On the sidelines of the 4th International Conference on Global Security held in The Hague in the Netherlands, from February 19 to 20, some Malian experts and other experts from the Sahel reflected on the prevailing situation in the area to make recommendations.
Mali is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. Resources are becoming scarce, poverty is increasing and insecurity is aggravating the food situation, particularly in central Mali. People are sometimes forced to move because of drought or floods.
It is impossible to dissociate security, climate and conflict according to Ms. Mbaranga Gasarabwe, Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for MINUSMA. “There is more and more drought that lasts a long time. Last year, there was not only drought but also floods that led to many displaced people, whom we can call “climate affected displaced people”. Today, we’re going from 30,000 to 120,000 displaced, and when they move, where do they go? Among them, there are also shepherds who have to move with their flocks. There are almost no transhumance corridors at any level, so this whole mix creates conflicts with farmers”, she explained.
The population is swelling, youth don’t have jobs, natural resources are shrinking, people are displaced, we have to invest in communities, resilience, humanity to manage the grave threats posed by climate change @MbarangaUN #Doable
— Camilla Born (@camillaborn) 19 février 2019
Hamidou Oumarou, is from central Mali and participated in the conference to advocate on behalf of the people of the center. According to him, the State and its technical and financial partners must involve the inhabitants in the development of projects. “Local people today need to make their voices heard. Initiatives and projects for the region are funded to the tune of several million but do not often meet the expectations of the people. It is important that the base be consulted to know their real needs before intervening”.
For the Ambassador of the Netherlands in Mali, who also took part in the discussions, “the pressure linked to natural resources has a direct link with the conflicts and development. It is now time to discuss what are the elements for sustainable development to avoid conflict”.
Several panels focused on Mali. These are conflicts linked to resources in different parts of the country, security, climate and development, how to bring peace to the Sahel. For some experts, it is necessary to have a technological approach through the use of Big Data, to have real data on the areas concerned to better understand the realities on the ground. Others favor conceptualized tools to enable appropriate water management, which they say is the key element.
Emergency plan for vulnerable countries
The State of Mali has a national climate change policy dating back to 2011 and has ratified several international agreements and treaties on environmental issues, said Drissa Doumbia, head of the sustainable development department and focal point of the Paris climate agreement at the Ministry of the Environment. “Today we are thinking about integrated programs for food security, energy development and water resources to move towards successful adaptation to climate change”, he said.
About 350 participants from 50 countries around the world discussed and reflected on climate and security issues during this 4th International Conference on Global Security. For the recommendations, emergency plans will be elaborated for their rapid implementation in the most affected areas such as Mali, Iraq, Lake Chad and the Caribbean Islands.