Everyday tales and stories from the border regions of Europe and beyond, with the aim of explaining why we border-crossers are as obsessed as we are about this subject, why it is important to all of us, and why the co-operation community needs a little bit more visibility than it normally gets.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Programme of the week: Oresund-Kattegat-Skagerrak

I haven't had a programme of the week for a while (programme of the season might be more accurate), so it is good to designate the new Oresund-Kattegat-Skagerrak for this week: www.interreg-oks.eu. The name is a bit of a mouthful for non-Scandinavians, so the abbreviation OKS is very welcome.

This is an particularly interesting programme, as it is made up two distinct areas. One area has long experience of co-operation and INTERREG - the Oresund area, while the other - Kattegat-Skagerrak - is newly eligible for EU funding. Oresund, with its bridge and the Copenhagen-Malmo axis, evidently has a significant urban dimension, along with aspects linked to the cross-border labour market. Kattegat-Skagerrak is a larger, more rural and maritime area (although with Gothenburg and Oslo is has a urban element too), and will be building from a more basic starting point.

The website is well designed and already contains much background information. It is in Danish/Swedish only at the moment, but I am sure that English language info will be added to demonstrate successes!

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Latest cross-border news from Africa

Early on in this blog, I noted some cross-border initiatives on-going in Africa. I am pleased to report that the African Union's Border Programme has taken several steps forward. Indeed, as I type there is a seminar taking place in Djibouti where a team of experts are finalising the Action Plan for the Border Programme.

The Programme is particularly interesting, as it combines several elements. In addition to the aim of encouraging the classic "INTERREG"-style programmes and projects, it also aims to build exchanges of experiences, not only across Africa, but also with other continents. Last but not least, it aims to deal with the continuing issue of delimitation and demarcation of African borders. A poisoned chalice left by the colonial powers, many African borders are poorly defined, uncertain and most are not marked out on the ground.

This is going to provide a series of challenges, not least in co-ordinating the different elements. Nevertheless, it is encouraging to see such ambition. The scale of borders in Africa is astonishing: the number of borders which exceed 1,000km (some even exceed 2,000km) is far greater than the figures for Europe. Ambition is a requirement - as is optimism.

The Programme is certainly needed (as is the funding!) Good luck to them.

Still still here

I know that the idea of a blog is to keep it fairly up-to-date, but a series of unfortunate events has prevented this happening recently. I will try to improve, although a full relaunch may need to wait until the New Year. As a minimum, the news links will be updated, as there is an awful lot of CBC activity at the moment.