Shared Security and Peace Governance. The Malian Experience

The security landscape in Mali has been for a long time marked by growing urban and suburban crimes, many community conflicts sometimes longstanding, recurrent rebellion in the North, educational crisis and demands for better working conditions which worsen the insecurity situation, etc. These scourges intensified in the 1990s due to the 2nd rebellion which engulfed Northern Mali (1990 – 1996), armed conflicts in the sub region and rising organized crime.

This situation is largely fostered by the vast nature of the national territory (1 241 328 km2) and a long border line (7240km) which is uncontrolled and shared with seven neighbouring countries. This security trend is a real threat to social peace, security of persons and properties, political stability as well as the country’s development.

In the face of this situation, a number of citizens, elected local authorities and civil society organizations have often engaged the highest authorities and sometimes in a pressing manner about their security. In such circumstances, both the authorities and citizens have been asking the same questions: how to defend themselves against all the external and internal threats facing the country? How to reconcile the need for freedom and democracy with national sovereignty obligations? How to involve all sections of the nation in the management of security issues in the country? How to integrate the security sector into the overall democratic and developmental governance to ensure a wider popular participation and a relevant democratic control? How to move away from force, opaqueness and laxity towards more standards, transparency and effectiveness?

As a way of addressing these issues, the Ministry of Internal Security and Civil Protection (MSIPC) initiated in 2005 a brainstorming on the security sector reform through a consultative process which began with local consultations and ended with a big national forum known as “the National Conference on Peace and Security in Mali”. Participants at this forum which was held from 21st to 23rd November 2005, offered an objective diagnosis of the state of security in the country and made recommendations that are likely to prevent, and if need be, combat internal and external insecurity. They proposed a new vision of security (based on human security) and a comprehensive strategy (based on prevention) to reverse the security trend at the time and move towards a new governance of security where roles and responsibilities would be shared among all stakeholders in the security sector.

This process led, among others, to the implementation of the "Programme on Shared Governance of Peace and Security (PGPSP)" and the preparation of a "National Policy Framework Document on Internal Security and Civil Protection".

This booklet deals essentially with the Malian experience which could serve as a basis for reflections and deeper and cross cutting studies in the area of security sector governance/reform and pave the way for a convergent strategy against insecurity in general and organized crime, in particular, in West Africa. The first part is dedicated some conceptual considerations, the second part describes the security context in Mali at the beginning of the security sector reform and the third part provides a summary of some modest results achieved during the implementation of the concept of shared governance of peace and security between 2008 and 2010.

Zeïni Moulaye (2011): Shared governance of peace and security. The Malian experience

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