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Environmental Crime Legal Framework In Mali

Mali’s environmental legislation is based on the 1992 constitution. Article 15 reads: “Every person shall have the right to a healthy environment. The protection, defense and promotion of the environment shall be obligations for all and for the State”. Article 99, in a related vein, states: “The High Council of Territorial Units shall have as its mission to study and to give its considered advice concerning all policies of local and regional development. It may make proposals to the Government for all questions concerning the protection of the environment and the improvement of the quality of life of citizens within the units.”

In 2010, The National Agency for Environmental and Sustainable development was established. Its mission includes to ensure the implementation of the environmental policy, overseeing the integration of environmental aspects across sectors. Key documents include the national policy for environmental protection, national environmental action plans.


1995: Law No. 95-052 was passed.This law contains provisions which regulate the production, distribution, import, export, marketing as well as the control and certification of seeds of animal or plant origin. These activities are subject to authorization and rigorous quality control. Any seed without a health certificate is subject to quarantine.

1999: Ordinance No ° 99-032 was signed, overseeing the recognition, exploration, prospecting, research and exploitation of mineral substances, as well as their possession, transport, processing and marketing, with the exception of liquid hydrocarbons. Mineral or fossil substances subject to the mining regime in the territory of the Republic of Mali belong to the State.

2002: Law No. 02-014 was adopted. This law sets the rules for the registration and control of pesticides. It is prohibited to import, manufacture, formulate, package or repackage, store, use or place on the market any unapproved or unauthorized pesticide.

2004: Law No ° 04-006 was approved, creating the Chamber of Mines of Mali (CMM), which is placed under the supervision of the Minister in charge of Mines and whose mission consists of the organization and representation of natural and legal persons working in various professional branches of the organization.

2011: Decree No 2011-107-PM-RM was introduced to create the National Council for the Environment, a body called the National Climate Change Committee of Mali (CNCCM) whose mission revolves around five (5) thematic groups, in particular adaptation to climate change including risks and disasters; mitigation, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, avoided deforestation; technology transfer; funding; and capacity building.

2014: Ordinance No. 2014-012-P-RM was issued. This order of the Renewable Energies Agency of Mali (AER-MALI) promotes the large-scale use of renewable energies.

2017: Order No ° 2017-2614 (MEADD-SG) established the National Steering Committee for the “Global Alliance against Climate Change in Mali Phase 2 (AGCC-Mali 2) program.

2017: Decree No. 2017-0326/P-RM was created to govern all the measures and practices taken by households to preserve their health against the adverse effects resulting from physical, biological and chemical factors relating to home hygiene in the Republic of Mali. Chapter II defines the following concepts: companion animal; cohabitation; contamination; waste; household waste; special waste; shower; potable water; and domestic wastewater.

2018: ​​Ordinance No ° 2018-021 / P-RM was instituted. This ordinance creates the Chamber of Mines of Mali whose mission is to organize and represent natural and legal persons working in the various sectors of mining activities. To this end, it is responsible for: ensuring the registration of natural and legal persons operating in the sector under the conditions which will be determined by regulation; give its opinion at the request of the public authorities; and make suggestions on its own initiatives.

Case Studies: Transnational Environmental Crime, Human Security, and Biosecurity

  • Artisanal gold mining poses grave threats to human security in Mali. Mining operations across the country use chemicals and dredge rivers – a patent violation of national laws. The city of Kayes is among the most severely affected with respect to said mining operations, generating 26 tons of artisanal gold in 2019 and US$1.23 billion. Mercury and cyanide to separate gold, for example, are often smuggled into Mali from Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso and Senegal through illicit trafficking routes. A recent report reveals that approximately 33 tons of mercury enter the country illegally every year – the majority of which is used for mining operations in Kayes. Cyanide use has also resulted in the proliferation of cyanidation ponds. These ponds plague villages, destroying agriculture, fishing and herding due to groundwater contamination that can lead to animal and human poisoning. What is more, cyanide is lethal when ingested, causing rapid paralysis, headaches, nausea, vertigo, anxiety, altered mental states, rapid breathing and high blood pressure. Threats to human security disproportionately impact Mali women.  In Kayes alone, women represented 33% of the 298 307 artisanal miners identified in 2019 and these miners bore the brunt of exposure to these hazardous chemicals. The enforcement of environmental regulations is stifled because these chemicals are often hidden and transported in food trucks and stored in warehouses, making investigation efforts futile.

References and Further Reading


Minister of the Environment and Sanitation and Sustainable Development: Mr. Diabate Aboubacar,