Abuja 30th January 2019. The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has urged effective and integrated approaches to conflict prevention in order to achieve the goals of a more stable, prosperous region.
The charge was given at the start of 3-Day special retreat for Focal Points of the ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework (ECPF) at Goshen city, Nigeria.
In his opening remark, the ECOWAS Commission’s Director of Political Affairs Dr. Remi Ajibewa noted that a lot is expected of the ECPF which has just began its second decade of work.
He urged the Components to demonstrate the resolve of proving their relevance to Member States.
Speaking on the theme of the retreat-Resourcing and Implementing Conflict Prevention Programmes, he charged participants to be diligent in exploring regional conflict trends and to build synergies among crosscutting issues.
In his goodwill message, the chief of Party of the Reacting to Early Warning and Response Data in West Africa (REWARD) of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mr. Alimou Diallo commended the willingness to work collectively and chart appropriate ways of preventing violent conflicts and build peaceful communities for the region.
He stated that peace and security issues are no longer the sole preserve of governments as peace building human security is the collective responsibility of all stakeholders.
He said ECOWAS, through the ECPF has now demonstrated this understanding by fostering a platform for collaborative peacebuilding and conflict prevention within the ECOWAS Commission through the Member States.
According to him, “Over the past two decades, the degree of destructive conflicts witnessed in the West African region has been alarming and disturbing. Indeed, violent conflicts have greatly retarded the social, economic, and political development agenda of the region and the destruction in human and material resources has been enormous”.
He opined that the region continues to be affected by pervasive threats to Human Security including terrorism and violent extremism; climate change and natural disasters, organized trans-border crime, illegal migration, trafficking of all sorts: (drug, human, arms and ammunitions), piracy and armed robbery at sea, money laundering, cybercrime, outbreaks of epidemics, pandemics, and governance failures underpinned by weak electoral processes.
In addressing these challenges, he said there has become a need to develop more effective and integrated approaches for promoting peace and stability while collaborating with various stakeholders at the strategic level, and across sectors has become imperative.
Mr. Diallo also disclosed that USAID REWARD has been working with the ECOWAS Directorates of Early Warning, Political Affairs, Peace and Security, and to a lesser degree the Directorate of Peacekeeping and Regional Security aimed at bolstering early warning and response in aid of the ECOWAS peacebuilding efforts and generally reduce the risk of violence in the region.
The retreat is reviewing of current best practices in designing conflict prevention projects, sharing of progress and challenges in implementing action plans, exploring regional conflict trends and the adaptation as well as prioritisation of conflict prevention programmes to meet emerging threats.
Additionally, the interface is meant to sensitise the ECPF Secretariat, ECOWAS management, partners as well as Focal Points on the evolving resource mobilisation strategy for the ECPF Action Plans, build synergies among the cross-cutting issues under each ECPF component while sharing best practices in project management and implementation.
Through presentations and panel discussions, the retreat also affords participants the opportunity to assess the new developments in regional peace and security context as well as its implication for ECOWAS conflict prevention efforts, among others.