Mali Independent Observer Releases New Report on Implementation of the Peace Agreement

(Read the report)

(En français)

BAMAKO, MALI (Sept. 23, 2019) — Despite recent progress in the demobilization of combatants from former armed groups, foot-dragging and lack of support from decision-makers is significantly delaying the implementation of Mali’s 2015 peace agreement, according to a new Carter Center report.

The report from The Carter Center, which serves as the Independent Observer of the 2015 Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali, highlights some positive steps taken between April and August: In June, the National Assembly adopted new laws on national reconciliation and created the Northern Region Development Zone. In August, about 1,000 former combatants of the Coordination of Azawad Movements and the Platform were integrated into the national defense and security forces, though they have yet to be deployed.

But the report also highlights the parties’ delaying tactics in the accelerated demobilization, disarmament, and reintegration (DDR) process, as well as the standstill in constitutional reform. The planned constitutional referendum in June did not occur, and the Inclusive Political Dialogue, the process designed to increase support for constitutional reform, will have to be completed before the reform process restarts. In July, the burning of the Malian flag in Kidal further contributed to declining trust among the signatories of the agreement and further set back the return of government-provided social services to the town.

In this report, the Independent Observer evaluates the signatories’ commitments to support economic development in northern Mali. It finds that the results of the government’s development plans, as well as of the Specific Strategy for the Development of the Northern Regions, remain unclear. In the absence of government budgets earmarked for northern development, the Independent Observer found it impossible to track spending on specific projects called for in the agreement.

Further, the new Malian institutions that were supposed to support development in the north are not operating. The development zone’s management team and work plan are not yet complete. Sharp differences between the signatories remain over the leadership and operations of the Sustainable Development Fund, which was to serve as a key pillar of development in the north.

The report notes that international donors largely fulfilled the $3.5 billion in financial pledges made at the 2015 Paris Conference. The amount pledged, however, was in large part for already identified projects rather than new, additional funding specifically linked to the agreement. Overall, the absence of economic development since 2015 contributes to the public’s growing skepticism of the agreement.

The Independent Observer recommends several steps to speed implementation, including that the government, along with international partners, publish an up-to-date report on the spending of the international pledges made in support of the agreement. The signatories should also rapidly launch the newly created development zone and resolve their dispute over the Fund for Sustainable Development.

In addition, the Observer recommends that the U.N. Security Council and the African Union’s Peace and Security Council encourage top-level decision-makers to demonstrate greater leadership in the implementation process. For the first time since beginning its mandate, the Independent Observer also recommends that the international community consider imposing disincentives and sanctions against leaders if they continue to use stalling tactics to delay the DDR process.

The report finds that significant obstacles to implementation of the agreement and to sustainable peace in Mali remain. Without more resolute action by the leaders of the government, the CMA, and the Platform, implementation will continue to be characterized by chronic delays and foot-dragging, which poses risks to Mali and the region.

Full Report (PDF): English | En français

Background: The Carter Center was designated as the Independent Observer in late 2017. According to Article 63 of the 2015 agreement, the Independent Observer’s job is to impartially identify blockages in the implementation process and recommend steps for enhancing implementation. The Center’s role as the Independent Observer was recognized by the United Nations Security Council in resolutions 2391 (December 2017), 2423 (June 2018), and 2480 (June 2019). This report, intended for the Malian parties, the international community, and the public, is the fifth from the Independent Observer. Between today and the next report, The Carter Center will continue to be in contact with stakeholders in order to support the implementation of the agreement and sustainable peace in Mali.


Mali - L'Observateur indépendant publie un nouveau rapport sur la mise en œuvre de l'Accord

Observations sur la mise en œuvre de l’Accord pour la paix et la réconciliation au Mali, issu du processus d’Alger (PDF) »


Contact: In Atlanta, Soyia Ellison,
In Bamako, Laurence Barros,

Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope.
A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in over 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.