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Steering Committee of the ECOWAS-EU Regional Peace, Security and Stability Programme Meets on Projects Implementation

Abuja, 28th July 2020

The fifth meeting of the Project Steering and Coordination Committee of the European Union support to ECOWAS regional Peace, Security and Stability mandate programme (ECOWAS-EU PSS) held on the 28th of July, 2020.
Among other tasks, the Steering Committee reviewed the state of progress of the various components of the programme for the previous implementation period (July 2018 to June 2020).
It also reviewed and approved the implementation work plans of the different components of the programme for the next implementation period (July 2020 to November 2020) and made decisions.
Declaring the virtual meeting open on behalf of the President of the ECOWAS Commission H.E Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, Vice President, H.E. Mrs. Finda Koroma, expressed the appreciation of the Commission to the EU as a major and consistent partner of the Commission.
She noted that support provided by the EU covers a wide spectrum of domains and sectors which include regional integration, infrastructure, trade, migration, Peace and security through different mechanisms of funding, cooperation and collaboration arrangements. This support is being provided through Regional Indicative Programmes and the African Peace Facility within the framework of the 9th 10th and 11th European Development Fund (EDF).
Vice President Koroma lauded the EU support that covers sustainable development, conflict prevention, peace building as well as conflict management.
Among the tangible results generated through the implementation of the PSS Project so far include: the web-based monitoring and evaluation system, gender mainstreaming, good governance, support to electoral observation missions in member States, curbing the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the region. In Addition, the PSS Project has provided support to peace-building in the Gambia, to Non-Governmental Organisations working in peace and security sector, building capacity of the ECOWAS Peace Fund and PAPS department, as well as the development of the ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework (ECPF) action plans.
Vice President Koroma informed that while taking stock and examining the current situation in order to take informed and appropriate decisions, it had become necessary to extend the implementation of the ECOWAS-EU PSS for one additional year as implementation of many of the projects had been hampered by delays arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier while welcoming participants to the meeting, the ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS) General Francis Behanzin noted the importance of the meeting to the continuous cooperation between ECOWAS and the EU.
Commissioner BEHANZIN opined that after four years of getting subvention from the EU, the Steering Committee is looking forward to overcoming identified challenges, including the perspectives of activities already carried out. He maintained that although the PSS Project is producing good results, there are a number of results yet to be achieved despite the slowdown induced by the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.
Regarding the current crisis in Mali, Commissioner Behanzin emphasized that the Commission needs additional support to diligently address the multi-faceted challenges.
In his keynote address, the Head of the EU Head Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, H.E. Mr Ketil Karlsen represented by Mrs. Lotte Taylor (head of regional cooperation), reaffirmed the EU’s commitment to working with ECOWAS as partners.
She noted that both the EU and ECOWAS share the same integration objectives, are guided by the same principles, particularly in mission support, whether for conflict prevention or management such as the recent intervention in Mali or in multi-annual projects. What, according to her is very dear to the EU, is the idea of “boosting the capacities and refining the tools in the ECOWAS tool box for executing the mandates”.
She enthused that more in this regard can be achieved by efficient coordination of projects. By her reckoning, contractual obligations already circulated are clear in this regard while the challenge is to speed up approval process in the ECOWAS Commission.
An overview of progress made during the period under review was presented by the PSS Project Coordinator, Mr. Dieudonne Nikiema. This was followed by a presentation of implementation workplans of the different components of the Project by the Team Leader of the Technical Assistance Team, Mr. Vincent Okele. The Steering and Coordination Committee approved
The meeting was co-chaired by the ECOWAS Commission Vice President, Mrs Finda Koroma and the Head of the EU Delegation represented by Mrs Lotte Taylor, Head of section – Team Leader Regional Cooperation.
In attendance were senior officials from the two institutions, including the Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, General Francis Behanzin, the Commissioner for Finance, Mrs. Halima AHMED, the representative of the Auditor General, Directors and professional staff. Other partners in attendance were TRANSTEC S.A, Lite Africa and Nigeria Presidential Committee on Small Arms. The work plans for the next period and recommendations submitted by the Project Support Unit.
The Implementation of the ECOWAS-EU PSS began in 2015 with the objective of contributing to building and maintaining peace, security and stability as well as to restore and improve the conditions for development in West Africa.

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