Governmental experts urge ECOWAS to establish monitoring and support mechanism for security sector reform and governance15 Aug, 2018
Abuja, August 13th 2018. Governmental experts of Member States have urged the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to establish a monitoring and support mechanism for Security Sector Reform and Governance (SSRG).
The experts, after their two-day meeting in Abuja, Nigeria which ended on the 8th of August 2018, validated the SSRG Action Plan and made a body of recommendations with a view of improving National Ownership and Implementation of SSRG in Member States.
Other key recommendations bordered on the need for ECOWAS to sensitize political decision makers in Member States in order to address and strengthen political will, national commitment and national responsibility for SSRG.
Besides, the experts maintained that to promote a culture of SSRG consolidation, platforms for experience sharing, learning and coordination on SSRG should be institutionalized, including making the Governmental Experts Meeting an annual event.
The experts also called for the development of model national SSRG policy and legal framework which may guide Member States in strengthening SSRG while expanding capacity building support to enable Member States fulfil their national security responsibility to the people and enhance national ownership.
They further suggested the expansion of ECOWAS SSRG support to all security services in Member States as a means to conflict prevention, rather than focusing mainly on reform of the defence sector and peace support operations. Related to this is the undertaking of research to capture new waves of development pertinent to SSRG.
Participants at the meeting also recommended to Member States to address coordination and leadership among multilateral and technical partners supporting SSRG to avoid duplication of efforts and enable efficient channeling of resources to areas of most need.
They stressed the need for homegrown SSRG initiatives to be developed from an African and West African perspective which would focus on local content and context rather than adopting foreign precepts.
Political leaders, they maintained, should establish and strengthen platforms for dialogue and engagement between the people, their leaders and security services.
Regarding national structures for security governance, the experts called for Institutionalized Interagency Working Group (IWG) on SSRG (for Member States that are yet to set up one) to improve coherence, coordination, joint planning, monitoring and evaluation. Such governance structure would be complemented by the appointment of National Focal Points for SSRG to liaise with ECOWAS Commission and other Member States as a means to enhancing synergy and information sharing.
They further urged Member States with formal SSGR processes, programmes and strategies to communicate their framework documents to ECOWAS Commission and to encapsulate the core principles and essential features of SSRG in their National Security Policy and SSRG strategies in order to guarantee sustainability.
In his closing remarks, the chair of session and Assistant Director from the Nigerian Ministry of Defence, Mr. Ashigye Willie John, thanked participants for their robust contributions noting that the recommendations proffered would go a long way in improving transparency, accountability, responsibility, responsiveness, efficiency and effectiveness in the security sector.
Participants at the Abuja meeting composed of representatives from each Member State drawn from Ministries of Interior, Defence, Justice and/or Foreign Affairs, Directorates of the ECOWAS Commission Interdepartmental Working Group on SSRG and representatives of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), National Defence College of Nigeria (NDC) and Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC).