A lot more effort is required by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to sustain democratic processes and consolidate economic development and integration in the region.
To this end, the partnership with the ECOWAS diplomatic community is essential for the sustenance of peace and stability, according to the ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, General Francis Behanzin.
General Behanzin made the observations during the second Thematic Briefing with the Permanent Representatives and accredited ECOWAS Ambassadors on the 21st of October 2021.
Noting that the participation of the Ambassadors and Representatives reflected their commitment to peace and security in the ECOWAS region, the Commissioner cited a number of instances of political instability which now require “collective effort from all stakeholders in order to strengthen democratic mechanisms in the region, which is a prerequisite for economic development and integration”.
The Commissioner emphasized ECOWAS’ confidence that the technical assistance, expertise and multifarious support from its partners will help to maintaining political stability while hoping that the exchanges at the meeting will generate practical solutions, capable of providing appropriate responses to new threats to peace in the region.
Also speaking, the Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission Madam Finda Koroma said ECOWAS has taken several steps to foster good governance, social and political inclusion, and adherence to democratic norms and principles, especially concerning the (2001) ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance. Through preventive diplomacy, electoral assistance, and humanitarian missions, and peacekeeping efforts, ECOWAS has continually partnered with state and local actors, as well as civil society organizations, particularly, women and youth groups, to foster dialogue, peacebuilding and political cohesion in our Member States.
Madam Koroma stated that the recent military coups in Mali and Guinea have tested the fortitude and foundation of ECOWAS’ mediation and dispute resolution capabilities as well as the long-held practice of civilian rule across the Member States. Noting some positive steps being taken through the implementation of the ECOWAS Counter-terrorism strategy and action plan against terrorism, she cited the need to eliminate the root causes of terrorism through local dialogue and mediation training, building the capacity of youth in conflict prevention and peacebuilding as well as the reduction of the illicit trafficking of small arms in the region.
Through the National Early Warning and Response Centres, ECOWAS has enhanced the ability of Member States to gain access to credible intelligence reports on the state of insecurity in their polity to enable national security forces to respond to crises in real-time. Vice Preseident koroma hoped that the presentations on the governance, peace and security challenges in the region by the Early Warning Directorate and the reflections on current governance dynamics and the Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good governance by WANEP, would elicit thoughtful deliberations on the next steps for the Commission and its Member States.
His Excellency, M. Eddison Mensah Agbenyegah, Chargé d’Affaires of the Ghana High Commission to ECOWAS and Chair of the Mediation and Security Council at the Ambassadorial Level urged the ambassadors and participants to make positive contributions in order for the goals of the second thematic meeting to be realized.
A report of the meeting is expected to guide further action after a review of the current dynamics and the imperative of the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance.