Development approaches to date have tended to design programmes around national development plans, which are implemented within national borders and often overlook the unique challenges of borderlands and their connection to regions outside the national territory. The absence of dedicated borderland programming at a regional level has been a critical gap in developmental policy to date.
In response, UNDP has established the Africa Borderlands Centre, which treats border regions as distinct economic and political zones in their own right. The Borderlands Center offers specialized, expert knowledge and technical advice that will enable the better design, implementation, and adaptation of development programmes for border regions across Africa. It will operate as an expert resource of intelligence, expertise, and experience in support of national governments, inter-governmental agencies, UNDP country offices, UN agencies, development partners and other key stakeholders. The Centre’s work is framed around two pillars:
High quality, policy-oriented research in border regions. The Centre is designed to operate as a thought leader on borderland society, governance, commerce, and security. It will work with a range of partners, including research networks, African academics, development organizations, and the private sector to engage in analysis, research, and innovation that drills down into the complex development issues facing African borderlands. The aim is to build reliable data that is synchronized across borders, in order to promote effective programme planning in the regions surrounding them.
Programme design, high level advocacy, and technical advice. The Centre is action-oriented, and its research will equip policy and decision-makers with more and better data, cutting-edge analysis, lessons learned, and good practices.
The Africa Borderlands Centre offers the following key services:
Knowledge creation for empowering African Borderlands through research and analysis.
Evidence-based policy development and advocacy to promote mainstreaming of borderland issues.
High quality technical and programming advice to design and implement initiatives that sync up across boundaries and that target the root causes of socio-economic deprivation.
Collecting and sharing lessons learned and best practices in borderland activities, de-veloping a toolkit for operating, researching, and programming in border regions that can endure beyond the lifecycle of the project.
Innovating through testing and local adaptation, with a strong emphasis on local voices, recommendations, and feedback from borderland communities.
Supporting the AU, RECs and partner governments to mainstream borderland issues and improve border and borderland policies and sub-regional initiatives.
Empowering Communities and Delivering Sustainable Value Across 20+ African Countries.
The Africa Borderlands Centre is driving inclusive development, promoting sustainable practices, and fostering cross-border cooperation to address regional challenges and unlock the full potential of Africa's diverse borderland regions.
UNDP's Strategic Plan 2022-2025 encourages a portfolio approach to borderlands development, aiming to achieve sustainable and resilient results through a systems perspective, leveraging interventions, and influencing policy development, using analyze-to-predict and prototype-to-learn approaches to address multiple challenges and promote action-learning cycles.