Kenya and Ethiopia share cross-border peace initiative experiences on the margins of UNGA

On 1 October 2018, representatives from the Governments of Ethiopia and Kenya shared experiences from a cross-border peace initiative that aims to prevent violent extremism and conflict in border regions. Addressing the nexus between security and development bodies by focusing on resilience building, fighting marginalization, and emphasizing the role of youth and women, the event also included participants from the European Union (EU), intergovernmental organizations, and the United Nations – including the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) – who talked about their understanding of and lessons learned in this area in the Horn of Africa.

Under-Secretary-General Vladimir Voronkov, Head of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), told participants that it was critical to recognize the importance of border security and the challenges that many countries face in preventing the transnational movements of terrorists.

“Borders have traditionally been hubs of commercial activity and, at times, flashpoints for conflict. Cross-border movement, including for those seeking a better livelihood or escaping terrorism, are all affecting the world,” said Michèle Coninsx, Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Director of CTED. Referring to the joint visit by CTED and UNOCT to Kenya in July 2018, she commended how the drafting and implementation of county action plans increased ownership among communities and their overall effectiveness.

Held at the United Nations in New York on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA73), the event was co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya and Ethiopia, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The panel was moderated by Mr. Siddharth Chatterjee, the UN Resident Coordinator in Kenya.