Forum on the Engagement of Border Communities in the Region of Sikasso in Mali and Provinces of Houet, Kénédougou, Comoé, and Léraba in Burkina Faso in Border Management

Participants at the forum on the engagement of border communities in Mali and Burkina Faso in border management. IOM/Mali

Participants at the forum on the engagement of border communities in Mali and Burkina Faso in border management. IOM/Mali

Sikasso – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Mali and Burkina Faso, in collaboration with the National Border Directorate of Mali and Permanent Secretariat of the National Borders Commission of Burkina Faso, organized an innovative regional forum from 13 to 15 February 2024 at the Hôtel du Cinquantenaire in Sikasso, Mali, aimed at strengthening border community engagement in the management of the borders between the Sikasso region in Mali and the provinces of Houet, Kénédougou, Comoé and Léraba in Burkina Faso. This event, which is crucial for cross-border dialogue, provided an opportunity to share experiences, prevent conflicts and facilitate effective cross-border cooperation through greater community engagement.

The event brought together representatives of local authorities from Mali and Burkina, security forces, community leaders, conflict management experts, as well as representatives of international organizations and civil society. Together, they explored mechanisms for cross-border cooperation in preventing conflict and promoting security, while developing strategic recommendations for cross-border policies involving local communities.

The plenary sessions, interactive workshops and round tables covered a variety of topics ranging from border security to community engagement and cross-border economic cooperation. These discussions highlighted conflict prevention and peace-building initiatives, underlining the importance of inclusive border management.

The discussions and workshops aimed to produce strategic recommendations for strengthening cross-border cooperation and security. These recommendations stem from a deep commitment to border management that values conflict prevention and peace promotion, highlighting both countries’ shared commitment to a secure, open, and inclusively managed border.

“The activities starting today mark a practical and highly relevant response to cross-border cooperation and cohesion among the border communities of Mali and Burkina Faso,” said the representative of the Governor of the Sikasso Region, Chief of Staff of the Governor’s Office, Mr Bernard Coulibaly.

Mrs Salimata Dabal, Permanent Secretary of the National Borders Commission of Burkina Faso, welcomed the forum, stating that “only consultation and dialogue will enable border communities to become effectively involved in the management of this area, which is often perceived as an obstacle, but which can also become an opportunity for the joint development of the region.”

The Head of IOM Sikasso sub-office, Ezechiel Coulibaly, said: “The exchanges and partnerships set up here are essential to building safer and more welcoming borders, through close collaboration between neighbouring countries.”

The Mayor of the rural commune of Finkolo AC in Mali, Mr Drissa Ouattara, also expressed his enthusiasm: “We now feel more listened to and involved in the security and development of our region. This forum has given us a platform to express our needs and ideas.”

The workshop was organized as part of the project “Improving border management and community engagement in the Sikasso region and beyond” (Amélioration de la gestion des frontières et de l’engagement communautaire dans la région de Sikasso et au-delà), funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. This initiative shows the sustained commitment to more collaborative and inclusive border management, which is essential for the security and sustainable development of the region.

This forum is just a first step in strengthening cross-border cooperation between the Sikasso region and the provinces of Burkina Faso. The strategic recommendations developed during this event will guide future actions, ensuring effective follow-up for border management which is respectful of local communities and promotes peace and sustainable development.


For more information, please contact :

Alhousseyni Traoré, Senior Project Assistant, 

SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals