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Wageningen University (2015)

Humanitarian arena in Mali : a case study about the coordination structure and influence of the UN integrated mission on the humanitarian arena in Mali

Willems, J.

Titre : Humanitarian arena in Mali : a case study about the coordination structure and influence of the UN integrated mission on the humanitarian arena in Mali

Auteur : Willems, J.

Université de soutenance : Wageningen University

Grade : Master of Science (MS) 2015

Résumé partiel
Mali has a long history of different natural and political crises. Several cross-border problems have fuelled the internal instability of the country. Already since the 1970’s, various NGOs and international institutes have been interfering in the country and have tried to improve governmental institutes, the level of education and healthcare. The events of 2012 – the civil war, the coup d’état and the declaration of the independent state of Azawad – formed the basis for a large-scale international intervention. Requested by the local government, the UN started the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in July 2013. The goal of this research project is to find out how the involved actors think about the coordination structure and what the influence of the United Nations Integrated Mission is on the actors already present in the humanitarian field in Mali. This research provides an insight in the coordination structure of Mali and the discourses and perceptions the different actors have on each other’s mandate, the reconstruction of the country and the humanitarian arena. Why and how have these different discourses arisen ? The following research questions is answered in this thesis : How do the different perceptions of actors in the humanitarian arena in Mali influence the coordination structure ? This study is an exploratory and descriptive research and makes use of qualitative data collection methods. During a period of four months fieldwork in Mali, 38 interviews with several employees working for the UN, NGOs, donor organisations and the National Civil Society have been conducted. The situation in Mali could be described as a ‘complex political emergency’ and fits within the worldwide War on Terror. The conflict is trans-boundary and does not have a clear beginning, it is a process of years of social change. Different armed groups try to ensure local control with the use of extreme violence ; not only against the state, but also against civilians. After the events in spring 2012 the western world and especially France and the United Nations framed the Jihadists in north Mali as an international threat ; not only for the security and stability in the West-African region, but also to Europe and the rest of the world. The current phase of reconstruction could be described as a continuous cycle of periods of stability alternated with periods of violence. Reconstruction is a process focusing on five different domains (physical, safety, politics, social and economic) that are considered equally important by the main actors. The discussions with the interviewees showed that they have different explanations for the key problems in the country, which is linked again to the different perceptions they have about the reconstruction phase, the root causes of the conflict and the formation of the humanitarian arena. The humanitarian arena is a place where the conditions and practices of aid are being framed through negotiations. Especially since the arrival of the UN Integrated Mission, the arena has changed enormously. Several NGOs decided to launch new programs and various donors released new funds. As such, the MINUSMA mission has had and still has an important influence on the composition of the humanitarian arena and the coordination structure.

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Page publiée le 1er mars 2016, mise à jour le 20 octobre 2018