Cross Border Approach

Pioneering a Cross Border Approach

Cross-border areas are usually located far from national capitals, at the periphery of the countries. In the pastoral context of the drylands of the Horn of Africa region, where there are high levels of human and livestock mobility, borders have little significance and meaning to the populations living in cross-border areas, as international borders do not follow ethnic or ecosystem lines. The inhabitant populations move (or would prefer to move) freely across the borders; and, therefore, it is essential to take these cross-border movements and dynamics into consideration when planning or implementing development programs in cross- border areas.
Whereas each individual country may have its own specific national priorities and programs, the development of cross-border areas cannot be tackled through national programs alone, as it demands cross-border collaboration and involves coordinated interventions.
Thus while decisions and actions by national governments are usually based on national priorities and outlook, these decisions often affect counterparts beyond the national borders. There is need to jointly consider the implications of proposed actions and how these can be leveraged by all concerned stakeholders to ensure mutual benefits and cost effectiveness, particularly for communities living on either side of a common border.

Cross-border cooperation recognizes that changes on one side of the border can have spill over effects, positive or negative on the other sides of the border. It facilitates the possibility of ecosystem-based management, which is an effective approach that recognizes the full array of interactions within an ecological zone, in a collective and holistic manner, based on considerations of the requirements, available resources and development possibilities of the cross-border area in question. By working together, communities in cross-border areas can jointly identify and address the specific challenges that they share while exploiting opportunities presented by the cross-border area that they share. Cross-border cooperation facilitates the generation of social capital, trust and mutual understanding among the communities on all sides of the borders. Such cooperation contributes to the stability and prosperity for all involved parties.

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