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The Vice President of The Gambia commends the integrated human security approach to ensuring the protection of ECOWAS citizens in the context of covid-19 pandemic and beyond

July 12 – 16, 2021 – The Vice President of The Gambia, Her Excellency Dr. Isatou Touray, in her Keynote Speech during the High Level Advocacy session by Dr. Siga Fatima Jagne, ECOWAS Commissioner of Social Affairs and Gender on Tuesday 13 July 2021, expressed the commitment of the people and Government of The Gambia in the implementation of relevant ECOWAS Texts towards the improvement of human security in the country.

She said she was convinced that it was the fundamental importance of human security with emphasis on protection of persons, families and communities all over West Africa that motivated the Department of Social Affairs and Gender to introduce the new Integrated In-Country Human Security programming approach. She also reiterated the important role of Non State Actors in ensuring Government and Society whole approach to creating the protection web for all citizens especially the most vulnerable people.

Speaking in the same vein, the Honourable Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare in The Gambia, Hon. Fatou Sanyang Kinteh, thanked the ECOWAS Commission for this novel integrated programming approach and initiative with focus on protecting the most vulnerable in the society. While acknowledging the existence of relevant legal texts in the country for the protection of women and children, she regretted that implementation remains a huge challenge. Similarly, the Honourable Minister of Justice and Attorney General of The Gambia, Mr. Dawda A. Jallow, said that the Constitution of the country recognises the importance and rights of women and children in society and the Government of the Gambia is ready to collaborate with ECOWAS and all Gambian stakeholders in ensuring justice for all and protection of all citizens.

Preceeding these addresses, the ECOWAS Permanent Representative to the Gambia Ms. Vabah Gayflor, and Dr Siga Fatima Jagne made advocacy for enhancing protection and human securty of the individual, familes and the society in general. In her Opening Remarks, Ms Vabah Gayfor welcomed the participants and expressed her delight that the intervention is taking place first in The Gambia. She said that the innovative approach of the intervention will create the opportunity to address the human security and protection challenges in the country through an integrated, multisectoral and human rights-based approach.

Dr. Siga Fatima Jagne, in her Speech expressed her excitement that her home country is the first beneficiary in the implementation of this innovative Integrated Human Security/Protection intervention by the Commission. She said that the novel approach of encouraging a Government and a Society whole response to the protection of the individual is focused on optimizing the convening authority of the ECOWAS Commission in standard setting, advocacy, facilitation and coordination, peer review and assessment. She therefore advocated and proposed to the Government of The Gambia nine actions including resourcing of the Survival Fund to support victims and survivors of GBV and provide comprehensive rehabilitative care, establishment of a Sex Offender Register that is publicly accessible to deter repeat sex offences, creation of a special cadre of Prosecutors to ensure speedy and effective prosecution of sex offenders, and the establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Human Security/Protection Coordination Group with representatives of Non State Actors, to institutionalise and drive a whole of Government and Society approach to ensuring protection and human security of the individual.

The High Level Advocacy Session with the Vice President of The Gambia and other Ministers was part of the five (5) day intervention undertaken by the Department of Social Affairs and Gender to secure the commitment of the Government in promoting and mainstreaming protection and human security in their national development plans and actions during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ECOWAS Integrated In-Country High Level Advocacy, Coordination and Capcaity Building of Multi-Stakeholders on the Implementation of ECOWAS IHL, TIP, GBV and Child Rights Texts in the context of COVID-19 Pandemic is a new programming approach approved by the President of the ECOWAS Commission to be implemented in five Member States in 2021 namely Sierra Leone, Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and The Gambia been the first beneficary. The 5 day mission features High Level Advocacy Sessions, Media Engagement, Meeting with Civil Society Organisations and other Non State Actors includng

the Private Sector, Interface with Development Partners and a 3 Day Coordination and Capacity Building workshop for Ministeries, Government agencies and other stakeholders.
At the end of the 5 day mission to The Gambia, an Implementation Road Map on Enhancing Protection and Human Security in the context of the COVID-19 Pandemic in The Gambia was adopted; with the establishment of two Coordination platforms. The first is the Gambia Protection and Human Security CSO Cluster as a CSO Coordination platform. The second is The Gambia Protection and Human Security Coordination Mechanism anchored within the Office of the Vice President of The Gambia. The Mechanism will provide a platform for engagement of key stakeholders, governmental (Executive and Legislature) Civil Society, Media and the Private Sector.

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