Peace building experts, others, urge ECOWAS to animate the implementation of its Conflict Prevention Framework26 May, 2019
Abuja, 24th May 2019. Conflict prevention experts, senior officials, partners of the peacebuilding process and regional security architecture stakeholders have urged the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to demonstrate the leadership required for the development of sustainable mechanisms to generate funds for the implementation of the ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework (ECPF).
This was the hallmark of the 3-Day conference to mark a decade of the operationalisation of the ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework (ECPF) which ended on the 24th of May 2019 in Abuja, Nigeria.
Through the communique issued at the end of the conference which embody a set of recommendations, the participants encouraged the Management of the ECOWAS Commission to dedicate a percentage of the Community Levy to the implementation of the ECPF in order to meet the funding challenge relative to fostering endurable peace in the region.
In the same vein, the regional organization was urged to strengthen the communication and collaboration channels between the ECOWAS Commission, Member States, Civil Society and local stakeholders in order to promote a better relationship between regional and national actors, while encouraging the spirit of collaboration and cohesion within the various ECPF implementing directorates.
Stressing the need to leverage on regional High Level meetings to inform ECOWAS Heads of States on the importance on the proactive implementation of the ECPF and other legal instruments, participants urged the ECOWAS institutions and agencies to “take deliberate steps towards mainstreaming gender in conflict prevention from the policy formulation to the implementation stage”.
Relatedly, ECOWAS Member States were charged to strengthen good governance practices and discourage reversals of democracy. Importantly, they were implored to develop national policies which target the empowerment of youth and encourage their engagement in peace building initiatives, alongside citizens’ rights protection.
While the Civil Society Organizations (SCOs) in the region were urged to be consistent in their advocacy and demand for the respect of human rights and good governance in Member States, the Development Partners were encouraged among others, to be flexible in its cooperation with ECOWAS on financing conflict prevention initiatives.
Participants also agreed that multi-actor and multi-dimensional efforts are required for successful conflict prevention initiatives, necessitating the strengthening of partnerships between ECOWAS, the United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU), Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and other international bodies.
They highlighted the intervention of ECOWAS in Guinea, Liberia and Niger as success stories. But noted that trans-national crimes, farmer-herders conflicts, cyber-crime, piracy, communal clashes, violent extremism, terrorism, political instability, amongst others forms part of the current threats to peace and security in the region.
In addition to high population growth, the prevalence of out-of-school children and the vulnerability of unemployed which were roundly identified as “some of the most pressing threats to peace and security” necessitating the education of youth on the culture of peace and their engagement in peace building, social and development related projects.
At the closing ceremony of the conference, deserving officials and peacebuilding activists were also given awards for their immense contributions to conflict prevention. The President of the ECOWAS Commission Jean-Claude Kassi Brou led the list that also included the United Nations Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, General Francis Behanzin, Mahamane Toure, Mrs. Halima Ahmed, Mrs. Salamatu Suleiman, Dr. Abdel-Fatau Musah, Dr. Aderemi Ajibewa, Director, Political Affairs, Dr. Cyriaque Agnekethom, Dr. Lat Gueye, Dr. Sintiki Ugbe, Mr. Pascal Holliger, and Dr. Tunde Afolabi.
Before reaching their conclusions, participants and panellists- comprising former and present decision makers of ECOWAS, examined the lessons learned from regional and national conflict prevention approaches from previous and present ECOWAS engagements in Peace and Security in Member States, persistent and emerging threats to human security in West Africa and the need to rethink and refocus structural conflict prevention, partnerships and collaboration between ECOWAS and other international organizations on conflict prevention-opportunities and forward-looking approaches, among others.