Operation: Opération: Mali



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Key Figures

2020 year-end results
4,265 people of concern benefited from cash assistance
3,336 households were provided with safe and secured shelters
2,679 households were provided with core relief items
122 sensitization sessions on social cohesion were organized
27 classrooms were constructed and equipped
2021 planning figures
100% of returnees will see their national rights re-established
100% of people of concern will be registered on an individual basis
100% of targeted households will see their basic needs met with multi-purpose cash grants or vouchers
100% of refugees living in Mali with an intention to return home will be assisted to voluntarily repatriate
100% of identified people of concern in need of resettlement will be submitted for resettlement

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Increase in
2020 408,016
2019 275,779
2018 154,432


[["Refugees",47385],["Asylum-seekers",969],["IDPs",332957],["Returned IDPs",20473],["Returned refugees",6232]]
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2020 {"categories":[2016,2017,2018,2019,2020,2021],"budget":[49.1719132,41.007531648000004,21.59999173,17.33224968,47.60161438,57.59650997],"expenditure":[13.372276549999999,13.34678074,13.35314797,13.1037125,29.50609437,null]} {"categories":[2016,2017,2018,2019,2020,2021],"p1":[27.08867361,13.625051767999999,11.212450070000001,8.28224972,22.74166008,24.76318561],"p2":[1.06694838,0.956948,null,null,null,1.24504178],"p3":[17.77571883,25.28018688,9.26252293,7.449999490000001,9.67401685,14.53851576],"p4":[3.2405723799999997,1.145345,1.12501873,1.60000047,15.185937449999999,17.04976682]} {"categories":[2016,2017,2018,2019,2020,2021],"p1":[7.040851,5.73030234,7.1094978300000005,6.5407512400000005,12.7929932,null],"p2":[0.5756489300000001,0.75438523,null,null,null,null],"p3":[4.66259468,6.39414574,5.46708624,5.300931820000001,8.886409550000002,null],"p4":[1.09318194,0.46794743,0.7765639,1.2620294399999998,7.82669162,null]}
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  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2020
  • 2021

Operational context

Security and protection incidents increased throughout 2020, particularly in the south of the country, with double the incidents recorded compared to 2019. This led to many difficulties in terms of humanitarian access and a Level 2 emergency for Mali was declared in February 2020. By the end of the same month, the Security Council announced the renewal of MINUSMA's mandate for one year, and France increased its troop presence in the Sahel.

This situation was exacerbated, in March 2020, with the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, coinciding with legislative elections, the results of which were contested. This led to political instability, which intensified in June 2020, and ended in August, with the departure of the ruling party.
Following this period, the names of the three leaders of the transition were announced for an 18-month period, and the date of the next elections were set to March 2022.

Population trends

The growing insecurity, intercommunal violence and upsurge in military operations triggered important internal displacements in the regions of Gao and Timbuktu and in the Liptako-Gourma, the border area between Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso. By year-end, there were 407,220 forcibly displaced people in Mali, including 332,957 IDPs (representing a 60% increase compared to 2019) and 48,352 refugees (an 88% increase compared to 2019), including over 16,000 Nigerians, 15,697 Mauritanians and 12,697 Burkinabe. There were also 20,473 returned IDPs and 5,438 refugee returnees were registered in Mali, most of them forced to return due to the violence and insecurity in Burkina Faso.

Key achievements

  • Protection monitoring was strengthened, particularly in return areas, to inform UNHCR’s response.
  • Prevention and response to gender-based violence was strengthened, in line with UNHCR’s strategy, including through the implementation of mobile teams (including a three-month pilot project in Menaka and Douentza), a One Stop Centre and increased advocacy efforts.
  • UNHCR supported the Government’s response to COVID-19 by providing 2,640 COVID-19 kits to vulnerable households and donating nine ambulances to the Ministry of Health.
  • UNHCR undertook significant interventions in the area of education to facilitate access for all people of concern, through distance education, via solar radios and the construction of additional classrooms.
  • Protection and shelter needs were prioritized through UNHCR’s emergency response to new and secondary displacement.
  • Eligibility officers and border officials were trained in refugee status determination to ensure better quality services and to promote greater access to international protection.
  • A national action plan for the prevention of Statelessness was adopted by the Government. 

