The Malian climate is characterized by three seasons: a dry season in March to June, a rainy or wintering season from June to September and an off-season or cold season from October to February with a drying Saharan wind called the harmattan. The average temperature varies between 24°C in January and 35°C in May [1].

The mean annual temperature has increased by 0.7°C since 1960, an average rate of 0.15°C per decade with the rate of increase being more rapid in the hot, dry season, running from April through June. Droughts have become more frequent, especially in the northern areas, which have seen increased migration. The frequency of days considered hot has not changed significantly in Mali, but the frequency of hot nights have increased significantly. Furthermore, the trends in climatic parameters clearly showed a decrease in rainfall and a clear increase in annual mean temperature [1]. The decrease in rainfall could result in a displacement of isohyets towards the South and the temperatures would, on the other hand, be on the rise in all the localities of Mali.

During the last decades, Mali’s environment and natural resources have experienced a strong degradation owing to the persistence of unfavorable climatic conditions and mostly extensive and unsuitable farming systems. The country's economy is based on resources mainly from agriculture, livestock, natural forest formations and fishing, hence the extreme vulnerability of this country and its economy to the climate and its variability is clear. These impacts on the country’s  economy are expected to be exacerbated in the future and will constitute limiting factors for the development of target regions very sensitive to variations in rainfall, where most households derive 70% of their income from agriculture, livestock and forestry.

The country’s climatic risks remain very important with the persistence of the drought and the impacts which will be more noticeable on the majority of socio-economic activities with a significant reduction of more than 30% of the water level of the rivers, especially for the Niger river at Koulikoro [2] [3].

Depending on the scenario, temperature in Mali is projected to rise by between 2.0 and 4.6 °C by 2080, compared to pre-industrial levels, with higher temperature rises in northern Mali. The population affected by at least one heatwave per year is projected to rise from 2% in 2000 to 16% in 2080 [4].


Mali is one of the lowest emitters of greenhouse gases (GHG) of the world (> 0.06%) [5]According to the country’s 2014 GHG profile, produced by USAID, the biggest contributor was agriculture sector, which accounted for 76.8% of the country’s total emissions. Within the agriculture sector, 43% of emissions were from enteric fermentation from livestock, followed by 31% from manure left on pasture. Land Use Change and Forestry (LUCF) was the second highest source of emissions (18.5%), with forest land contributing 91% and followed by the energy, waste, and industrial processes (IP) contributed 3.7%, 0.9%, and 0.1% of total emissions, respectively [6].


Key policies and governance approach

The Government of Mali is strongly engaged with various actions for the fight against climate change. At the international level, it has signed the 1994 United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change as well as the Kyoto Protocol in 1999 [7].

The National Policy on the Protection of the Environment which ensures a healthy environment and a sustainable development, to combat desertification and ensure food security as well as the prevention and fight against pollution and poverty increase [7].

In 2011, the country has elaborated its National Policy on Climate Change with its strategy and action plan.  The vision of this Policy is to define by 2025 a framework for sustainable socio-economic development that integrates the challenges of climate change in all sectors of its development in order to improve the well-being of people, by 2025. It will focus on the five operational pillars defined in Bali at COP13 in 2007: shared vision, adaptation, mitigation, technology transfer, and financing, while associating in an integrated manner the 'all the programs and all the players in national life [8].

Mali is also developing several national legislations, such as the Law N 2020-009 of the 11 of May 2020,  exempting renewable energy equipment from VAT and import taxes [7]

The Ministry of Environment, Sanitation and Sustainable Development is in charge of policies and strategies related to climate change. Together with the Environmental and Sustainable Development Agency (AEDD), created in 2010, they have the mission of managing different aspects of climate change [7].  


Successes and remaining challenges 

Despite the great effort of the country in facing climate change, a recent study pointed out two main concerns that need further consideration: (i) the Malian financial regulatory framework does not explicitly mention climate-related risks; and (ii) there is little private sector initiative on climate-related risks in Mali as of now [9]. Moreover, the engagement of the Malian private sector in the areas of climate change is very limited. A few private operators are exploring the possibility of benefiting from CDM financing for their projects which are, for the most part, projects for the dissemination of improved stoves, the production of biofuel from jatropha, the planting of trees, and solar and wind power generation [8].


