By Seán Smith
The United Nations Security Council is in the final stages of renewing the mandate for the peacekeeping mission in Mali, MINUSMA. As the council takes action, it should ensure that the U.N. and member states sustain their efforts to give the mission the resources – particularly critical air assets – it desperately needs to protect civilians.
In previous years, MINUSMA’s mandate remained overwhelmingly focused on supporting the implementation of the peace agreement in the country’s north, even as attacks on civilians were mounting in the central region of Mopti. That changed in June 2019, when the Security Council added a second strategic priority to the mandate that requires MINUSMA to help the authorities in Bamako reduce intercommunal violence and protect civilians in central Mali.
The addition significantly raised the importance of protecting civilians in the mission’s mandate, and over the past year, MINUSMA has taken numerous steps to carry out that responsibility. But it still faces a considerable constraint: while the mandate has expanded, the resources available to the mission have not.