Good Practices Platform on Cross-Border Cooperation in Africa
The African Union Border Programme (AUBP)
The African Union Border Programme (AUBP) was adopted in June 2007 through the Declaration AUBP/MIN/Decl. (II) by the 1st Conference of African Ministers in Charge of Border Issues and was adopted by 11th Ordinary Session of the African Union Executive Council.
AUBP’s objectives are to complete the delimitation and demarcation of African borders, to encourage and facilitate cross-border cooperation through joint planning and development of shared cross-border areas and to build the border management capacity of Member States in support of pragmatic border management and regional integration activities.
In addition, the Declaration noted the need for AUBP to build partnerships and mobilize the resources required to support the above-mentioned activities. The Declaration emphasizes that AUBP must “reinforce the regional integration process and consolidate developmental projects within the framework of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and other large-scale cooperation initiatives.” Furthermore, it highlights that “the RECs should provide the legal framework necessary for the formalization of cross-border cooperation and establish regional funds for financing such cooperation”.
The Declaration of the 2nd Conference of African Ministers in March 2010 encouraged the RECs to conduct comprehensive inventories of existing border initiatives and agreements in the various regions “in order to popularize them, assess their state of implementation and make recommendations on how they could contribute further to the achievements of the objectives of the AUBP.” It further noted that the African Union Commission (AUC) should coordinate this undertaking.
The 3rd Ministerial Conference, in May 2012, culminated in the African Union Convention on Cross-Border Cooperation (EX.CL/726(XXI)), which serves as a guideline for the cooperation and integration at local, sub-regional and regional levels. The Declaration emphasized the need for “the effective implementation, by the AUC and the RECs, of an exchange programme on cross-border cooperation among African states and other stakeholders.” The African Ministers in Charge of Border Issues thus emphasize the need for collaboration between the continental and regional bodies in border-related policies and initiatives and the application of the principles of subsidiarity, complementarity and comparative advantage.
In June 2014, the 23rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union, in Malabo, adopted the African Union Convention on Cross Border Cooperation. The Convention is now open for signature and ratification by the Member States and endorsement by the RECs.
The 4th Ministerial Conference, in October 2016, again requested the “effective coordination between the AUC and RECs regarding the implementation of activities together with Member States and partners, encouraged the full respect for the principles of subsidiarity and complementarity”.