Abuja, Nigeria, March 09, 2021. The ECOWAS Commission and the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) are strengthening their existing collaboration in peace, security and good governance in West Africa. Steaming from the challenges of peace and security in the region and the complications of the COVID 19 pandemic, the resolve for greater collaboration was the main outcome of a virtual Desk-to-Desk meeting between the ECOWAS Commission and UNOWAS which held on the 9th of March 2021.
Speaking at the opening session of the meeting, the Director of Political Affairs at the ECOWAS Commission, Dr Aderemi Ajibewa, recalled the various areas of common interest between the two institutions and reiterated ECOWAS’ commitment in sustaining this enviable partnership. Dr Remi Ajibewa, who also gave insights to key institutional reforms and political happenings in the region, highlighted the jointly adopted workplans and the various joint activities in support of regional peace and stability, including High Level Preventive Diplomacy missions in support of Member States’ electoral processes. He stated further that the Desk-to-Desk presented a veritable platform for ECOWAS departments and directorates to identify areas of collaboration with UNOWAS and alignment of various sectorial agenda.
On his part, the Director of Political Affairs at UNOWAS, Mr Moudjib Djinadou, gave an overview of the last Desk-to-Desk meeting in October 2019, noting that challenges including the advent of the COVID19 pandemic had hampered full implementation of agreed joint activities. He remained optimistic that with the common resolve of both organisations, much more will be achieved in the coming months and beyond. He informed the meeting that the UNOWAS Liaison Office located in Abuja, will now be effectively functional, and said that the office manned by a senior officer will further facilitate collaboration and synergy with ECOWAS.
Participants at the workshop included, UNOWAS heads of Cluster and political officers, staff of ECOWAS political Affairs, Peace Keeping and Regional Security, Humanitarian, Communication and Early Warning Directorates. Discussions centered on recent key institutional as well as political developments, strengthening joint communication and identification of joint programmes/activities for 2021.