Commemoration of the African Border Day within the framework of the AU Master Roadmap on Silencing the Guns in Africa

Date | 10 June, 2020

Tomorrow (11 June) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is scheduled to have its 930th session on ‘Commemoration of the African Border Day within the framework of the AU Master Roadmap on Silencing the Guns in Africa’.

The briefing on the agenda of the session prepared by the Department of Peace and Security is circulated to all PSC members via email. The Chairperson of the PSC for June has also circulated the concept note for the session. It is expected that PSC member states will conduct the session remotely via email exchanges. Following receipt of their input via email, the PSC Secretariat together with the Chairperson are expected to draft communiqué and circulate for its adoption through silence procedure.

The African Border Day is commemorated annually in line with the decision of the 17th Ordinary session of the Executive Council. As in the past, this year’s commemoration is linked with the annual theme of the year. As highlighted in the concept note, the AU Master Roadmap on Silencing the Guns identifies non-completion of border delimitation and demarcation processes, porous borders and the lack of borders control and security systems as posing challenge to peace and security in Africa.

This session is accordingly expected to provide updates to PSC member states on the progress made and challenges faced in implementing the practical steps set out in the AU Master Roadmap for overcoming the peace and security challenges arising from the conditions of the borders of African states. As
various developments during the course of the past year, including the upsurge in violence in the Sahel – on account of both terrorist attacks and inter-communal fighting which have become more fatal due to easy access to and circulation of weapons – and the destruction that terrorist networks caused in Mozambique, have shown, porousness of African borders and the lack of effective control of borders continues to create the context for insecurity and violence.

On the occasion of the celebration of the Africa Border Day on 7 June, the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chergui underlined borderland’s vulnerability to insecurity and socio-economic challenges and the importance of securing the stability of borderlands for the realization of the goals of Silencing the Guns initiative. Indeed, major consequences of weak system of governance of borderlands include the flow of illegal weapons and small arms, the movement of international organized crimes and terrorist groups as well human trafficking and irregular migration fueling violence and exacerbating insecurity.

Various factors including the presence of mineral and hydrocarbon resources, the rising demand for land and other resources due to population increase and climate change, the increasing need to secure borders from terrorist and criminal networks as well as the increasing interest for harnessing of maritime resources for development purposes have heightened the need for addressing existing problems in the governance of borders of member states in Africa.

Apart from land borders, maritime boundary dispute, often triggered by competing claims over natural resources, has also become a concerning area. Additionally, as the experiences in the Gulf of Aden and Gulf of Guinea have revealed, maritime domain have been highly volatile and exposed to piracy, organized crime and utilized for human and drug trafficking as well as illegal fishing and damping of waste by operations from developed countries. Towards protecting this particular area,