Press Releases

ECOWAS Commission engages permanent representatives on 2019 Peace and Security outlook

30 Apr, 2019
L-R Bri.Gen Yusuf, Dr. Remi Ajibewa, Amb Babatunde Nurudeen, Dr. Oyinye Onwuka, and WANEP Programme and Madam Levinia Addae-Mensah

Abuja, 29th April 2019. The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is engaging its Permanent Representatives on the 2019 peace and security outlook with a view of engendering greater stability of the region.

To this end, the Commission held its quarterly thematic briefing with its accredited Ambassadors on the 29th of April 2019 in Abuja, Nigeria in order to enhance collaboration, facilitate exchange of information and a robust experience sharing with ECOWAS Member States.

Addressing the Ambassadors during the meeting, the ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Political; Affairs, Peace and Security Gen Francis Behanzin emphasized that the thematic workshops are a useful platform for the strengthening of reflections on specific topics and a broad range of peace and security issues as they relate to the region

Represented by the Commission’s Director of Political Affairs Dr. Remi Ajibewa, he alluded to the timeliness of theme of the Workshop, noting that “ECOWAS Member States have agreed to respect democratic principles and the ECOWAS Commission stands ready to provide all the support needed to enable each government to deliver on its democratic promises”

Recalling that the region has experienced several challenges having to do with peace and security in 2018 with particular reference to Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Nigeria and Togo, he stressed that even with the subsequent democratic successes recorded, “the security issues in the countries of the region continue to pose challenges” while democratic processes are very often a source of conflict owing to poor democratic governance.

Full view of ECOWAS Ambassadors and participants

Commissioner Behanzin however expressed optimism that the interactions with the Ambassadors will allow for a better understanding of the situation and “find the best roadmap to follow in order to face the challenges of regional peace and security”

In his remarks, the chairman of the Permanent Representatives Committee and Nigeria’s Ambassador to ECOWAS Amb Babatunde Nurudeen stated that the brainstorming sessions were meant to update the Ambassadors on the current state of peace and security in West Africa in order to enhance collaboration, facilitate exchange of information and experience sharing between the Directorate of Political Affairs of the Commission and the ECOWAS Ambassadors.

The delegates, he noted, were presented the 2019 outlook of peace and security “in order for them to proffer sustainable response on how to achieve regional stability, tap from the experience of past ambassadors in the management of political processes”

Elaborating the role of civil society in the promotion of peace and security, he noted the capacity of the Workshop to bring the Permanent Representatives up to speed on the current security challenges in the region including active and non-active conflicts.

Stressing that the utmost attention must be paid to the processes, he said further: “We all know that without peace, there can be no rapid economic transformation which we are yearning for”.

Welcoming the delegates earlier, the Commission’s Head, International Cooperation Division Mrs Onyiye Onwuka disclosed the willingness to tap from the experiences of the Ambassadors in navigating the regional peace and security waters, reflective of their valuable contributions at the ECOWAS statutory meetings.

Detailed Presentations including reviews and recommendations, were made by the Chief of staff of the ECOWAS Standby Force Brig-Gen Usman Yusuf and the Programme Officer of WANEP Madam Levinia Addae-Mensah on the peace and security challenges in the region. Also included were lessons learnt, as well as civil society intervention strategy in support of the implementation of the ECOWAS ECOWAS peace and security Agenda.

There were also interventions, contributions, clarifications as well as exchange of information between the Ambassadors and ECOWAS Commission officials from the Directorates and Divisions of Mediation and Facilitation, Peacekeeping and Regional Security, Political Affairs, External Relations, Early Warning, Education as well as the ECOWAS Peace and Conflict Prevention Framework (ECPF).

The stand out themes for discussions included new security threats, organized cross-border crime, violent extremism, issues having to do with the use of the ECOWAS Biometric Card as well as security challenges including the outbreak of terrorism in some Member Countries.

The second in the series, the thematic briefing additionally provided a platform to further x-ray the entire gamut of peace and security in the region with the goal of ensuring that peace, security, unity democracy and good governance are achieved in Member States. The Ambassadors are expected to issue a detailed and validated set of recommendations of the meeting.

Member States