First cross-border project steering committee launched
By Cherno Omar Bobb
The first Cross-Border Project Steering Committee titled: ‘Supporting cross-border cooperation for increased community resilience and social cohesion in The Gambia and Senegal’ was on Tuesday inaugurated and launched.
The launching was presided over by Salimatta E.T. Touray, the secretary general and head of the Civil Service of The Gambia at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara Conference Centre.
The UN Peacebuilding Fund project is jointly implemented by International Organisation for Migration (IOM), The Gambia and Senegal and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), The Gambia and Senegal.
The project’s main objective is to address the causes of instability and conflict in border communities of The Gambia and Senegal, which include weak border management practices fueling mistrust between border authorities and communities; rising transnational organised crimes, such as smuggling of migrants, arms, timber and drugs as well as trafficking in persons; and illegal exploitation of natural resources leading to environmental degradation.
Ms. Touray in her inaugural statement said as key stakeholders in their joint efforts to build and sustain peace, which is necessary not only once conflict has broken out, but long beforehand, through preventing conflict and addressing its root causes must continue to work together across the peace continuum, focusing on all dimensions of conflict.
Madam Touray added that the project would further provide an opportunity for more catalytic cross-border cooperation and peace building initiatives for the benefit of the citizens of our countries and the wider sub-region for shared prosperity, peace, security and stability.
Seraphine Wakana, UN Resident Coordinator, The Gambia, said the project would create foundations for peaceful co-existence in targeted border communities, promote dialogue and build grassroots structures that enhance social cohesion.
She added that the project would also contribute to SDGs, 1, 2, 5, 13, 16 and 17 which are geared towards ending poverty, reducing hunger, promoting gender equality, advancing climate action, building peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, and strengthening partnerships for development.
Amie Gaye, head of RCO, interim economist and senior development coordination officer, Office of the UN Resident Coordinator, United Nations System in Senegal in deputising for Siaka Coulibaly, UN Residence Coordinator in Senegal, said there is an increase in cross-border criminality and the project will tackle the challenges.
Major General Mbaye Cisse, chief of staff, Office of the President, Senegal, described the project as critical for both countries, adding that the project would reduce the vulnerability of both countries’ border communities.