Mali, Mauritania and the UN refugee agency signed a tripartite agreement on Thursday for the voluntary repatriation of Malian refugees from Mauritania.
The framework will see the three parties accompany the return of the refugees under safe conditions.
According to UNHCR, there are over 40,000 Malian refugees in Mauritania. The refugees fled the nation in 2012 onwards, due to insecurity in the north and lack of basic administration and social services.
Officials of the Malian Ministry of reconstruction of the North and of humanitarian action have moved to quash fears of insecurity and living conditions. They say that home sites have already been developed for the returnees.
However, many of the refugees are still reluctant because of persistent insecurity.
Northern Mali is home to a separatist movement as well as Islamist militants.
Delays in implementing a peace deal brokered by the UN has led to the strengthening of Jihadists. Islamist militants backed by Al Qaeda still represent the main threat, carrying out a series of attacks.