Dignitaries and participants who attended the event
Dignitaries and participants who attended the event

3rd boundary commissions conference opens in Bolgatanga

A third joint meeting of boundary commissions in Ghana and Burkina Faso to help tackle distorted international land boundaries between both nations has opened in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region.

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The purpose of the meeting is to provide a landmark vision so far as the relationship between both countries is concerned, especially in the re-affirmation, demarcation and issues relating to their common international land boundaries.

The five-day meeting is sponsored by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), as part of its African Union border programme.

It also seeks to examine the draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on boundary reaffirmation, examination of draft framework agreements on cross-border cooperation and the institutionalisation of regular meetings of boundary administrative authorities in both countries.

Follow-up

Opening the conference last Monday, the Commissioner General of the Ghana Boundary Commission, Major General Dr Emmanuel Kotia, said the meeting was a follow-up on an earlier one held last year to address fundamental issues concerning the land boundaries of both countries.

He noted that details of the work of a joint technical committee would be discussed and would include reaffirmation of the international land boundaries of both countries saying,

“We are looking at constructing new international boundaries once the reaffirmation is completed.” He stated that the technical committee would also have the opportunity to present their report during the meeting so that they could make the necessary inputs towards firming up the report for implementation.

Sensitisation

The Commissioner General said there would be sensitisation among residents living along the land boundaries on the need to reaffirm the borders of both countries and added that the exercise would be done in two phases to ensure peaceful co-existence.

“The exercise will be tied to the reaffirmation exercise, while the other will be done as and when the need arises among the communities, to keep in touch with them at all times as far as international cross-border issues are concerned,” he pointed out.

Additionally, he indicated that the sensitisation of the communities along the borders would go a long way to help address issues of common threats that tended to impede the common boundaries.

While admitting that there had been encroachments around the buffer zones of the land boundaries of both countries due to community expansions, he expressed the hope that by the close of the year, a substantive report would be presented to the governments of both countries to trigger the needed action.

Key step

The Permanent Secretary of the Boundary Commission in Burkina Faso, Salimata Dabal, said the meeting was a key step in the reaffirmation process of the land boundaries between the two countries.

Mrs Dabal noted that the meeting was important because it would enable both countries to sign three agreements that would help strengthen the relationship and peaceful habitation along the various borders.

A representative of the German Ambassador to Ghana, Josef Omar, said having well-defined land borders between both countries would go a long way to prevent conflicts and stabilise efforts at peace-building.

He noted that the German government was deeply committed to supporting the African Union to strengthen the various borders of member countries to safeguard the peace and stability in the sub-region.  

The Upper East Regional Minister, Dr Hafiz Bin Salih, said the meeting presented an invaluable opportunity to reaffirm the shared commitment to the principles enshrined in the various agreements and protocols governing the boundaries of both countries.

Writer’s email: [email protected]

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