In 2007, in Addis-Abeba (Ethiopia), the African Union set up a program called Bounder program. Two tasks were given to the program: to prevent conflicts and to promote integration policies. At the time the program was launched only a quarter of Africans boundaries were defined.
Since its creation some programs were developed in borderlands.
Yesterday began in Accra (Ghana) a pan-African conference on maritime boundaries and on the continental shelf for the implementation of the African Union Bonder Program (known as AUBP). The conference was organized under the auspices of the AUBP and of the Republics of Ghana and of Norway. Many organizations were partners: the UNO Division of Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea, the International Hydrographical Organization (IHO), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the Commission on Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), the International Seabed Authority (ISA) and the International Oceanographic Commission (IOC).
Boundary experts from member countries of the African Union are meeting to come up with a policy for the demarcation of African land and of maritime boundaries.
It is important to note that the conference is taking place at a very important period. Indeed, some countries currently have troubles with their maritime boundaries. A current example, very relevant, is the situation between Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Indeed, last March, DRC’s Minister of Hydrocarbons decided to define their maritime boundaries. Since this announcement, the situation worsened. Angola and DRC started to deport citizens from the other country. On stakes are maritime spaces with hydrocarbons in the subsoil (for more information on the subject, see the article “Bruits de bottes à la frontiere RDC/Angola”).
In the mean time, the convention on law of the sea allows States to extend their continental shelf beyond the 200 nautical Miles*. To extend this, they must submit the project to the Commission on Limits of the Continental Shelf. It is a new occasion for states to argue on the subject.
This meeting in Accra could prepare some experts to intervene for prevent conflicts.
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