Mali Institutional Issues

Submitted by Sukaina Bharwani 25th March 2011 19:17

NB: This page is part of an article was written in February 2009 to support the development of Sida's country assistance strategy for Mali.

There are four main reasons why the National Environmental Protection Policy hasn't been fully implemented:

The first is the lack of inter-institutional coordination. Overlap and duplication of roles and mandates of the different entities that share responsibility for the environment in Mali limit harmonization in the sector, undermining effective implementation of policies and programmes. The public organisation with primary responsibility for the environment in Mali is the Ministère de l'Environnement et Assainissement (MEA - Ministry of the Environment and Sanitation). However, several other ministries and agencies have also important environmental functions, such as the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water, and the Ministry of Regional Administration and Local Government. Lack of inter-Ministerial cooperation has made very difficult the implementation of the cross-cutting programmes, such as the National Environment Action Plan (NEAP) developed in tandem with the PNPE. The cross-cutting nature of the design of these programmes, where funds were provided in most cases to several governmental agencies, failed to motivate agencies involved in environmental issues to become ‘champions” of such programmes. Although the MEA has the primary responsibility in the sector, it is considered a young and weak ministry. As such, more influential ministries disagree to be coordinated by a ‘junior peer' and as a result little harmonization of responsibilities and inter-ministerial coordination/cooperation has been achieved[1].

The second major problem affecting the operation of the institutional framework is the severe deficiency of recurrent funding. For instance, the level of public spending on the environment and natural capital is insufficient to permit effective implementation of the PNPE[2]. For the most part, agencies working in the environment sector tend to fill this funding gap by procuring more project financing and greater access to fee collections[3]. One of the main consequences of insufficient investment in environment and natural capital is low agricultural productivity and poor health. Low investment in the sector undermines the poverty reduction and growth objectives of the country, particularly because environmental degradation affects key productive sectors such as agriculture, livestock, and mining. Climatic extremes are expected to exacerbate this situation and increase further the vulnerability of the budget planned for the sector.

The third problem is the weak institutional capacity of entities in charge of the environment. On the one hand, the current number of public agents working in government agencies is insufficient to address the requirements for a full implementation of the PNPE[4]. For example, a study on climate adaptation carried out by USAID in the Sikasso region, noted that five times the current number of government extension agents is needed to address the needs of the region[5]. Moreover, there is a lack of availability, integration and dissemination of relevant information (environment and climate information) between the entities responsible for the environment and between the agencies and the local population.

Finally, the fourth key issue affecting the institutional framework is related to unclear property rights. Land tenure is a key factor to stimulate long-term investment from primary production to processing and commercialization[6]. However, most of the farmers in Mali are not landowners, so investment in farming practices to increase soil fertility or improve resource base could result in the land being reclaimed by the landowner[7].

Possible strategies to overcome these institutional issues

  • Maintain commitment at the highest-level of government and improve inter-ministerial coordination and cooperation through the establishment of an inter-ministerial committee chaired by the Primer Minister, where environment and climate change issues could be debated[8].
  • Increase investment in environment and natural capital. External support can be provided through projects, but also through General Budget Support. In 2006, there were approximately 92 externally financed projects supporting the environment, with annually allocated budgets of approximately FCFA 25 billion (US $ 55 million). 20 different development agencies and at least 34 international NGOs were engaged in these projects[9].
  • Update the PNPE legislation to keep pace with technological changes, remain abreast of regional and international legislation, integrate climate change risks/considerations, include administrative decrees that support it, and make sure its implementation is feasible with the financial and human resources available to the Malian government[10].
  • Develop a National Climate Change Policy relevant to the provisions of the UNFCCC and the results of studies and analyses carried out under the framework of the National Communications and the preliminary NAPA[11].
  • Improve the accuracy and availability of environment and climate information through the strengthening of research capacities within the country and the establishment of monitoring systems[12].
  • Improve the dissemination of climate information (e.g. forecasts) provided by governmental institutions. Mali has over 200 radio stations, and 80% of the population has access to radios, thus any improvements in dissemination of relevant information would have a positive impact on local decision-making. Improvements in communications outreach could involve coordination and collaboration with other agencies and organizations that have similar goals, such as the Institute d'Economie Rurale du Mali (IER), Direction Nationale de la Conservation de la Nature (DNM), Observatoire du Marche Agricole (OMA), among others.
  • Enhance inter-institutional cooperation and synergies between cooperation agencies, NGOs and governmental entities and promote the use of holistic and participatory approaches among the multiple actors.

References

  1. Lawson, A., Bouare, S. (2007). Budget Support, Aid Instruments, and the Environment. Mali Country Case Study. Draft Report. Overseas Development Institute.
  2. Alix, C. and Bérubé, J. (2005). Suivi à l'intégration des considérations environnementales dans le cadre de la programmation du Mali. Report for CIDA, Canada.
  3. Lawson, A., Bouare, S. (2007). Budget Support, Aid Instruments, and the Environment. Mali Country Case Study. Draft Report. Overseas Development Institute.
  4.  Alix, C. and Bérubé, J. (2005). Suivi à l'intégration des considérations environnementales dans le cadre de la programmation du Mali. Report for CIDA, Canada.
  5. Ebi and Smith, 2006.
  6. World Bank, 2007.
  7. Ebi, K., Smith, J. (2006). Mali Pilot Study: Climate Change and Agriculture In Zignasso. Final Report. Washington DC: U.S. Agency for International Development.
  8. Lawson, A., Bouare, S. (2007). Budget Support, Aid Instruments, and the Environment. Mali Country Case Study. Draft Report. Overseas Development Institute.
  9. Lelong, B. (2006), Annuaire des projets environnementaux des bailleurs de fonds et des ONG internationales au Mali. GTZ, Bamako.
  10. Lawson, A., Bouare, S. (2007). Budget Support, Aid Instruments, and the Environment. Mali Country Case Study. Draft Report. Overseas Development Institute.
  11. MES, 2008.
  12. Ministry for Environment and Sanitation (MAE). (2008). Elements of National Policy for Adaptation to Climate Change. Final Report, The Netherlands Climate Assistance Programme. Bamako: MAE, Permanent Technical Secretariat of the Institutional Framework of Environmental Issues Management.