The 2022 edition of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre’s (KAIPTC) Stakeholder Dialogue Series (SDS) has ended in Banjul, The Gambia with a call for greater involvement of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the implementation of the ECOWAS’ Conflict Prevention Framework (ECPF).
The forum also called for the inclusion of women at the leadership level within the security sector to deepen the participation of women in decision-making and contribute to promoting peace and security in the sub-region.
Organised by KAIPTC in collaboration with the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), this year’s event was held in Senegal and The Gambia in March and April.
The event, which was supported by the German Development Agency (GIZ), was on the theme: “Contributing to the Implementation of the ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework: Promoting Partnerships with Civil Society Organisations on Peace and Security in West Africa.”
The SDS falls under KAIPTC’s five-year strategic plan to strengthen collaborations with CSOs, Think Tanks and the private sector to advance policy dialogues and improve peace and security in Africa.
It was also in keeping with WANEP’s strategic objective to play a facilitation role in the implementation of the ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework as well as the requirements enshrined in the framework of a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the KAIPTC and WANEP.
Participants for the one-day event were largely drawn from CSOs in West Africa, ECOWAS, Development Partners, Government Agencies and Non-Governmental Organisations.
The participants discussed wide-ranging issues pertaining to the implementation of the ECPF and proffered practical solutions to ensure the active participation of all stakeholders in the implementation process.
Discussants identified that there was poor coordination and networking among CSOs as well as low level of awareness among the citizenry on the ECPF. They also identified inadequate resources as a major challenge for the CSOs.
With respect to governance in the security sector, the participants found that there was complete mistrust between the security service and civilians. They also found that there was lack of transnational approach to addressing cross-border crimes.
The participants called on ECOWAS to support rigorous resource mobilisation locally and internationally to empower CSOs to actively participate in the implementation of the ECPF.
They also called for effective sub-regional collaboration on cross-border policing and communication as well as sensitisation of civilians on the role of the security forces.
Addressing the participants on behalf of Maj Gen Francis Ofori, Commandant of KAIPTC, the Director of the Policy, Planning Monitoring and Evaluation at the Centre, Ms. Sylvia Horname Noagbesenu said there was the lack of a centralised database of activities of CSOs working at the community, national and regional levels that support the implementation of the ECPF. She observed that there were also limited efforts at leveraging on the strengths of relevant actors in the peace and security sector.
Ms. Noagbesenu said since the adoption the ECPF in 2008, both KAIPTC and WANEP have worked extensively as part of their mandates to advance peace and security in the region.
“Collectively, we have worked with ECOWAS in the areas of research, training, capacity building and policy support to ECOWAS, Member States and other international partners to promote peace and stability in West Africa,” she said.
In a speech read on her behalf by Dr. Festus Aubyn, Regional Coordinator in charge of Research and Capacity Building, the Deputy Executive Director of WANEP, Mrs Levinia Addae-Mensah described the ECPF as a “harbinger of hope in the timely resolution of conflicts in the West African region.”
She said WANEP had over the years contributed immensely to the implementation of regional and continental normative and policy frameworks to address the root causes of conflict and the multitude of security challenges facing the region.
“We believe that conflict prevention requires effective multi-stakeholder collaboration. Accordingly, beyond ECOWAS and its Member States, conflict prevention is the responsibility of all citizens, civil society activists, academics, the media, the Training Centres of Excellence like the KAIPTC, and the international community.,” she said.
Ms. Aseye Nani, Technical Advisor GIZ-KAIPTC Programme, representing the Head of Programme of the GIZ Support to KAIPTC, Mr. Hannes Lambrecht, said the increasing number of military coups and unconstitutional changes in West Africa since 2019 posed a significant challenge to the democratic order and the peaceful development of the sub-region.
She said the GIZ believed that mutually beneficial engagements between KAIPTC and CSOs across the region would yield the requisite capacities and cooperation required to support
peace and security endeavours in the framework of the ECOWAS Peace and Security architecture.
“It is important to develop an effective culture of inter-disciplinary consultations and dialogues, as collaboration has revealed the importance of co-participating, co-implementing and co-assessing for change,” she said.
The KAIPTC launched the Maiden Edition of its Annual Stakeholder Dialogue Series (SDS) in March 2021, with the aim of creating a platform to engaging its clients, development and institutional partners, CSOs, as well as other stakeholders on specific issues of concern within the Peace and Security landscape.