On 25 February The Hague Institute, The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) and the West African Network for Peacebuilding in Mali (WANEP-Mali) convened a roundtable of international and local experts on Mali to brainstorm and exchange knowledge on designing a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework that can apply to WANEP’s human security strategy as well to other peace interventions in Mali. The event focused on how local actors in Mali can track the progress of development and human security.
In his opening remarks, Dr. David Connolly, the Head of the Conflict Prevention Program at The Hague Institute and project director, emphasized the need to develop an M&E framework to ‘’capture the experiences of civil society organizations in Mali’’. Following this, partners from WANEP-Mali provided an overview their project on human security in Mali which aims to complement the military interventions with inclusive dialogue towards a political transition and stabilization of the South and the North of Mali. They argued that a human security strategy must be built on a participatory approach that involves local communities as well as local authorities. Furthermore, they highlighted the importance of addressing several dimensions of insecurities in parallel such as health, personal, economic and political security. In addition, Mr. Mahamady Togola , national coordinator of WANEP-Mali noted that there are recommendations stemming from activities in Mali but with inadequate mechanisms or tools bring these recommendations to appropriate stakeholders. The aim of an M&E framework, he stated, would be to provide civil society and other actors with the means to follow up on such recommendations. The first part of the roundtable was followed up by a question and answer session focusing on the broader application of a human security strategy during which participants shared their views on ways forward for such a strategy, based on their own experience.
The roundtable discussion also addressed some of the realities and challenges of measuring impacts of peacebuilding projects in Mali, and the various indicators that may be used to approach this issue. Human security adopts a people-centered approach to protect individuals by promoting peace and a holistic understanding of security. Ms. Jenny Aulin, human security advisor at GPPAC, stressed that ‘’it is up to the different communities in Mali to define what human security means to them’’, whereas international partners should pay more attention to process questions. In this context, the discussion focused on how a human security framework could contribute to making interventions accountable to local populations in Mali. During this session, participants separated into several groups to share ideas and knowledge, identifying indicators for monitoring the progress of human security in Mali at the local, regional (in-country), national and international levels. Here, the participants identified that the relationship between donors, international partners and local communities was a key element of developing a bottom-up and inclusive human security strategy.
Finally, the day was wrapped with by concluding remarks by Mr. Peter van Tuijl, Executive Director at GPPAC and Dr. Connolly. The importance and complexity of the notion of inclusivity and accountability to communities in monitoring development at the local level in Mali was emphasized by all participants. Mr van Tuijl concluded that an M&E framework must be a participatory process as ‘’the essence of human security is that it is people-centred’’, and that building greater coordination amongst the different actors involved in peacebuilding is key to sustainable peace in Mali.
A follow up roundtable discussion will be held in Bamako in late May/early June 2016.