Entry points and priorities for MINUSMA to address environmental and climate security in Mali

This paper proposes practical ways for the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) to operationalise parts of its mandate linked to the climate and environment, including guidance on the role of a specific environmental and climate security advisor.
An aerial view of a desert landscape
© Sam Wermut, Unsplash

In fragile states such as Mali, climate change and environmental factors may not always be direct causes of violent conflict. Yet, there is ample evidence that their cascading effects, such as livelihood insecurity and competition over natural resources, exacerbate important drivers of conflict and fragility, thereby challenging stability.

Climate change and environmental pressures are challenges that cut across borders and silos. Integrating these into UN stabilisation missions can help to better address the root causes of conflict and instability, and advance the missions’ efforts towards creating more stable, resilient and sustainable environments in their respective host countries.

Since its deployment in 2013, the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) has worked on ways to address security risks associated with the environment and the effects of climate change. The Mission also undertook efforts to green its operations and compounds. Nonetheless, environmental and climate security have not been systematically mainstreamed into the Mission’s strategies and operational frameworks. To increase its overall impact, MINUSMA should identify what additional measures and partnerships it could develop to properly plan for and address environmental and climate-related security risks.

These efforts could be facilitated through the deployment of an environmental and climate security advisor, with a similar role and responsibilities as seen in other UN missions such as the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).

This paper was developed by adelphi and built on existing research that covered environmental issues and climate security in Mali. It relies on guidance from the Climate Security Expert Network (CSEN) and on ongoing analytical work carried out by Weathering Risk. Climate change projections draw on the modelling work done by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) AGRICA Project.