Unmet needs

  • UNHCR was unable to register 17,041 refugees due to financial constraints, as well as restrictions related to COVID-19 and security concerns. 
  • School infrastructure needs remained unmet in some refugee-hosting areas, despite major achievements. 
  • Conditions for promoting the voluntary return of Malian refugees were not yet favourable, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, humanitarian access, insufficiency of basic social services, and the deteriorating security situation in the Liptako-Gourma area. 
  • Child documentation remained a critical issue. 60% of registered repatriated children have not received a birth certificate to date. 
  • Durable shelter solutions and support for self-reliance activities for refugees, IDPs and returnees were also constrained. 

Use of flexible funding (unearmarked or softly earmarked funding)

Flexible funding enabled UNHCR in Mali to maintain protection and gender-based violence prevention and response activities, as well as access to basic and essential services, durable solutions, and Camp Management and Camp Coordination.
Flexible funding also allowed UNHCR to swiftly scale up its response as the needs increased with the deteriorating security situation and related forced displacement, particularly in the Liptako Gurma area, near Burkina Faso and Niger.

Working environment

In 2018 and 2019, the protection environment in Mali continued to deteriorate in the central and northern regions of the country, following the resurgence of community tensions and armed insurgencies. Daily human rights violations result in increasing internal displacement, which stood at more than 171,400 IDPs in August 2019.  UNHCR will support Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad and Mauritania in the implementation of the Conclusions of the Regional Protection and Solutions Dialogue on forced displacement in the Sahel organized by the Government of Mali, with UNHCR technical support, in Bamako in September 2019.  Representatives of the peace-humanitarian-development nexus are called to contribute to preventing further displacement, ensuring protection and finding solutions for already displaced populations in the sub-region. In Mali, UNHCR will continue providing protection and assistance to persons of concern trying to combine the humanitarian response with more long-term interventions of development partners.
The Government of Mali maintains an open-door policy towards refugees and asylum-seekers. It has ratified both the 1951 Refugee Conventions and the African Union Convention Governing Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa. The Government of Mali assumes protection responsibilities, such as registration and documentation of refugees, in close collaboration with UNHCR.
UNHCR works in partnership with a broad range of national and international NGOs, other UN agencies and relevant government ministries.

Key priorities

In 2020, in line with its multi-year, multi-partner protection and solutions strategy, the Integrated Strategic Framework, the UNSDCF and the HRP, all together with the aim of achieving the Government’s SDG priorities, UNHCR will:
  • Continue the facilitation of the informed, safe and dignified return of Malian refugees (estimated to be around 12,500 people in 2020) and their reintegration.
  • Strengthen the process of protection needs identification at registration sites of returnees to give access to civil documentation and prevent statelessness.
  • Address protection needs of registered returnees through an emphasis on advocacy and the collaboration with state institutions as well as humanitarian and development actors.
  • Strengthen protection monitoring at the borders and in the communities in order to improve the protection environment of returnees and IDP returnees.
  • Continue the process of naturalisation for refugees who have indicated their desire for local integration.
  • Support the granting of refugee status to eligible applicants.
  • Strengthen the self-reliance and protection of people of concern through socio-economic activities and access to basic rights.
  • Advocate for the alignment of national legislation with international standards for refugee, IDP and statelessness protection, and support government institutions to sustainably improve the protection and solutions environment.
  • Increase the self-reliance of refugees and their access to national services, while basic needs of the most vulnerable are responded to and comprehensive solutions are achieved. This objective focuses on the protracted refugee case load in Mali and targets the “communes” where they live.
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  • 15-OCT-2021

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