DCAFProject › Advisory support to the Government of Mali on SSR

Advisory support to the Government of Mali on SSR

Since 2014, DCAF has supported Malian stakeholders in establishing an inclusive SSR process reinforced by robust SSG mechanisms. Through a multi-stakeholder approach, DCAF’s engagement strategy combines strategic advice to senior level decision-makers, with planning and operational support to selected security institutions, and capacity building of civil society organisations and independent oversight institutions. To date, DCAF has contributed to the following outcomes:

1. Establishment of an effective coordination mechanism which clarifies the role of different partners in the SSR process

With DCAF’s support, the Groupe Pluridisciplinaire de Reflexion sur la Réforme du Secteur de la Securité (GPRS) issued a final report proposing a national vision for SSR, an institutional structure for the steering and coordination of the SSR process and a strategy for resource mobilisation. The proposed institutional structure was accepted by the adoption of a decree, to which DCAF also provided input, creating a national steering committee on SSR (CNRSS) and sectoral committees derived therefrom.

The mandate of the National Council on SSR (Conseil National pour la RSS, or CNRSS) is to coordinate the SSR efforts of all national and international stakeholders in Mali. DCAF provided expert advice in the development of the August 2014 presidential decree which created the CNRSS, with the mandate to coordinate an inclusive and participatory SSR process. The decree, complemented by a second decree appointing a CNRSS coordinator, confirmed the commitment of the Presidency to SSR and laid the groundwork for reform at the ministerial and institutional levels.

The Sectorial Committee on SSR of the Ministry of Security and Civil Protection, created by ministerial decree in May 2015, is mandated to lead the design and implementation of reforms concerning the Ministry of Security and Civil Protection. DCAF supported the establishment of this committee and provided support to the development of a complementary ministerial decree appointing the members of this Committee in June 2015. DCAF’s advice contributed to making the membership of the sectorial committee more inclusive, especially by opening it up to civil society representation, including representation of women’s organisations.

DCAF’s activities contributed to strengthening the capacity of these two bodies to effectively fulfil their mandate, by mentoring key leaders, providing technical advice, delivering tailored training and sharing knowledge products that provide practical guidance on SSR. 

2. Improvement of collaboration with oversight bodies

DCAF worked to open channels of communication between the security establishment and democratic oversight bodies, such as the Parliament, the National Human Rights Commission and civil society organisations. As an integral part of its working methodology, DCAF created space for discussion and mutual engagement between representatives of security institutions and representatives of the population, raising and facilitating a conversation about how to build mutual trust and collaborate on security. Direct outcomes of this engagement were:

  1. membership of civil society, including women’s organisations, in formal coordination mechanisms such as the Sectorial Committee on SSR of the Ministry of Security and Civil Protection;
  2. improved communication between security institutions and civil society and increased awareness of leading civil society organisations of their public oversight role; and
  3. more streamlined communication between security institution and the Parliament.

3. Improvement of sectoral resource management systems

DCAF’s work contributed towards better resource management through the facilitation of a strategic and operational planning process in the Ministry of Security and Civil Protection. DCAF also contributed to enhancing the capacity for effective management of partner resources by the Ministry of Security.

4. Strengthened assessment of reform needs, through collection and analysis of baseline data

Through participatory research and analysis, DCAF’s work contributed to creating and systematically documenting baselines to inform reforms. Data was collected and analysed through consultative processes, providing partner institutions and organisations with learning opportunities and new skills and capacities.

  1. An institutional analysis of the Inspectorate of the Gendarmerie provided a detailed snapshot of the strengths and weaknesses of the Inspectorate and suggested concrete recommendations of reforms to address to improve its performance.
  2. A similar institutional analysis of the Inspectorate General of Security Services focused on the internal oversight and accountability mechanisms of the unit, whose mandate covers the whole of the Ministry of Security. It also provides recommendations for reform to address how the Inspectorate can be improved.
  3. A published compilation of all legislation governing interior security, conducted at the request of the Ministry of Security and Civil Protection, responded to a need for a better overview of existing legislation and offers a factual baseline for a comprehensive review of the legal framework in which interior security services operate, so that gaps, inconsistencies or other legal limitations can be addressed from the outset of the reforms.
  4. Finally, a survey on gender and the security sector in Mali focused specifically on five institutions: the National Police, Civil Protection, the Armed and Security Forces, the justice system, and penal services. The aim was to systematically document the degree to which the security sector integrates gender equality within each institution, while strengthening the capacity of each institution on their knowledge of gender. This baseline was also provided to the Malian government and the relevant institutions to ensure that gender equality is an integral part of the reform process.

On the whole, DCAF’s engagement in Mali in the past few years has contributed to strengthening the capacity of key Malian officials in working collaboratively on SSR, both within their institutions and with the public, based on a common understanding of the basic principles of good security sector governance.