Initiatives and Development Plans

Mali has several public research institutions that intervene in the fields of climate change. Among these are the following: the National Centre for Research Science and Technic (CNRST, the University of Bamako), the National School of Engineers (ENI), the Institute of Rural Economy (IER) and a number of NGOs and associations organized through “Reso-Climat Mali”, a platform bringing together actors of the Malian civil society working in the fields of climate change and sustainable development. [9]

Greenhouse gas emission mitigation projects have been going on in the country for more than five years, with the support of technical and financial partners. These include the Community Development Carbon Fund Project, a portfolio of over forty CDM project ideas; training of national officials in the preparation of CDM project documents; the CDM Green Facility Project; the Project for the Promotion of Opportunities Linked to Carbon Market Mechanisms; the Great Green Wall (GMV) project; the Technology Needs Assessment (EBT) project; and the Large-Scale Renewable Energy Development Program (SREP) [9].

At the same time, a large number of adaptation projects have been initiated including: the creation of the National Action Program for Adaptation to the Adverse Effects of Climate Change (PANA) with 19 priority project ideas; the study of plausible future scenarios for the climate in Mali; several capacity building projects for the implementation of climate change activities; the induced rains program; agro-meteorological assistance to the rural world, a project improving adaptation capacity and resilience to the effects of climate change in agriculture; the Poverty Environment Initiative Project, which works on the integration of the environment into sectoral policies; and the development of a Strategic Investment Framework for Sustainable Land Management, the Reso Climate Mali Initiative Support Program.

Mali has also tried to integrate the environment and climate change dimensions into its economic development planning, mainly on the development of the country’s Strategy for the Economic Recovery and Sustainable Development (CREDD) [7].

In 2020 a development and adaptation program to climate change in the Niger River Basin was launched by Mali, the AfDB (African Development Bank) and ABN (Niger River Basin Authority). With an overall cost of around 122 billion FCFA, including 13.8 billion FCFA for Mali, this plan will contribute to improving the resilience of the ecosystems of the Niger River and the populations through sustainable management of natural resources in favor of 130 million people in 9 countries [10]. This Program benefit from the support of other donors such as the European Union through PAGODA, the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the Strategic Climate Fund (FSC), and the Global Environment Fund (FEM), the Forest Investment Fund (FIF), and the German Cooperation KFW. This Program will be implemented in the upper basin portions of the Inner Delta and the Niger Loop. It will cover six Malian administrative regions namely, Koulikoro, Sikasso, Ségou, Mopti, Tombouctou and Gao [10].


Goals and Ambitions

The vision of Mali's National Policy on Climate Change is to define a framework for sustainable socio-economic development that integrates the challenges of climate change in all sectors of its development in order to improve the well-being of the populations  by 2025. It will focus on the five operational pillars defined in Bali at COP13 in 2007: shared vision, adaptation, mitigation, technology transfer, and financing, while associating in an integrated manner to all the programs and all the players in national life [8].


[11], [12]

  • Several initiatives are underway in Mali to face climate change, implying mitigation and adaptation actions. In this regard Mali has elaborated a National Policy on Climate Change Strategy based on eight axes from which 147 actions have been defined in the National Climate Action Plan (NAPC 2012-2017).
  • This plan has led to major programs and initiatives, such as the "Global Climate Change Alliance" (GCCA) program, the Support Program for Climate Change Adaptation Initiatives of RESO Climate Mali (PAIRCC), the Large-Scale Renewable Energy Development Program (SREP), the Great Green Wall Initiative, and the Climate Fund Mali.
  • Mali needs to develop more initiatives (strategies) directed towards "clean" or low-carbon technologies, mainly in the renewable energy, agriculture and forestry sectors.