I. Political Context
Situated in the western part of the Sahara, Mali spans over an area of 1.2 million km², which represents roughly the size of South Africa or more than twice the size of France. It is a landlocked country with a total borderline of 7,243 km: Algeria to the north (1,376 km), Niger to the east (821 km), Burkina Faso (1,000 km) and Côte d'Ivoire (532 km) to the south, Guinea to the south‐west (858 km), and Senegal (419 km) and Mauritania (2,237 km) to the west. The country held peaceful legislative and presidential elections in April and July 2007 respectively. Similarly to other states in the Sahelo‐Saharan belt, the country faces major challenges with regards to the persistence of rebel groups, illicit trafficking, the circulation of small arms and the presence of terrorist organizations. It is unanimously acknowledged that terrorism, banditry, trafficking of all kinds, rebel movements and irregular migration are characteristic problems in the Sahel, an area difficult to control for various reasons. Although the Bamako Ministerial Conference on Security, held in November 2008, and the peace process engaged by the Malian Government in the northern part of the country may inspire hope, serious concerns regarding the capacities of security services and the judicial administration remain.
Evidence suggests that Mali might currently represent one of the main gateways to West Africa for drug traffickers. The discovery of the wreckage of a Boeing cargo plane in the desert, which was suspected to have carried a multi‐ton cocaine shipment from Latin America in November 2009, was an alarming incident. Overall, Mali is situated at the crossroads of numerous smuggling routes, such as for drugs, arms, cigarettes, irregular migrants or victims of human trafficking. Continuous support to the country is key in the context of combating all forms of trafficking and organized crime in West Africa.
II. Programme Objectives and Planned Duration
Based on the situation assessment conducted in February 2008 and taking into account the ECOWAS Regional Action Plan to address the growing problem of illicit drug trafficking, organized crime and drug abuse in West Africa as well as the ECOWAS Political Declaration on the Prevention of drug Abuse, Illicit Drug Trafficking and Organized Crimes in West Africa, the National Integrated Programme for Mali has three principle objectives:
Strengthen the proactive crime control capacity of law enforcement agencies;
Strengthen the capacity of the state in deterring transnational criminal ventures by reducing their potential financial benefits; and
Strengthen the national capabilities in controlling and minimizing the spread of drug consumption, and subsequently in reducing its incidence in terms of propensity to unsocial and criminal behaviors.
Mali's NIP covers the period 2010 - 2014. It was discussed with the Ministry of Justice and approved by the Minister in 2009. Focal points for implementation are the Ministry of Justice and the Interministerial Drug Committee, which was recently reassigned from the Ministry of Internal Security and Civil Protection to the Ministry of Justice.
III. Main Outputs
Mali's NIP addresses all four Sub‐Programmes presented in the Regional Programme for West Africa. The main outputs of the National Integrated Programme are listed below.
a) Awareness and Research
Assessment of the drug abuse situation and the responses that are provided to the drug abuse problem by existing structures is initiated;
b) Drug Prevention and Health
Re‐establishment of the National Drug Control Committee including a Drug Abuse Department or at least a DDR focal point is initiated;
Implementation of a Drug Demand Reduction Action Plan is undertaken;
Regional coordination regarding drug demand reduction activities is supported;
Support to the implementation of the recommendations from the Regional Consultation on HIV is provided.
c) Organized Crime, Illicit Trafficking and Terrorism
Intelligence capacities of security agencies to address transnational organized crime are improved and a National Intelligence Coordination Centre is established;
Capabilities of security agencies to investigate transnational organized crime and serious crimes are improved through training, the establishment of a forensic laboratory, a national criminal registry and a national fingerprint database;
The capacity of security agencies to address trafficking and smuggling is enhanced through the establishment of joint anti‐trafficking units at airports, inland container terminals and major border crossings, as well as through training in risk profiling and search techniques;
The capability of the Brigade des Stupéfiants to investigate drug trafficking at national level is improved by upgrading its infrastructure and providing equipment and training;
The capacity of the Laboratoire National de la Santé to analyse illicit drugs is improved;
Security agencies' capacity to effectively patrol the territory is improved by providing logistical and communications support, ground positioning systems, visual equipment, etc.;
Law N°01‐078 of 18 July 2001 on drug and precursor control is revised and recommendations are drafted for the law to provide for urgent destruction of seized drugs and the use of confiscated valuables in the fight against drug trafficking;
Financial intelligence agencies' capacity to collate information, analyse and disseminate intelligence for investigating financial crimes is enhanced through the provision of equipment and technical training. This is aimed at fostering efficient subsequent prosecution by the judicial system (including the Pôle Economique et Financier);
Operational skills are enhanced and awareness is raised amongst key actors involved in investigations on money‐laundering, corruption and related financial offences, through the delivery of conceptual and technical training and the implementation of national campaigns;
International cooperation in financial crimes investigations is facilitated to promote successful operational collaboration and peer‐to‐peer learning.
d) Justice and Integrity
Corruption within law enforcement agencies is reduced through training, public awareness raising campaigns, the reinforcement of internal oversight units and thorough vetting in the recruitment process;
The legal and institutional frameworks aimed at fighting money‐laundering, the financing of terrorism and corruption are assessed, and legal advice is provided where necessary. Legislative provisions in line with relevant international standards are enacted and implemented.
Mitigating and Risk Factors:
As regards to the main risks besides possible increased violence in the north of the country, they relate mainly to political commitment and operational engagement. Concerning the former, although the NIP was approved by the Minister of Justice and bilateral discussions with the President reaffirmed the official commitment to the objectives of the programme, the NIP includes a set of legislative changes that are critical to other activities. Full support from the Ministry of Justice and involvement of other Ministries will therefore be very important. Since technical assistance programmes require the full commitment of the beneficiary agency(ies), lack of engagement and political will could jeopardize the results sought.
IV. Monitoring and Evaluation
National coordination of the NIP is ensured by a Programme Steering Committee (PSC) chaired by the Ministry of Justice. Its main tasks are to define the implementation strategy and to approve the annual work plans. It will be composed of representatives from all national stakeholders (i.e.Ministries and independent administrative authorities), donors and UNODC. Operational coordination will be entrusted to a Management Committee whose task is to ensure efficiency during implementation, explore possible synergies, and develop corrective measures where necessary. It is composed of the national focal points of all direct beneficiaries of the
programme, donors, and UNODC. In order to ensure appropriate support to the NIP, UNODC has opened a Programme Office in Bamako which currently consists of one international coordinator supported by two other staff members. Premises were provided by the national authorities.
Finally, the first phase of the programme will receive two evaluations, one at mid‐term and a second one at the end. Evaluations will be conducted by external experts following modalities jointly agreed upon by the national authorities, UNODC and the donor community. This mechanism complements the role of the PSC, which is to monitor progress.
V. Funding Situation
Following the approval of the NIP by the Malian authorities, UNODC has received support from Austria, Luxemburg, Denmark and Italy. This allowed for the design of the first phase of the NIP which is estimated at US$ 3.6 million. This initial phase is programmed to last three years and was officially launched by the UNODC Executive Director in February 2010. The overall cost of the programme being US$ 8 million, UNODC will continue to mobilize Mali's technical and financial partners towards increased support regarding the remaining US$ 4.4 million. In this regard, the results obtained by the first phase will prove to be critical for the full financing of the programme.