With the clock ticking toward the scheduled departure of the United Nations Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) on 31 December this year, troops and police from contributing countries have embarked on the crucial task of redeploying peacekeepers and essential equipment.
This structured relocation operation across all deployment zones aligns with a UN Security Council Resolution prescribing the dissolution of MINUSMA and its systematic withdrawal from Mali.
Equipment taken to the landlocked West African country for use in executing MINUSMA’s mandate is called contingent owned equipment (COE) and is the property of contributing countries’ troops and police. The decision on how to manage these resources is in their hands, offering them flexibility to repatriate, gift, sell or hand over equipment to MINUSMA.
All weapons, ammunition, armoured vehicles, aircraft and other sensitive military equipment are excluded from gifting or selling. These items are properly managed and either returned to home countries or disposed of in accordance with UN policies, the UN said. For items available for sale or gifting, troops and police from contributing countries may opt to sell or donate to other contributing countries, the Mission, UN agencies, local government bodies or non-government organisations (NGOs). Equipment beyond economical repair can be handed to MINUSMA for responsible disposal.
All possible care to maintain transparency in the withdrawal process is taken, a MINUSMA statement has it. Prior to any third party transition all UN identifiers, including logos, registration plates and barcodes are removed.
“The process is meticulous and respectful, guided by national and international regulations, including Mali customs, UN environmental policies and the UN-Mali Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). Adhering to these guidelines ensures responsible handling of resources.
“All these measures align with the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the contributing countries and the UN and adhere to Security Council stipulations. The resolution endorses an orderly, safe mission withdrawal and unhindered export of UN equipment, supplies and other assets.
“It is a testament,” MINUSMA maintains, to the mission’s “unwavering commitment to a respectful and co-operative withdrawal from Mali”.