On Wednesday, 26 August 2020, 59 women leaders from Mali, representatives from Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU) Commission convened the High-level Consultation on Mediation Efforts by Malian Women Leaders to End the Socio-political Crisis. The office of the Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security asked that centres of excellence be a part of the solidarity virtual mission with the women of Mali to hear their political assessment of the situation in the country and to hear what their needs are. The objective of the consultation was to adopt a road map and plan the next steps going forward.
The two-hour consultation began with remarks from Ms. Mbaranga Gasarabwe, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations in Mali, Resident Coordinator; Ms. Finda Koroma, Vice-President of ECOWAS Commission; Ambassador Minata Samate-Cessouma, Commissioner for Political Affairs, African Union Commission; Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under-Secretary General of the United Nations, Executive Director UN Women; Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations; and H.E. Ms. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Former President of the Republic of Liberia, Honorary President of Africa Women Leaders Network (AWLN). Other speakers included; Ms. Bineta Diop, Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security of the President of the African Union Commission; Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa, Assistant Administrator and Director of UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa; and H.E. Ambassador Medina Wesseh, Secretary General, Mano River Union.
As part of the high-level consultation, Malian women leaders presented on the current situation in the country, their ongoing mediation efforts, the actions they have taken and plan to take, as well as what their expectations are. The need for great involvement of women was recognised in order to bring an end to the conflict and establishing short, medium and long term solutions to the crisis. ECOWAS has expressed their desire to play a leading role in resolving the multidimensional crisis in Mali. In addition, other partners have also expressed their desire to support the women of Mali.
In listening to the needs of the Malian women, ACCORD shared that it heard the need for resources; the need for capacity building and conflict analysis; and the need for solidarity and support of women and institutions across Africa. ACCORD confirmed that it heard the asks. And while the Malian women discuss and reach a clearer perspective of their wants, ACCORD can confirm that it will be in a position to provide capacity building research, conflict analysis and strategy design.
The high-level consultation congratulated women in Mali for the role they have played thus far and the leadership they have exhibited, while also calling on all women in Mali to work together in order to establish greater cohesion. Calls were also made for Malian stakeholders to include women in the negotiating process and take women’s views into account. The involvement of young people, both men and women, so that they may contribute to long-lasting peace was also called for. In addition, a call was also made for the strengthening of mechanisms for the protection of women’s rights, through humanitarian support as well as for protection against gender-based violence. Commitments were also made to mobilise resources such as technology, financial resources, COVID-19 protection and in capacity building in the area of social cohesion. Finally, the commitment to support Malian women during the crisis was re-enforced.