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ECOWAS validates mediation interventions guidelines

Abuja, 15th July, 2017. The ECOWAS Commission is strengthening its interventions capacity through the validation of a set of guidelines which will increase the professionalization of its mediation process.


The ECOWAS Mediation Guidelines (EMG), which are in accordance with the Community’s legal and normative framework, were validated during a two-day workshop of experts and partners on the 13th and 14th of July 2017, at the ECOWAS Commission Abuja, Nigeria.


The EMGs are meant among others, to create systematic principles for mediators to guarantee more success in achieving peaceful resolution of disputes and conflicts in Member States.


They embody eleven key guiding principles for mediators ranging from early and timely, comprehensive as well as integrated interventions.


The EMGs are also to engender culturally grounded mediation, preparedness at all stages of mediation, consent, impartiality, neutrality and gender sensitivity while ensuring that there is coherence with the ECOWAS and international norms amongst others.


At the opening of the Workshop, the ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Mrs. Halima Ahmed, stated that the guidelines are a necessary tool which will provide practical guidance to mediators, Special Envoys, special and permanent representatives as well as stakeholders taking part in ECOWAS mediation initiatives.


The Commissioner highlighted that even though ECOWAS has made several successful interventions in Member States, ‘the mediation guidelines will further strengthen and complement the work of the institution towards its mandate of peace and security through preventive diplomacy and mediation”


On his part, the ECOWAS Commission’s Director of Political Affairs, Dr. Remi Ajibewa, disclosed that the guidelines take into account the important issues of subsidiarity and consent, adding that “ECOWAS follows international best practice in considering that without consent it is unlikely that parties will negotiate in good faith or be committed to the mediation process”


The Workshop also served as a platform for the Permanent and Special Representatives from Mali and Guinea Bissau to share their experiences on the political and security situations and ECOWAS’ engagements in those countries.


The Mediation Facilitation Division (MFD) of ECOWAS in collaboration with the Conflict Management Institute (CMI) developed the EMG after thorough consultations and interviews with key staff and management of the Commission, as well as other relevant external partners.


Under the Directorate of Political Affairs, the MFD was established in 2015, with the mandate of providing backstopping support to mediation preventive diplomacy efforts of ECOWAS-designated mediators, facilitators, the Council of the Wise, Special Representatives of the President of the Commission. It also manages mediation knowledge and information, capacity building and enhancement of the Commission engagement with relevant institutions, Member States and Civil Society Organizations.


Representatives of the African Union (AU) including a former member of the AU Panel of the Wise Dr. Mary Chinery-Hesse, United Nations Mediation Support Division, and the Conflict Management Institute as well as ECOWAS Permanent and Special Representatives from Liberia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau and Cote d’Ivoire attended the Workshop.


Mrs. Halima Ahmed, Commissioner, Political Affairs, Peace & Security (middle)- Laura Salonen, Programme Management Officer, CMI (right) and Dr. Remi Ajibewa, Director, Political
L-R ECOWAS Special Representatives; Ambassador Cheaka Aboudou Toure; Ambassador Babatunde Ajisomo; Ambassador Babacar Mbaye and Mr. Mohamed Djiakite


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