The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XL-4/W3
02 Dec 2013
 | 02 Dec 2013

International boundary experiences by the United Nations

A. Kagawa

Keywords: Boundary, United Nations Cartographic Section, international boundary issues, Geospatial technology application

Abstract. Over the last few decades, the United Nations (UN) has been approached by Security Council and Member States on international boundary issues. The United Nations regards the adequate delimitation and demarcation of international boundaries as a very important element for the maintenance of peace and security in fragile post-conflict situations, establishment of friendly relationships and cross-border cooperation between States. This paper will present the main principles and framework the United Nations applies to support the process of international boundary delimitation and demarcation activities. The United Nations is involved in international boundary issues following the principle of impartiality and neutrality and its role as mediator. Since international boundary issues are multi-faceted, a range of expertise is required and the United Nations Secretariat is in a good position to provide diverse expertise within the multiple departments. Expertise in different departments ranging from legal, political, technical, administrative and logistical are mobilised in different ways to provide support to Member States depending on their specific needs.

This presentation aims to highlight some of the international boundary projects that the United Nations Cartographic Section has been involved in order to provide the technical support to different boundary requirements as each international boundary issue requires specific focus and attention whether it be in preparation, delimitation, demarcation or management. Increasingly, the United Nations is leveraging geospatial technology to facilitate boundary delimitation and demarcation process between Member States.

Through the presentation of the various case studies ranging from Iraq – Kuwait, Israel – Lebanon (Blue Line), Eritrea – Ethiopia, Cyprus (Green Line), Cameroon – Nigeria, Sudan – South Sudan, it will illustrate how geospatial technology is increasingly used to carry out the support. In having applied a range of geospatial solutions, some of the good practices that have been applied in preceding projects, but there have been challenges and limitations faced. However, these challenges need to be seen as an opportunity to improve the geospatial technology solutions in future international boundary projects. This presentation will also share the aspirations that the United Nations Cartographic Section has in becoming a facilitator in geospatial technical aspects related to international boundary issues as we increasingly develop our geospatial institutional knowledge base and expertise. The presentation will conclude by emphasizing the need for more collaboration between different actors dealing with geospatial technology on borderland issues in order to meet the main goal of the United Nations – to live and work together as "We the Peoples of the United Nations".