ECOWAS Commission holds Dialogue on Protection and Human Security Issues with Resident Representatives, National Offices and Partners.05 Jun, 2023
Abuja, Nigeria, 02 June 2023
The ECOWAS Commission, through the Department of Human Development and Social Affairs, organised an Online Dialogue on 1st June, 2023 on Protection and Human Security issues in the region with the ECOWAS Permanent/Resident Representatives, ECOWAS National Offices and Partners. The objective of the Protection and Human Security Program of the Directorate of Humanitarian and Social Affairs, is the institutionalization of a whole of Government/State and Society approach in strengthening the protection web and guaranteeing protection and human security of the individual in the ECOWAS region.
In her Opening Remarks, the Commissioner for Human Development and Social Affairs, Prof. Fatou Sow Sarr, thanked the ECOWAS Permanent/Resident Representatives, National Offices and Partners for attending the Virtual Engagement. She highlighted the importance of protection and human security as basic to the development of the region and emphasized the imperative of protecting the most vulnerable. She identified the human security context of the region as including the impacts of climate change, pandemics, insecurity and poverty, amongst other factors and stated that parts of the population most impacted by rights violations and lapses in the human security (protection) framework, include: women, children, migrants, displaced persons (including refugees and Internally Displaced Persons –IDPs), victims of human trafficking, persons living with disability and stateless persons.
She highlighted the weakening of critical components of the human security infrastructure of society, including child protection, social protection, justice systems and challenges to security sector reforms, humanitarian and disaster risk management architecture, weakened health systems amongst others, as being critical. These were further weakened by the impacts of COVID 19 pandemic and the continuing effects of conflicts and other risk factors.
In setting the stage for the Dialogue, the Director, Humanitarian and Social Affairs, Dr. Sintiki Tarfa Ugbe, highlighted the aim of the Protection and Human Security program as addressing vulnerabilities and building resilience at the level of the individual, families and communities and capacitating the wider social system. She explained that the essence of the current Meeting was to brief the ECOWAS Permanent/Resident Representatives, National Offices and Partners on the current status of implementation of the “In-Country High Level Advocacy, Coordination and Capacity Building of Multi-Stakeholders and Establishment of the ECOWAS Protection and Human Security Integrated Coordination Mechanisms (ECO-PHSICM)” which has taken place in nine out of the fifteen ECOWAS Member States since its commencement in 2021; and is being implemented by the Human Security and Civil Society Division. Also the meeting was focused on charting a path towards the prioritization of the protection and human security approach by Member States in collaboration with the ECOWAS Commission and Partner Organizations in the region.
In their responses, the Resident Representatives highlighted the need for their Offices and the ECOWAS National Offices to collaborate effectively towards the attainment of a secured region. They recommended that the subject also be escalated to higher levels of governance to ensure adequate attention and resourcing.
The meeting was attended by Permanent/Resident Representatives of the President of the ECOWAS Commission in eleven Member States and the Heads of ECOWAS National Offices from 10 Member States.