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Presentation on theme: "Effectively Managing Border Disputes The Great Lakes Region ALBERT GOMES MUGUMYA CENTER FOR CONFLICT RESOLUTION (CECORE) UGANDA."— Presentation transcript:


2 The Great Lakes Region Of Africa A group of lakes located in nine countries in East and Central Africa including Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, DRC Congo, Ethiopia and Sudan among others Eight of the 15 lakes in this region are considered to rank as "great lakes," a testimony to their size and depth including Lake Victoria, the second- largest freshwater lake in the world and Lake Tanganyika,- one of the deepest in the world The region's rich soils provide a powerful lure for humans. Several million Bantu speaking people live within 50 miles of Lake Victoria, making it one of the most heavily populated area in Africa. Naturally Conflict will occur in such densely populated areas

3 Conflicts in the Great Lakes Region Conflicts experienced in this region are a manifestation of severe structural weaknesses. Their underlying causes have internal as well as external components. The interactions between the legacy of our colonial history and the post-independence models of governance, as well as the international political, social, and global economic milieu in which this interaction occurs, is the appropriate context in which to place the recurrent conflicts in the region The structural causes of the conflicts include bad governance, the politics of exclusion, and widespread state sponsored or state condoned human rights violations

4 Conflicts in the Great Lakes Region The artificial boundaries created by former colonial masters had the effect of bringing together many different people within nations that were not prepared for the cultural and ethnic diversity. The continent was bequeathed 103 border disputes by its former colonial rulers. Meaningless boundaries with no rhyme or reason in the geographical, topographical or ethnic character of particular regions. These have led to countless disputes, some leading to war, others to years of diplomatic and legal wrangling..

5 Conflicts in the Great Lakes Region The leaders of these communities, instead of building on this diversity, sought to exploit it for their own ends. In the process they ruptured social cohesion, and dislocated social entities and culturally homogeneous groups of people. In other words, post-colonial ethnic conflicts in the Great Lakes Region, and in many parts of Africa, have their roots in the colonial policy of separating language, religious and ethnic communities. Where ethnic communities, scientifically speaking, did not exist, as in Rwanda, they created them

6 Conflicts in the Great Lakes Region Incidents and disputes along borders and are not a new phenomenon and at times never about the boundary For years border disputes, have repeatedly triggered conflicts in the region Ethnic nationalism resulting in conflicts to redefine boundaries have arisen out of collective fears of ethnic groups that their freedom to control their resources and way of life will be taken away by the dominant majority of their country Often, bilateral border conflicts in the region are supported covertly or overtly by other countries acting in their "national interests”

7 Conflicts in the Great Lakes Region Pre- and postcolonial border alignments, the legacies of which are fiercely defended by their inheritors Ethnic and religious conflicts and the employment of terrorism and fundamentalism (which ignore boundaries) as a means to resolve them Large-scale migrations of populations and refugees across boundaries that are difficult to guard because of rugged or open terrain Competing claims on land and maritime territories that are rich in natural resources or have political or sociocultural importance.

8 Conflicts in the Great Lakes Region Factors such as organized crime, the drug trade, political instability, small arms and interference by other nations tend to exacerbate such conflicts When sanctuaries are provided in contiguous countries, conflicts get prolonged. The serious problem of refugees in the region has not yet been tackled effectively by the countries concerned. Host countries have in some cases armed some refugees and pushed them back to fight insurgent movements. The human dimension of the refugee problem is of a grave nature.

9 Border Conflicts in the Region Uganda/Kenya-Migingo Island Uganda/Sudan (Sudan Says 15km of its land are in Uganda) Uganda/DRC disputed border area & DRC moving of its border post 4km towards Uganda. Tanzania/Malawi-Lake Nyasa

10 Conflict Management The first priority is to clarify the status quo on borders and prepare the uptodate maps showing their exact location. Officials from both fronts in the border should meet often to discuss issues of common interest. Another priority is to promote cross-border cooperation and launch a number of pilot border demarcation projects. Border conflicts are linked to poor governance, but international and domestic efforts to resolve border conflicts focus more on political, economic, and military factors than governance issues.

11 Conflict Management Gather relevant facts and also prepare logical refutations of the other side's arguments. Avoid short-term solutions such as border fencing rather than the establishment of joint ventures, development aid, and other measures to improve the economy of the region. A similar holistic view has to be taken to help resolve the problems of ethnic groups straddling boundaries, without compromising political boundary. joint management or sharing.

12 Conflict Management Information flows and mass awareness programs should be initiated and strenghtened Set up of region- and area-specific organizations for training in conflict management, development of negotiation and interpersonal skills, and availability of objective data bases for the purpose of managing the conflict The growth of independent think tanks in the region should be encouraged. Concept reviews by each country on their specific conflict areas need to be done, especially in the case of long-standing disputes, since the working concepts themselves may be impeding conflict resolution.

13 Conflict Management Detailed case studies of long-standing conflicts need to be prepared and studied to identify "breakthrough" factors that led to conflict resolution and to understand how and why these factors became effective. Globalization, developments in information technology, the worldwide connections of terrorists, "freedom fighters," and the underground drug and arms economy are factors that make bilateralism an option instead of a negotiating principle. Early Warning and Early Response mechanism should be established and strengthened

14 Conflict Management There is need to carry out a serious and rational enquiry into the root causes of any conflict if we are to avert conflicts in the future. This will enable us to make the right interventions in the right place, and at the right time. Not all conflicts are similar in nature and there cannot be a one-size-fits all solution to them A marked feature of the contemporary strategic environment has been the resolution of border conflicts through international pressure. Elimination of illicit small arms

15 Conflict Management Conflicting parties should work towards the strengthening of the relationship between the people, officials of the two fronts and government administrators in the border areas Disputes on both sides of borders are similar to those found within one country and, in order to solve the problems in conflict resolution seen amongst officials on both sides, the political activities of the fronts should be strengthened and misunderstandings to be quickly avoided in the spirit of friendship

16 Existing Initiatives The German Government is supporting the implementation of the new Border Programme established by the AU in 2007 with a view to resolving border issues in Africa. Its intended to minimize the risk of border-related conflicts in Africa while promoting regional integration and involves; 1.Negotiations and legal agreements concerning the exact location of borderlines (delimitation) 2.Surveying and marking physical borders (demarcation) 3.Cross-border co-operation between neighboring villages and border management training. Mozambique, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia have successfully concluded negotiations on the geographical location of the boundaries between them.

17 Existing Initiatives The African Union and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) have the appropriate framework for preventing and solving conflicts. The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region border program The East Africa Community (EAC) CPMR program Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Early Warning system

18 Recommendations Facilitate (resources and expertise) border delimitation and demarcation including maritime boundaries to avoid undefined zones and threats to national sovereignty Address cross border criminal activities including human and drug trafficking Eliminate illicit small arms and light weapons Facilitate cross border integration dynamics Build capacity for border management Encourage and undertake bilateral negotiations Provide necessary legal framework Develop a comprehensive border strategy –otherwise borders become vulnerable ( Terrorists, Undocumented Immigrants)

19 Facilitate border patrol with state of the art equipment, resources and support Provide adequate staffing for the extensive miles and miles of borders Identify and assess all land border corridors that need to be protected

20 Thank You Questions?

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