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Increasing security sector accountability in Mali


Following the August 18 coup d’état that overthrew President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, the Comité National pour le Salut du Peuple (CNSP) has put in place transition authorities to address a number of security, political, and socio-economic emergencies. Transitional authorities have adopted an 18-month roadmap until February 2022 and the recent events in Bamako have not yet compromised this agenda. Institutional and political reforms, the implementation of the Algiers 2015 peace agreement, and the fight against insecurity and impunity remain essential, while an immediate focus will be on preparing the way for elections in early 2022.

The multi-dimensional governance crisis - characterised by rising insecurity, perennial mis-management of the security sector, and related impunity issues - is now set in the context of a new post-coup political reality. There is momentum among national stakeholders to better address challenges related to the integrity of defence and security forces (DSF), reinforcing strategic planning frameworks and people’s expectations in terms of security. DCAF is proud to support security institutions in improving the sector’s accountability and responsiveness.

Objectives & DCAF approach
Engaged in supporting national partners in Mali since 2014, DCAF is currently implementing a project enhancing Security Sector Governance (SSG), funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands (2017), and a multi-country project enhancing SSG in The Sahel with activities in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger

With this project, DCAF aims to:

  • support legislative and policy frameworks governing the security sector’s regulations, policies, and practices that are coherent, relevant, and in line with democratic principles and human rights
  • ensure security and defence institutions are more efficient in the management of their resources, demonstrate more professionalism and respect for the law and procedures in the provision of security services to the population
  • support the population, judiciary, and democratic institutions in the external control and democratic oversight of the security sector

To achieve this, DCAF:

  • promotes participatory and inclusive dialogue supporting the development of the Mali SSG/R normative and political framework
  • supports the development of a culture of accountability
  • enhances service delivery and information-sharing

So far our intervention has set in motion initial steps towards improving the accountability and the responsiveness of security institutions, while external oversight actors have been empowered to play a more assertive role in SSR:

  • articulation of the strategy for national policy, development of an action plan to conduct it, and support for the development of a Return Plan for the Administration and basic services in the north and centre of Mali
  • substantial support to the National Police Academy (ENP) with the production of a reference document which will equip trainers with community policing best practices - a major reform for the ENP which we are carrying on with 2021 and beyond
  • expert technical assistance to Inspection services (ISSPC) with new procedures put in pace (EAPD manual) and new skills/tools tested through inspection missions in several regions (2020)
  • 160 gender focal points recruited, trained (e.g. gender-based violence) and mentored within the Police, Gendarmerie and the Civilian Protection

We are grateful for the support of:

  • the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark
  • the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands

Key Resources

Enhancing Security Sector Accountability in Mali (EN) (FR)

Capacity building for the control of small arms and light weapons (SALW) held by security and defense forces (SDFs) of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger (EN) (FR)

POSITION PAPER (EN, 2021) - Assessing SSR opportunities and challenges during the transition (EN) (FR)

African Security Governance Index

Policy Paper: Promoting Financial Oversight - An Essential Element for Democratic Governance of the Security Sector in the Sahel by Dr. Oswald Padonou (EN) (FR)