The borderlands of the Greater Horn of Africa (GHoA) are largely zones of recurrent human security crises. This is due to an interplay of their socio-ecological systems, political and economic developments, and the impact of humanitarian and military interventions. Border management is largely inefficient in that it does not provide basic physical security, forcing borderland communities to arm themselves to be able to fend off attacks. Simultaneously, a century of colonial and post-colonial aid and development policies has resulted in consequent chronic food insecurity, high unemployment rates, extreme precariousness of livelihoods, and increasing dependency on all kinds of (mainly international) aid. Yet, borders and borderlands are also spaces of opportunities in the form of vibrant cross border economies, productive and resilient socio-ecological systems, knowledge on how to make efficient and sustainable use of renewable resources, and sophisticated conflict management and equitable resource sharing systems. The purpose of this report is to provide the Borderlands Working Group (BWG) with a review of pertinent literature on key issues affecting borders and the borderlands of GHoA. The BWG is a collaboration between ten agencies working in border regions of East Africa.
The BWG aims to influence discourse, policy, and practice on border security and management in East Africa from a community-centred approach. The main borderlands covered in the report are: Ethiopia-South Sudan; Elemi Triangle/Ateker Cluster borders in Kenya-Uganda-Ethiopia-South Sudan; and Somali Borderlands in Kenya-Ethiopia-Somalia. While the general interest in and readiness to cooperate across sectors is encouraging, it remains to be established how exactly this cooperation should take place, which issues require priority, and which gaps in knowledge and understanding need to be filled. Therefore, the report also lays out a set of recommendations on how knowledge about borders/borderlands can inform policy and practice.