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ECOWAS strengthens capacity of its Early Warning Directorate on governance and human rights
The director of Early Warning, Dr. Abdou Lat Gueye, and the permanent representative of Nigeria to ECOWAS, Ambassador Babatunde Nurudeen

Abuja, 11th July 2017. In furtherance of the mandate to maintain peace and security in the region, ECOWAS Commission is strengthening the capacity of its Early Warning Directorate (EWD) in handling governance and human rights issues.

To this end, a three-Day Workshop was organized from 3rd to the 5th of July 2017 in Abuja, Nigeria to among others, widen the scope of the EWD while reinforcing its thematic analysis to include the monitoring of gender based violence, breaches in the constitution and the rule of law (particularly in the electioneering process) as well as the infringement of human rights in Member States.

The workshop also provided an opportunity to convene relevant experts to cross-fertilize ideas on the key regional issues of good governance and human rights which impacts on the long term structural vulnerabilities and serve as early warning indicators.

Speaking on the need to strengthen the ECOWAS Peace and Security Architecture during the Workshop, the ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Political Affairs Peace and Security, Mrs. Halima Ahmed, reiterated that ECOWAS is shifting from a reactionary response mechanism to a holistic response system that emphasizes prevention of human insecurity in the region.

The Commissioner, who was represented by the Commissioner for General Administration and Conference, Mr. Stephen Nartey, also highlighted the importance of the ECOWAS Warning and Response Network (ECOWARN) as a tool for regional security and solidarity.

She noted that there is now a high need for an examination of the key regional factors of governance and human rights which portend long term structural vulnerabilities.

Group photo

According to the Commissioner, early warning indicators in this regard will be pertinent in order to meet the needs of those responsible for implementing the response to early warning alerts.

“The ECOWAS Early Warning System has made giant strides over the years. Presently the System is capacitated to systematically monitor peace and security in the region through a network of field monitors, human security indicators and state of art Geographic Information System(GIS) tools providing real-time information and data for short, mid and long term trend analysis.” The Commissioner added.

In his closing ceremony remarks, the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to ECOWAS, Ambassador Babatunde Nurudeen noted that the three-day exercise had achieved its key objective of identifying the critical issues of Governance and Human Rights that are inimical to human security, thus serving as early warning indicators.

Maintaining that conflict prevention through conflict Early Warning is the bedrock of the ECOWAS peace and security architecture, he stressed: “There is no gainsaying that once we fully develop our capacity in Early Warning and Response, to the point that it effectively prevents or mitigates conflict in the region, then we would have achieved a major milestone towards our collective progress as a community”.

He expressed his delight with the attainment of the key objectives of the Workshop which included the way forward on critical issues of transparent, democratic and accountable environment in the respect of Human Rights and the Rule of Law, as well as reducing fragility, fostering political stability and effective governance including sustainable inclusive development and growth. The findings of the Workshop, he enthused will inform the review of ECOWARN on the identified issues.

A view of the participants

The Workshop participants emphasized the need for the Early Warning System to monitor issues concerning youth bulge and unemployment, the dearth of strong institutions and corruption in Member States.

The participants included high level Experts from the academia, specialized institutions, international organizations, Electoral Management Bodies, Civil Society organizations and Members of the Executive and Legislative arms of Government.

Some of the participants of the Workshop

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