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UN SEEKS DEVELOPMENT ‘SYNERGIES’ ALONG MODIFIED NIGERIA-CAMEROON BORDER

By UN
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7 December - United Nations officials today launched development efforts to help communities affected by a Nigerian-Cameroonian boundary settlement that saw several border modifications, including Nigeria's transfer to Cameroon of the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula.

At the request of both Governments, the UN country teams (UNCTs) in the two nations met during a meeting chaired by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Special Representative for West Africa Said Djinnit in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, to identify ways to create development programme synergies along the border, including in Bakassi and the Lake Chad area.

“This collaboration between the two UNCTs will contribute to reinforcing confidence-building initiatives,” the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA) said in a news release.

Follow-up actions will build on ongoing reviews of the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) in both countries and development programmes designed by both Governments and UNCTs.

UN support will be based on joint field assessments to identify areas of support in improving living conditions, reinforce confidence in the outcome of the 2002 border ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and provide sustainable development perspectives to the populations concerned.

Mr. Djinnit is chairman of the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission, set up at the request of the two countries to implement the ICJ ruling.

In 2006, in a pact signed under the auspices of former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Nigeria recognized Cameroonian sovereignty over the Bakassi Peninsula on the Gulf of Guinea, a region at the centre of intense and sometimes violent disputes between the African neighbours for decades.