Country Profiles

Mali - Country Profile

Biodiversity Facts

Status and trends of biodiversity, including benefits from biodiversity and ecosystem services

Mali is a landlocked country located in West Africa. The primary sector contributes 45% to the country’s GDP; the agricultural sector, whose products are mainly cotton, cereals and rice, represents by far the largest portion (35.6%) of this total, followed by livestock and fisheries. The rich pastoral lands of the interior delta of the Niger River provide excellent areas for livestock breeding. Over the last 50 years, the herd sizes of cattle, sheep and goats have increased markedly. Water however remains one of the major concerns of the population for both domestic consumption and to support development through agricultural and pastoral production. Fishing is practiced mainly by the Bozos and Somonos in the delta region and Sourou basin. Of particular note is the fact the number of fishers in the country has more than doubled since 1994, with about 500,000 fishers today producing an estimated 150,000 tons of fish per year.

In the country’s arid zone, certain areas in the southern Sahelian region are very degraded due to climate change, as exemplified by the Farimaké dead forest. Much of the arid zone consists of tiger bush that is generally degraded, particularly in northern Niono and Bambara Maoudé. Moreover, the interior delta of Niger River (arid) is a particular ecosystem subject to annual flooding however the extent of vegetation, such as water meadows, is shrinking due to insufficient flooding of the area. The “dead” west Delta zone today exhibits a cover of degraded vegetation, essentially composed of thorny plants (e.g. Acacia seyal). In contrast, natural systems are well conserved in the country’s semi-arid zone.

Endangered mammals include the pygmy hippopotamus and manatee. Mammals whose populations have been reduced include the topi, giant eland, giraffe, dama gazelle, oryx, addax, Barbary sheep, cheetah, African wild dog, pangolin, aardvark, lion, elephant, chimpanzee, among others. At least 640 species of birds are known, of which 15 are considered rare. Several studies in the interior delta of the Niger River point to the existence of important bird populations. Notably, bird migration takes place between Mali and more than 18 countries in Europe, Africa and Asia; the main migratory species include the garganey, pintail, shoveler and the ferruginous duck. Much less is known about invertebrates however attention is being given to the development of apiculture in the country.

Mali’s trees perform numerous functions, including providing forms of traditional medicinal products. For example, the Gum arabic tree (Acacia Senegal) provides fuel wood as well as contains properties to alleviate pain, among other discomforts. The pulp of the fruit of the Baobab tree (Adansonia digitata) provides a substitute for milk and cream, while the leaves of the tree provide a condiment for sauces in food preparation; the pulp of the fruit and seeds of the Baobab tree are also used to treat anorexia.

Main pressures on and drivers of change to biodiversity (direct and indirect)

Five direct threats to biodiversity have been identified (climate change, agriculture, urban sprawl and loss of natural habitat, bush fires, the uncontrolled exploitation of wood as an energy source). Indirect threats identified include changes in human demographics, economic activity and technology, as well as sociopolitical and cultural factors.

Measures to Enhance Implementation of the Convention

Implementation of the NBSAP

Mali’s Stratégie Nationale et Plan d’Actions pour la Diversité Biologique (SNPA/DB) was revised in 2014, taking into account the global framework and emphasizing biodiversity conservation as a development concept. It contains five strategic directions: i) integrate biodiversity conservation in government and civil society actions to manage the underlying causes of biodiversity loss; ii) reduce direct pressures on biodiversity and encourage sustainable use; iii) improve biodiversity status by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity; iv) reinforce the advantages for all derived from biodiversity and the services provided by ecosystems; and v) reinforce implementation by means of participatory planning, knowledge management and capacity reinforcement.

Nineteen national targets have been developed (see:, along with 94 priority actions to be implemented from 2015 to 2020. The Action Plan identifies responsible institutions and partners, and costs and timeframes associated with implementing actions. Indicators for monitoring the achievement of each action have also been established. The estimated total cost of NBSAP implementation over the next 5 years has been placed at FCFA 44 290 000 000.

Unlike the first NBSAP, adopted in 2001, the new NBSAP addresses for the first time, or emphasizes, matters such as: gender, poverty reduction, rights of local and indigenous communities, invasive plants, commerce, tourism, transboundary issues, climate change. A mechanism for improving the mobilization of financial resources has been proposed. An analysis has also been conducted regarding the country’s capacity-building needs. Mali also acknowledges the need to establish mechanisms to ensure mainstreaming in development planning processes and to monitor and evaluate implementation.

Actions taken to achieve the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets

Through the implementation of several projects and the election of local officials, the integration of technologies for agriculture and agroforestry in community development plans has been facilitated.

An ecological and economic assessment of resources in the Sourou Valley (Ramsar site) carried out by IUCN has contributed to a good understanding of the value of resources.

The creation of the National Agency for the Management of Purification Stations has been successful in establishing regulations for factories and large agricultural zones (e.g. the Office du Niger area which is a major producer of rice).

A conservation project financed by the World Bank and national funds is protecting an elephant population in Gourma estimated to comprise 350 individuals.

The results of projects and programmes on the decentralization of the management of forests (GEDEFOR) and of the interior delta are being directed towards building greater autonomy for women, through their participation in management activities and use of environmental goods and services. Since 2010, Mali has achieved an annual reforestation rate of nearly 70,000 hectares throughout the country.

Mali is a signatory to the Nagoya Protocol.

Support mechanisms for national implementation (legislation, funding, capacity-building, coordination, mainstreaming, etc.)

Mali adopted the Agricultural Guidelines Law in 2006.

A national biosafety framework, a law on biotechnology and a National Biosafety Committee have been established.

One the five strategic directions of new NBSAP is to reinforce implementation by means of participatory planning, knowledge management and capacity reinforcement.

Biodiversity has been integrated in actions for achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, Strategic Framework for Growth and Poverty Reduction, National Climate Change Policy (pending adoption), as well as in sectoral development policies and strategies (fishing, farming, forestry, protected areas).

Mechanisms for monitoring and reviewing implementation

A national committee for coordinating and monitoring CBD implementation has been established. In addition, Mali’s new Action Plan contains indicators for monitoring the achievement of each action.