|ECOWAS CONVENES A VIRTUAL FOLLOW-UP INTERFACE AMONG THE AFRICAN UNION, REGIONAL ECONOMIC COMMUNITIES, REGIONAL MECHANISMS AND CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS ON ENHANCING COOPERATION AND COORDINATION WITHIN THE EU SUPPORT TO APSA FRAMEWORK ON MONDAY, 22 NOVEMBER 2021.|
Further to the recommendations of the Maiden Interface held on 16 November 2020, the ECOWAS Representation at the African Union in collaboration with the AU ECOSOCC and WANEP as ECOWAS and AU partner for peacebuilding organised an interactive and engagement sessions with key stakeholders in peace, security and governance, with the aim of enhancing and promoting Inter REC/RM cooperation and coordination as well as increasing the visibility of the agenda 2063.The main objective of the Interface was to follow-up on the recommendations of the online interface among AU, RECs RMs and CSOs on enhancing continental cooperation and coordination held on 16 November 2020. The recommendations included the need to promote the outcomes of the ECOSOCC third technical workshop on CSOs engagement within the APSA framework held in Lusaka on 26-28 October 2021; and discuss how to improve the capacity of African civil society organizations to support the peace and security agendas of the Peace and Security Councils of the AU, RECs and RMs.
Participants of the Interface were drawn from the AU, ECOSOCC, REC, RM, EU, GIZ, SCOs and Think Tanks.
Opening the follow-up interface, Ambassador N’guessan Ake Pierre, ECOWAS Permanent Representative to the African Union, underscored that security and stability of the African continent continue to be affected by new dynamics of conflict and insecurity, which include terrorism and violent extremism, as well as unconstitutional changes of constitution and government. To tackle this, ECOWAS recognizes the critical role of CSOs and other stakeholders in promoting political stability, peace and security in the region. Despite the development and activation of instruments or frameworks such as the Protocol Establishing the Peace and Security Council of the AU, the ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework and other relevant African Union declarations that provide a platform for better interaction with CSOs and contribution to the African Peace and Security Architecture, (APSA) the level of collaboration between the AU, RECs, RMs and CSOs remains low.
Mr. William Carew, the Head of AU-ECOSOCC Secretariat, in his submission, extended his gratitude to the ECOWAS Representation for taking the lead to organize the follow-up interface to ensure effective coordination and partnership with CSOs in peace and security and within the EU APSA IV framework at all levels. He further emphasized that the meeting was timely because it provides a platform to further strengthen Africa’s response mechanisms to effectively mitigate the multidimensional threats to peace and security facing the continent. He also highlighted that as civil society actor the secretariat’s role and contribution to peace are critical to ensuring stability. This is because it represents the voices of the voiceless including the women, children, youth, elderly and people with disability and special needs.
Mr. Pablo Isla Villar, representing the EU delegation to the AU, entreated all participants to ensure close collaboration for the success of EU Support to APSA.
The representative of the APSA Management Team of the AU Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security also stressed that the role of civil society is crucial in strengthening peace and security in Africa. She lauded ECOWAS and ECOSOCC for their achievements in this direction and enjoined participants to support the initiative.
The meeting generated an array of pertinent recommendations. Key among them were the following: