|Abuja, November 10, 2021. In collaboration with the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA), the De-partment of Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS) of the ECOWAS Commission, held a two day brainstorming workshop on the operationalization of the Guidelines on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) of the PAPS Department from 8-9 November, 2021, in Lagos , Nigeria.
Among others, the Workshop sought to promote understanding of the roles and responsibili-ties of PAPS staff, the ECOWAS Social Affairs and Gender Department and other stakeholders in the implementation of the PAPS Guidelines as well as the enhancement of inter-departmental collaboration on the operationalization of the Guidelines while proposing areas of cooperation between ECOWAS and its partners on the WPS agenda. Participants also explored ways of es-tablishing linkages between PAPS programs, the Guidelines and international, continental and regional frameworks on WPS.
At the opening of the workshop the Head of Division, Mediation and Coordination of Regional Political Affairs (MCRPA) Dr. Onyinye Onwuka noted the traction made by PAPS in the WPS agenda within the last four years.
Dr. Onwuka, who spoke on behalf of the Commissioner, PAPS, General Francis Behanzin cited increased capacity, skills as well as knowledge on the importance of women’s participation and protection in conflict prevention, mediation and peace building initiatives on account of the support given by FBA partners. “Our Department has indeed become more gender sensitive and responsive in its daily peace and security activities and programmes due to FBAs technical assistance” She emphasized.
Apart from exploring plans and future cooperation between FBA and ECOWAS’ PAPS, the Workshop updated the terms of reference of the PAPS WPS Committee and other avenues to strenghten the structure and terms of reference more effective, in view of emerging threats to regional peace and security. It also envisioned next steps and potential activities for 2022.
Also in attendance at the Workshop were representatives of the Goodluck Jonathan Founda-tion and the GIZ ECOWAS Peace and Security Architecture and Operations (EPSAO) project, the ECOWAS Gender Centre and members of the PAPS WPS Committee.
It would be recalled that the WPS Guidelines were validated by ECOWAS stakeholders in Octo-ber 2020 and launched in April 2021.