The African Union (AU) had called on its members to coordinate their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking to a virtual meeting that commemorated African Border Day within the framework of the AU Master Roadmap on Silencing the Guns in Africa, the AU Commissioner of Peace and Security, Smail Chergui, noted that the AU Border Program is contributing to the AU’s coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa, according to an AU statement on Monday.
The program is accompanying AU members and regional economic communities (RECs) in their efforts to limit the spread and the impact of the pandemic through cross-border cooperation and the stabilization of border areas, said the commissioner.
He noted that activities including distribution of protective and hygiene equipment for border personnel as well as awareness raising among the border population are under way.
Commending the continued efforts underway by the AU members to clarify their common boundaries, the commissioner said they are jointly, at one stage or another, engaged in the long and delicate process of delimitation and demarcation of their boundary lines.
However, he said, “The deadline of 2022 for the demarcation of all African inter-state borders, as set by the African Ministers in Charge of Border Issues, will hardly be respected. The extension of the deadline must be considered.”
Chergui further noted that progress has been witnessed in the establishment of national border commissions and the development of national and regional border policies.
Speaking of institutionalization of cross-border cooperation as a tool for the sustainable development of borderlands, he noted that there has been a sustained proliferation of cross-border cooperation initiatives in West Africa, at national and regional levels.
“Some East African states have embraced the cross-border cooperation dynamic even though none, for the moment, have signed or ratified the AU Convention on Cross Border Cooperation,” he said, calling upon members to sign, ratify, and domesticate the AU convention. Enditem