoral groups. Some Malians are agro-pastoralists whose livelihoods combine farming and herding. A large proportion of Malians - 80 per cent - rely upon rain-fed agriculture. Climate change, in the form of higher temperatures, increased rainfall variability, desertification and extreme weather events, is increasingly threatening agricultural production and livestock keeping. This is in turn is affecting Mali’s food security, along with other factors such as armed rebellion and political insecurity.

Pressures on land and water are increasing, along with conflicts associated with it. Land use conflicts in Mali between herders and farmers stem from disputed access to and control over land and water resources. Environmental degradation, climate change, agricultural and economic development policies are increasing the conflict risk between different natural resource use groups in terms of their access to water for livestock and farming.

While some risk assessments for Mali do analyze the multiple political, security, environmental and climate risks and threat these interconnections together, policy and programmatic responses rely on traditional approaches that posit development responses as separate to climate change programming, and as separate to peacebuilding efforts. Responses to natural resource conflicts, food insecurity, and climate change adaptation rarely address these interlinked risks through joined up programming.

International Alert together with the Netherlands Embassy in Mali are organizing a workshop in Bamako to bring stakeholders from the climate change, natural resource management, security and development sector together. Participants will discuss and analyze the compound risks of the climate change – natural resource – security nexus in Mali. The workshop will ask participants to identify and explore what different policies and programmatic approaches currently exist to address climate-security risks in Mali (peacebuilding approaches, development programming, climate change adaptation), what the institutional blockages are, what good practice exists and what is needed to develop more effective and joined up responses. Outcomes will be used to inform the Mali workshop at the Planetary Security Conference of 2017.

Please contact Jessica Hartog from International Alert if you are interested to learn more about the workshop: jhartog@international-alert.org