The West and Central Africa region is affected by a combination of factors making it vulnerable to illicit trafficking, organized crime, terrorism and drug abuse. This is particularly due to its geographic location, mid‐way between South America and Europe, porous national borders, long coastline as well as weak public service infrastructures. Many countries in the region have vast territory and borders are located either in very remote or densely populated areas, thus making law enforcement activities particularly difficult to conduct in an efficient manner. The porous nature of the borders in West and Central Africa is a major factor of insecurity: the borders are neither demarcated nor sufficiently controlled.
Border areas in the region are usually known to be areas of illicit trafficking. They could serve as areas of intervention and movement for armed groups, including armed terrorist groups. These criminal and terrorist activities threaten security, stability, and peace in the region. In addition, the issue of cross-border criminal activities, such as trafficking in drugs, persons, firearms and cigarettes, terrorism and money-laundering can also be linked to persons or organizations located well beyond the African continent.
UNODC assists Member States in all aspects of strengthening border management in West and Central Africa, and builds capacity of countries in seaports, airports and land border crossings in order to prevent cross-border illicit flows. UNODC uses an integrated approach in the fight against illicit trafficking and organized crime, including the global dimension of addressing transnational trafficking routes by:
Enhancing border management capacities across the region at strategic locations;
Improving national and cross‐border coordination between law enforcement agencies;
Strengthening the capacities to collect, analyze and disseminate information;
Analyze and harmonize legal frameworks to facilitate controlled deliveries;
Fostering international collaboration to conduct cross‐border investigations and better exchange of information.