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Mali: UN mission welcomes peaceful elections, stresses need to respect results


29 July 2013 The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) has commended the West African country for the peaceful conduct of the first round of its presidential elections, which took place yesterday in an orderly manner.

According to a UN spokesperson, turnout is reported to have been high across the country, although no official figures have been released yet.

The 28 July elections were seen as an important step on the path to recovery for Mali, which, over the past year, witnessed a military coup détat, renewed fighting between Government forces and Tuareg rebels, and the seizure of its northern territory by radical Islamists.

MINUSMA, which provided security support to the Malian Defence and Security Forces throughout the day, reported excellent cooperation between its members and the Malian forces in the provision of electoral security, and said it would continue to help secure the counting centres.

International and national observers were also present in all regions, including the cities of Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal, the Mission said.

Today, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Mali, Bert Koenders, together with the heads of the international observer missions and some key ambassadors, met the presidential candidates today to discuss the process and the next steps.

All were reminded of the need to respect the results, and to address any complaints through established legal processes, the UN spokesperson told reporters in New York.

Malians vote in the 2013 presidential elections. Photos: MINUSMA/Marco Dormino

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Ahead of Mali’s presidential election, Ban stresses need for peaceful, credible polls


26 July 2013 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today encouraged all Malians to cast their ballots in Sunday’s presidential election, a vital step to restoring constitutional order in the crisis-hit country, and to ensure that the polls are free and fair.

“The Secretary-General reiterates his call for a peaceful, credible and transparent process in line with the aspirations of the Malian people. He calls on all concerned to ensure that the electoral process takes place in an orderly manner,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement.

“The Secretary-General notes the importance of this election for the restoration of constitutionalThe Secretary-General reiterates his call for a peaceful, credible and transparent process in line with the aspirations of the Malian people. He calls on all concerned to ensure that the electoral process takes place in an orderly manner. order and national dialogue and reconciliation in Mali,” the statement added.

The 28 July election will be an important step on the path to recovery for the West African nation that, over the course of last year, witnessed a military coup d’état, renewed fighting between Government forces and Tuareg rebels, and the seizure of the northern part of the country by radical Islamists.

Mr. Ban reaffirmed the UN’s continued support for the Malian peace and stabilization process. The world body is providing support through its Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), which became operational earlier this month.

He also cited the need to ensure that any post-election disputes are resolved through peaceful and legal means.

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UNICEF and partners sound alarm on nutrition crisis in northern Mali


24 July 2013 The humanitarian community is sounding the alarm on a nutrition crisis in Gao, in northern Mali, that is taking a toll on the most vulnerable and children under the age of five in particular, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said.

A nutrition and mortality survey carried out by Mali’s Ministry of Health and its partners, including UNICEF, found that the rate of global acute malnutrition (GAM) is 13.5 per cent making it a serious nutrition situation according to UN classification.

The situation is even more worrying in the Bourem health district, where the rate of GAM is 17 per cent, exceeding the emergency threshold of 15 per cent set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

During the next six months, 22,730 children will be at risk for acute malnutrition, UNICEF warned in a news release.

The nutrition situation in Gao deserves special attention. Action must be taken now so that children who can be saved are not left to die and so that new cases can be prevented, David Gressly, the Humanitarian Action Coordinator for Mali, said during a visit to Gao yesterday.

Gao was among the areas affected by the fighting that broke out last year in northern Mali between Government forces and Tuareg rebels, after which radical Islamists seized control of the area. The crisis uprooted hundreds of thousands of civilians and led to a dire humanitarian crisis.

UNICEF pointed out that the high malnutrition rates are explained, in part, by the fact that the survey was conducted in May 2013, at the start of the hunger gap season when food supplies run out.

Also, the spike in malaria during the rainy reason has had an impact on children’s nutritional status. The negative impact of the recent conflict on populations financial wherewithal is another factor contributing to the severity of the situation, the agency said.

The lives of many children are in jeopardy. They need immediate assistance, said Françoise Ackermans, UNICEF Representative in Mali. Treating children suffering from severe acute malnutrition is a priority for UNICEF. We are sparing no effort to assist each child suffering from malnutrition, she added.

This year, more than 108,000 children under age five were admitted to nutrition rehabilitation units around the country with the assistance of the Government, UNICEF and humanitarian partners.

The nutrition survey will be conducted next in Timbuktu, in northern Mali, and is already underway in the south of the country. Results will allow for nutrition trends to be assessed to better evaluate needs and prioritize resource allocation.

UNICEF stated that $80 million is needed to meet nutritional needs throughout the country. To date, only a quarter of this funding has been secured. As of 22 July, the Consolidated Appeal for Mali has mobilized $142 million, 30 per cent of the $476 million sought.

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