ADDIS ABABA, June 7 (Xinhua) -- The African Union (AU) has called on its member states to be more involved in the implementation of its border program to prevent conflicts and promote regional and continental integration in Africa.
In his statement on Wednesday in connection with African Border Day celebration, Smail Chergui, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, has hailed the achievements of the AU Border Program (AUBP) in the last one decade.
He has urged AU member states, regional economic communities (RECs), and all other stakeholders to take the necessary steps to consolidate the achievements of the AUBP and widen its scope of implementation.
The purpose of the AUBP is certainly to prevent conflicts, but also to facilitate the resolution of border disputes, which, unfortunately, have tended to increase in recent years, notably with the development of oil exploration and mining, noted Chergui.
The Commissioner has called for more response to amplify the achievements considering that current security issues and challenges are mainly concentrated in the border areas.
"More than ever, it is in these national border areas and cross-border areas, which are a haven for organized crime, cross-border crime and terrorist groups, that we must focus our attention and our efforts to prevent conflicts, promote peace, security and stability," noted Chergui.
The dynamics of resilience of border areas, which will be stimulated by increased cross-border cooperation activities, will also make it possible to cope with the harmful effects of climate change, he said.
"The adoption of more cooperative strategies on both sides of the border will guarantee efficiency and effectiveness in managing the forced displacement of people, food crises, humanitarian tragedies and conflicts related to the ownership and access to natural resources."
The commissioner said that the AUBP has made significant progress in the years between 2007 and 2017 in the areas of delimitation and demarcation of boundaries, cross-border cooperation and capacity building.
"Through this program we are working collectively and resolutely to transform African interstate borders into bridges and therefore promoting the free movement of people, goods and services," he said.
"Indeed, thanks to the commitment of Member States, RECs, and the AU Commission, the subject of border is no longer taboo. Rather, it is now a part of peaceful and constructive bilateral or multilateral discussions and exchanges," he said.
The Commissioner has also noted that that borders are potential instruments to implement the aspiration contained in the Agenda 2063, "a continent of seamless borders and management of cross-border resources through dialogue."
"More specifically, the Action Plan of this Agenda contains joint cross-border investments to exploit shared natural resources, promote peaceful conflict prevention and dispute resolutions and silence the guns by 2020," he said. "This substantial contribution of borders to the achievement of the objectives of Peace and Stabilization in Africa illustrates the strategic importance of AUBP."