The humanitarian response, linking relief to rehabilitation and development, and reconciliation

woensdag, mei 15, 2013

The Conference "Together for a New Mali" brought together in Brussels 108 delegations as well as representatives of local governments, civil society, diaspora, women and the private sector.

A total pledge of € 3.285 billion has been raised during the Conference, from 56 bilateral and multilateral donors. This conference also helped identify critical areas in particular for actions in governance, decentralisation, public financial management and economic recovery.

The table below summarises by countries and organisations the pledges made in Brussels, which have since then been verified.

The various quantitative and qualitative commitments, made ​​by Mali and its partners, call for a strict monitoring, in line with to the co-chairs conclusions [1], which have placed the principles of transparency and mutual accountability at the heart of the exercise.

According to the conclusions of the conference [2], the co-chairs are developing monitoring mechanisms for the Brussels Conference, which will be implemented at local and international level. Their objective is to ensure the implementation of reforms of the Malian state driven by the Plan for the sustainable recovery of Mali (PRED) 2013-2014. They will also take into account the conclusions of the co-chairs as well as the compliance of partners’ pledges in order to commit and disburse in a timely way, and the coordination of the responses to the PRED’s needs. The principle of ownership of these mechanisms by the Malian authorities must be at the heart of this process.

In terms of displacement, there are still 300,000 IDPs, and 174,000 refugees in Mali. The overwhelming majority of these were displaced before January 2013. Many of the displaced people live in precarious conditions (as I saw when I was in Bamako a few months ago). For now, only 14,000 are estimated to have returned to the North. A widespread perception of insecurity prevents many from returning to their homes. In addition they are prevented from returning by a lack of basic services, beyond those provided by humanitarian actors. This brings us to my second point

2. Basic services / transition from relief to development:

It is crucial that we make a concerted effort to help Mali restore basic services in the North. These services are needed to enable humanitarian actors to phase out as soon as possible. As I mentioned earlier, they are also needed to ensure that people will return. There are many challenges to overcome: damage to public buildings in the North; the absence of most civil servants; lack of capacity.

Today, we are talking mainly about long-term recovery. But that long road to recovery starts with small practical steps to get basic services up and running. Fortunately there is now a process in Bamako to address this, in the form of the Commission on Rehabilitation, under the leadership of the government. And for the EU, I am pleased to say that with my colleague Andris Piebalgs, we have just mobilized a € 23 m package from the EDF for basic services – social safety nets; health; water; and education.

3. Reconciliation:

But there is another crucial condition that will need to be fulfilled if returns are to be viable – and sustainable: that is, a genuine process of reconciliation. The creation of the Reconciliation Commission is to be saluted. But this work also needs to be done at community level, not just in terms of North-South relations but also North-North. This is a process that can only be accomplished by Malians themselves. We can't expect reconciliation to happen overnight, but it is crucial if we are to see lasting returns, and sustainable development.

Thank you.

Weersverwachting Mali