BO Abidjan with the support of its key partners have contributed and made possible the enactment of the National Action Plan for the Eradication of Statelessness (PANEA-CI) by the Government of Côte d’Ivoire at the minister’s council on 08 January 2020. Côte d’Ivoire therefore becomes the ninth of the fifteen ECOWAS states to adopt a National Action Plan against statelessness, following the Declaration of Abidjan of 2015.
The enactment of the NAP against statelessness in principle should not entail any consequences for the country insofar as the initiatives proposed by the Government of Côte d’Ivoire during the 2019 Executive Committee have varied deadlines and can be implemented in a staggered manner over a period of 5 years. The enactment of the NAP would also enable to launch funding procedures for numerous activities and legislative reforms, in particular through the appeal for funds that UNHCR is preparing to launch with regards to tackling statelessness in 12 States including Côte d’Ivoire (Dominican Republic, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, Myanmar, Niger, Philippines, Syria, Thailand, Ukraine and Viet-Nam).
We must, however, already consider that with the election year and the country’s controversial background on nationality, the implementation of the National Action Plan against statelessness will constitute a major challenge in 2020. Still wrongly associated with the issuance of Ivorian citizenship, despite UNHCR’s efforts in terms of public awareness campaigns, statelessness remains a sensitive issue. Given that the crises experienced by the country over the last two decades were mainly related to nationality and the question of “Ivoirité” issues, the current political situation and upcoming elections cannot be considered conducive to the smooth implementation of the NAP as it has already been foreseen by UNHCR Côte d’Ivoire.