In each of the past four years, the number of civilians killed in Mali has exceeded the previous year’s death toll, and this alarming trend is largely the result of the relentless growth and spread of intercommunal violence across central Mali. An effective early warning and rapid response (EW/RR) system is absolutely essential for the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) to have any hope of being able to intervene decisively to protect civilians facing severe threats of violence, and recognizing this need the Mission began developing formal procedures for how its EW/RR system should operate. Following many months of internal consultations, MINUSMA’s Early Warning and Rapid Response Standard Operating Procedures were signed into effect on June 15, 2020.

CIVIC’s policy brief, “Early Warning and Rapid Response: Reinforcing MINUSMA’s Ability to Protect Civilians”, explores two core questions: Why did MINUSMA develop formal EW/RR procedures? And how are these new procedures intended to improve the effectiveness of MINUSMA’s EW/RR response system? Based on interviews with 140 individual stakeholders, we delve into these questions and offer several recommendations for how MINUSMA can ensure the formalized system has the best chance of succeeding.