Border Management and Border Communities in the Sahel

Implementation details

  • Project Period: March 2015 – February 2016 (12 months)
  • Executing Entity: UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa
  • Partners: France (project ACTS), Government institutions, CSOs in project countries
  • Intervention areas: 3 border areas between Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger (Bassikounou, Liptako-Gurma triangle, Lake Chad)
  • Total resources required: US$ 7,500,000

1. Context

The Sahel is facing complex challenges to longterm peace, stability and development. Chronic poverty, food insecurity, compounded by climaterelated shock, conflicts and cross-border crime and increased threat of terrorism have combined to create situations of extreme vulnerability.

Poor border management in the Sahel has now become a danger to international peace and security, and a disaster for local communities in border regions. The rise of violent non-state actors, terrorist groups and organised crime groups involved in the illicit trafficking of weapons, drugs and human beings, is over-powering the State, especially in border regions, and undermining sustainable human development in a multitude of ways.

2. Strategy & Objectives

A new approach is needed to secure the improvement of border management and human security in border regions of the Sahel. In parallel with building the capacities of Border Agencies, and increasing the physical presence of the State in border areas, improved interaction with local populations is required to better articulate them to legitimate law and order efforts, as well as to protect and promote the informal cross-border trade that is often critical to their livelihoods and food security.

The project will further support strategy development with a coordination and resource mobilisation service at regional level, to support Government plans and community-identified initiatives. In the first instance, particular attention will be paid to the Lake Chad sub-region in recognition of the recent negative effects of crossborder activity of Boko Haram. The project will work in areas of Niger and Chad contiguous with northern Nigerian states of Borno and Yobe.

  • National policies for involvement of border communities in border management prepared, and related capacity development of Border Agencies undertaken, with a particular focus on preparation of strategies for three border subregions: Mauretania-Mali; Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger ‘triangle’; Niger, Chad (Lake Chad).
  • National policy makers, civil society and international community have better understanding in regard to security incidents and trends, and in regard to scale and development importance of informal cross-border trade, as well as budgeted action plans for intervention in the three selected cross-border sub-regions.
  • Support to implementation of inclusive border management strategy developed for Lake Chad & Liptako-Gourma regions, including participatory mechanisms for community-based policing designed to enhance human security at the local level and work toward to an intelligence-led interdiction approach.

The project will be fully coordinated with similar activities to be implemented by partners. UNDP will specifically seek complementarity with UN entities in northern Cameroon and in northern Nigeria.

3. Areas of work

National policies for involvement of border communities in border management:

  • UNDP will organise regional forum to involve civil society and private sector in border management development.
  • UNDP will also support drafting of border management policy papers, bilateral agreements, and primary/secondary legislation.

Better understanding of security and development importance of informal crossborder trade:

  • UNDP will develop an online knowledge management platform for a dedicated community of practice, including previous work on border areas funded by the EU.

Implementation of inclusive border management strategies:

  • UNDP will support the establishment of inclusive mechanisms for dialogue as platform for grievances, early warning and early response.
  • It will support local initiatives developed by border delegates and border communities and supportive of informal trade and community security.
  • Border police units will receive training in human rights, gender, refugee and asylum law.

Looking forward

As Chair of the Regional Working Group on Governance, UNDP is also well positioned to ensure strategic planning and articulation with similar initiatives and projects developed by partners.

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