In 2014, the Danish Demining Group (DDG) began implementing programmes focusing on border communities in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Tunisia in order to address the trans-national character of armed violence and crime in the Sahel-Sahara Region. As one of the first initiatives under this umbrella, DDG began a border security and management project in July 2014 in the Tunisian city of Ben Guerdane and later in 2015 in Dehiba, addressing key concerns along the Libyan-Tunisian border.
Communities in southeast Tunisia face numerous security challenges. Persistent crisis in Libya has generated serious cross-border concerns posed by smuggling of illicit goods, poor relations between Libyan and Tunisian border officials, frequent violent protests and youth involvement in violent extremism and dangerous migration. Parallel to this, communities face socio-political marginalization, endemic underdevelopment and high unemployment, which may act as push factors into violent or risky activities such as dangerous migration or violent extremism.
In February 2018, DDG launched a new project, supported by the Canadian government, which seeks to build on past successes in Ben Guerdane and Dehiba by reaching across the border to Libyan sister cities of Zuwara and Nalut/ Wazin. As such, this project seeks to:
- Strengthen analysis and intervention by local communities in their own conflicts
- Enhance empowerment of local communities to advocate on their own behalf with respect to border management policy
DDG focuses on supporting local communities to foster positive cross-border relations through monitoring of conflict and design of violence prevention initiatives, as well as through advocacy to help communities take the lead in developing their own local strategies to manage border tensions.