Mali: A New Development Contract: What kind of aid is needed to end the crisis?

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Mali is the third largest producer of gold in Africa and yet one in five Malians still live in extreme poverty. More than 12 months of conflict, insecurity and human rights violations have further weakened communities. The north of the country is now facing its second food crisis in less than two years, with experts predicting an emergency situation in the coming months if nothing is done. This Oxfam briefing calls for action to meet these massive humanitarian and development needs, and a new development contract to be agreed between citizens and the Malian authorities so that the latter can be held accountable for the policies they implement. Development must be informed by the needs and interests of ordinary people, who need to be much more involved in decisions that will determine their future. Donors have an important role to play, given the magnitude of aid they provide, starting with a commitment to continue providing aid for at least the next 15 years. Aid can contribute to improving governance and transparency in Mali. Donors should evaluate the impact of their aid to Mali over the past two decades and set an example with transparent aid that does not fuel conflict but rather helps to build lasting peace. The Donor Conference in Brussels on 15 May 2013 is an opportunity to set in motion a new development contract for Mali.
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  OXFAM BRIEFING NOTE 15 MAY 2013 www.oxfam.org  Kona market, 2013. Photo: Habibatou Gologo/Oxfam MALI: A NEW DEVELOPMENT CONTRACT What kind of aid is needed to end the crisis? Mali needs a comprehensive response to the problems of poverty and governance. It is the third largest producer of gold in Africa and yet one in five Malians still live in extreme poverty. The Donor Conference in Brussels on 15 May 2013 is an opportunity to set in motion a new development contract for Mali, which must first and foremost be negotiated between the Malian authorities and citizens. Development must be informed by the needs and interests of ordinary people, who need to be much more involved in decisions that will determine their future. Donors also have an important role to play, given the magnitude of aid they provide, starting with a commitment to continue providing aid for the next 15 years. Aid can also contribute to improving the governance and transparency of the Malian authorities. Donors should evaluate the impact of their aid to Mali over the past two decades and set an example with transparent aid that does not fuel conflict but rather helps to build lasting peace.  2 SUMMARY In the north of Mali, the military operation against armed groups led by French and Malian troops is still ongoing. Support is being provided by soldiers in the International Support Mission for Mali (MISMA), which will hand over to a UN Peacekeeping Mission (MINUSMA) in July 2013. Meanwhile, the interim Malian authorities have announced presidential elections and are seeking to re-establish the administration in the centre and north of the country. Donors have been called on to provide funding commitments to meet significant humanitarian needs. And many donors have already announced that they will restart their development aid. The Donor Conference for Mali comes at a critical juncture where a broad range of principles and actions need to be agreed to put the country on the path to peace and prosperity. Poverty reduction and good governance must be placed at the heart of these discussions. Even before the crisis, one in five Malians lived in extreme poverty  –  not having enough resources to meet their basic nutritional needs. The population suffers from chronic vulnerability and has faced three food crises in the last seven years. More than 12 months of conflict, insecurity and human rights violations have further weakened communities in the north. They are now facing their second food crisis in less than two years, with experts predicting an emergency situation in the coming months if nothing is done. As a result of the recurrent crises, Mali now ranks as one of the five poorest countries in the world. Development in Mali will not be achieved unless real governance reforms are implemented, starting by giving citizens and those responsible for holding the government to account a more central role. Oxfam is calling for a new development contract between citizens and the Malian authorities to be agreed so that the latter can be held accountable for the policies they implement. Through this new contact, the authorities should commit to a fairer redistribution of the revenues from extractive industries; greater transparency in the management of public policies; and effectively tackling corruption. Donors also have an important role to play in supporting this contract and should commit to providing aid for at least the next 15 years. This is the time-frame that will be needed to successfully accompany governance reforms (much more so than has taken place to date), and to tackle the root causes of poverty. Donors can also set the example by involving civil society and communities in their aid programmes, and should promote greater transparency by publishing the expected outcomes from their projects. They should also ensure that all aid is exclusively allocated on the basis of need and that programming is conflict-sensitive  –  so that aid doesn‟t  enflame the conflict, but rather directly contributes to peace-building.   3 MAIN RECOMMENDATIONS  A full set of recommendations can be found at the end of this paper. The Malian authorities must ã   reform governance to ensure greater transparency and accountability in public administration; ã   increase its domestic resources through equitable tax reforms; ã   develop action plans  for poverty reduction, human rights and transparency and accountability. Donors active in Mali must ã   evaluate the outcomes and impact of international aid to date on poverty reduction and governance; ã   coordinate aid with the Mali authorities and with civil society; particularly the conditionalities placed on budget support; ã   build capacity by dedicating at least 5 percent of budget support aid to civil society and other groups that can hold the government accountable; ã   commit more humanitarian aid to meet the immediate needs of the population; ã   increase aid flexibility, ensuring that aid modalities allow for a smooth transition from emergency aid, to reconstruction and to equitable development. Civil society must ã   improve its own governance to ensure that it can credibly and legitimately raise the voices of the most vulnerable and marginalized members of society.  The whole aid community must ã   allocate aid impartially on the basis of comprehensive needs assessments ;   ã   deliver conflict-sensitive aid, ensuring that aid „does no harm‟ ;   ã   support reconciliation through specific peace building programmes.  4 GOVERNANCE AND POVERTY AT THE HEART OF MALI ‟S  CRISIS Development challenges, poor governance, corruption and a growing perception of inequality in access to resources lie at the heart of the crisis in Mali. Beyond re-establishing security, Mali needs a comprehensive response which addresses both poverty and governance. Worrying poverty levels In Mali,  Africa‟s third largest producer of gold, one in five people still lives in extreme poverty, 1  with insufficient income to meet their basic nutritional needs. Statistics show that poverty in Mali has declined overall in the period 2001 to 2010. It is nonetheless worth looking more closely at trends in extreme poverty region by region. ã  In urban areas and in Sikasso, Mopti and Segou regions, extreme poverty has risen slightly since 2006. 2   ã  In the regions of Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal, in contrast with the situation in other regions, there has been no overall fall in extreme poverty between 2001 and 2010, but rather a 10 percent increase. 3  These figures call into question the ability of public policies, even before the current crisis, to adequately meet the needs of the poorest sections of society and leave some doubt as to whether it can provide a sustainable redistribution of the dividends of economic growth, which in 2011 stood at 5 percent. What is more, as a result of the political and security crisis and the suspension of international aid in 2012, the country dropped seven places on the 2011 Human Development Index, and Mali now ranks among the five poorest countries in the world. Chronic vulnerability The impact of climate change is being felt across the Sahel region, and is adding to the challenges already faced as a result of Mali ‟s  isolation and harsh climate. The vast majority of Mali‟s  population is rural. In 2009 as much as 20 percent of the population was affected by the drought and, became food insecure. 5  In seven years, no fewer than three food crises  –  in 2005, 2010 and 2012  –  weakened whole communities.  6   In the third largest  producer of gold in  Africa, 1 people out of 5 live in extreme poverty. In 2010, just 29% of adults could read and write. The proportion of women able to do so is half that of men. INSTAT   Climate change may  push an additional one million people under the  poverty threshold in Mali by 2050. FAO 4  
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