Donors of the Trust Fund for Peace and Security in Mali mobilized alongside MINUSMA for the stabilization of the Timbuktu region

8 Jun 2023

Donors of the Trust Fund for Peace and Security in Mali mobilized alongside MINUSMA for the stabilization of the Timbuktu region

The historic city of Timbuktu, in Northern Mali, hosted from 31 May to 1 June 2023, a visit from a significant delegation of donors to the United Nations Trust Fund for Peace and Security in Mali. Led by the Norwegian ambassador to Mali, Mrs. Elianne Skjeie Rigmor KOTI, the delegation also included representatives from the governments of Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Canada, and Belgium. Their massive presence testifies to their solid commitment and interest in promoting peace and stability in the region. Mrs. Loubna BENHAYOUNE, Director of the MINUSMA Stabilization and Recovery Division, which manages the Trust Fund, also accompanied the visit.

Visit of structuring projects in Timbuktu: Strengthening of justice and preservation of ancient manuscripts

The delegation visited two major projects funded by the Trust Fund: upgrading the security of the Timbuktu High Court (TGI) and preserving the manuscripts of Timbuktu at the Ahmed-Baba Institute of Higher Islamic Studies and Research (IHERI-AB). At the TGI, the Prosecutor and the President of the court emphasized the relevance of the project favoring the return of state authority and for the administration of justice in the fight against impunity. Funded by the Netherlands with a budget envelope of more than 125 million CFA francs, this project aims to improve the operational capacities of the criminal justice chain, including courts, prison administration services, police, and gendarmerie.

At the Ahmed Baba Institute, the Trust Fund donors were able to appreciate the impact of a project implemented in partnership with UNESCO and focused on training in the restoration of ancient manuscripts. Financed by a contribution from Norway, this project, which required nearly 250 million CFA francs, resulted in a train-the-trainers program on the maintenance and restoration of ancient manuscripts. The Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures (CSMC) at the University of Hamburg had also brought its expertise to this project. The guided tour of the facilities, especially the manuscript preservation rooms in the center, allowed the delegation to apprehend the collective efforts to preserve these ancient manuscripts. This was an opportunity for the delegation to highlight Mali's rich cultural heritage and the importance of its preservation. Dr. Mohamed Diagayeté, Director of the institute, underscored the importance of this project for Mali's identity. "Mali's ancient manuscripts are not only part of our heritage, but they are also the symbols of our identity, our wisdom, and our resilience," he indicated.

Satisfaction of regional authorities: Positive impacts despite persistent challenges

The delegation also met with regional authorities, notably the governors of Timbuktu and Taoudenni. The challenges these regions face, including water supply, investments in the education, health, and prison sectors, were at the heart of the exchanges. They also discussed issues related to the implementation of the 2015 Peace and Reconciliation Agreement.

The governor of the Timbuktu region, Mr. Bakoun KANTÉ, emphasized the undeniable positive impacts observed in various key sectors that have received support from the Trust Fund, such as civil protection, water supply, justice, and the penal chain. However, he also underscored "the need for ongoing and increased support from the international community. It is important to stabilize the northern regions, including Timbuktu, to ensure security and stability. Indeed, the situation remains fragile and the challenges persistent, requiring continuous mobilization of resources and efforts to consolidate the progress made so far".

The visit to the Taoudenni governorate confirmed these findings. Governor Mr. Mohamed OULD MEYDOU highlighted the importance of sustainable water supply projects in Taoudenni. He also emphasized that "the full functionality of the region and the extension of state authority rely on the effective implementation of the 2015 Peace and Reconciliation Agreement".

MINUSMA and the Trust Fund: key partners for the region's stability

Elianne Skjeie Rigmor KOTI, Norway's ambassador, expressed her admiration for the work carried out on the ground by MINUSMA. "Witnessing the hard work and dedication of MINUSMA and ongoing initiatives in cultural heritage preservation was truly inspiring. We are honored to contribute to this cause," she highlighted.

Amadou HAMADOU from the MINUSMA regional office in Timbuktu echoed this sentiment. He acknowledged the support and contributions of the Trust Fund's donors by stating that "their support has been decisive in our stabilization and recovery efforts in the region. This visit signifies a deep commitment and dedication to the resilient residents of Timbuktu".

MINUSMA, supported by the Trust Fund, has been instrumental in stabilizing and recovering the Timbuktu region. This visit not only highlights the progress made but also the work that remains to be done. The commitment of the Trust Fund's donors and the efforts of MINUSMA remain as crucial as ever in pursuing these advances. It also marks the commitment of the Trust Fund's donors to support initiatives for peace in Mali.