Press Releases

ECOWAS and USAID collaborate on social inclusion to enhance Peace and Security in west Africa

02 Jul, 2019

Abuja, 2nd June 2019. The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Reacting to Early Warning and Response Data (REWARD) are collaborating on social inclusion to enhance peace and security in the region.

Group Photographs of the participants.

To this end, a two-Day Workshop towards a deeper understanding of the import of social inclusion for the attainment of sustainable peace and security in West Africa got underway on the 2nd of July 2019 in Abuja, Nigeria.

Mainly for the purpose of response planning, the workshop is meant to empower the Focal Points of the ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework (ECPF) in addressing the root causes of violent conflicts including exclusion and identity based marginalisation of groups in a given society.

Welcoming participants to the Workshop, the ECOWAS Commission’s Director of Political Affairs, Dr. Remi Ajibewa highlighted the dynamics of societal evolution and everyday life which necessitates constant learning and adaptation by peace building stakeholders.
According to him, more ground needs to be covered in the area of “operational conflict prevention” while the experience gained from the process is valuable in the development of conflict prevention programmes.
Apart from correct political behavior and magnanimity towards the opposition party by leaders on the saddle, he emphasized the need for more sensitivity to the environment where peace building operations are carried out, in order to bring about meaningful change.
Dr. Ajibewa maintained that it is in recognition of this that the skill-building workshop supports the operationalization and mainstreaming of conflict prevention into ECOWAS’ policies and programs.

L-R Dr. Aderemi Ajibewa, Director Political Affairs, Ecowas Commission in handshake with Maria Joseph, Senior Peace Building Advisor- USAID

He emphasized that the vision of ensuring sustainable peace in West Africa through such programmes is also embodied in other ECOWAS policy instruments such as the 1993 Revised Treaty, 1999 Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security, and the 2001 Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance.

He noted that, in the instruments that guide the ECOWAS Peace and Security architecture, specific provisions were made to address the exclusion of socially vulnerable groups, including women and youth, that and foreclose a situation where the achievement of peaceful co-existence within and between communities is undermined.

The Chief of Party of USAID REWARD, Mr. Alimou Diallo, congratulated ECOWAS for taking another practical step in realizing its objective of an “ECOWAS of the People” by involving all relevant stakeholders in the spectrum of early warning and response.

“This social inclusion workshop provides a unique opportunity for ECOWAS in general, and the ECPF Focal Points in particular, to address some of the long-standing causes of conflict in the region- related to perceived or real marginalization and exclusion that drive groups and communities to mobilize for hostile purposes” He added.
He said further that in line with the USAID development objectives for West Africa, the workshop was premised on the self-evident need to recognize the dignity of all persons irrespective of their social, political, physical, economic, and cultural identities or status.

Stemming from the overview of the workshop’s agenda given by the senior Peacebuilding Advisor of the Karuna Centre for Peacebuilding Maria Jessop, the ECOWAS Commission’s Director, Humanitarian and Social Affairs Dr. Sintiki Ugbe and the Senior Research Fellow at Kings College, London, Dr. Olawale Ismail made presentations on social inclusion policy trends and youth inclusion respectively.

No fewer than 35 participants from various Directorates at the ECOWAS Commission, including the Early Warning, Political Affairs, Peacekeeping and Regional Security, Humanitarian, Gender and Social Affairs, Strategic Planning, Communication and External Relations are participating in the Workshop. The participants constitute the 15 components of the ECPF.

Member States