Accra, Ghana - Regional Ambassadors accredited to ECOWAS and the Technical Committee on Political Affairs have made additional recommendations for the operationalisation and strengthening of the regional peace and security architecture, particularly rapid and effective diplomatic and military responses to serious emergency situations.
The Ambassadors and the committee made the recommendations at their just-ended two-day joint meeting, after validating the Report of regional experts’ meeting on the Mali After-Action Review in Akosombo, Ghana, 4-6 Feb.
They urged ECOWAS to “initiate reflections towards a strategic approach to emerging threats to peace and security in the region, including terrorism, biological, chemical, and climate change-related threats.”
Building on the recommendation of the Akosombo meeting which called for the establishment of a Special Standby Two-Battalion rapid response Force ready to intervene within 30 days of any complex emergency in the Region, the Ambassadors and Delegates from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration, Defense and Interior of ECOWAS Member States, also
called on ECOWAS to “encourage Member States in the preparation of Contingency Plans to ensure adherence to deployment timelines and minimum capacity requirements for intervention.”
In this regard, they validated the recommendation by the experts’ meeting calling on ECOWAS to enter into Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with its member states for the provision of standing units dedicated to the regional Standby Force, the ESF, which would be self-sustaining for the first 90 days of a deployment.
Another of its recommendations, according to the ECOWAS Commission, enjoined the 15-member regional bloc to “activate capacities capable of making decisive action possible, particularly in the areas of information and communication technology, strategic lift and other logistic/equipment matters”.
“ECOWAS should encourage member states to prevent state fragility through the creation of environment conducive for strengthening democratic governance,” the meeting recommended, and urged ECOWAS and other Regional Economic Communities (RECs)/Regional Mechanisms (RMs), to “negotiate their full participation in the decision-making processes on peace and security-related subjects at the African Union, in order to ensure effective implementation within the framework of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA)”.
The Accra meeting, which was chaired by the Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Toga Gayewea McIntosh, also considered and adopted the Consolidated Report of the Internal Review Session held last November in Lagos, Nigeria, and revisited at the Akosombo meeting, detailing the analysis of the challenges, achievements, lessons learned, and the way forward from the Mali interventions.
The consolidated recommendations emanating from the Accra meeting will be presented for consideration and adoption by the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council (MSC), for onward submission to the Authority of Heads of State and Government.