Bamako, Mali – As instability and insecurity continue to represent major concerns in the West African region, including the threats posed by Boko Haram and other armed actors, the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS-P) and AWEPA organised a Strategic Meeting of the ECOWAS-P Sub-Committee on Peace and Security in West Africa, in Bamako, Mali on 15-16 March 2015.
The meeting, organised with the support of AWEPA’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) programme and funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), served to prepare the launch of an Inter-Parliamentary Network on Peace and Security in West Africa.
During the Strategic Meeting, selected members of the ECOWAS Parliament Sub-Committee on Peace and Security in West Africa discussed and adopted various key texts needed in order to launch the Network, including the Founding Act, Internal Regulations, Strategic and Financial Plans.
Participants also discussed how members of national parliamentary Commissions on Defence and Security can participate and be represented in the Inter-Parliamentary Network. The objective was to ensure that national Commissions are informed of Network activities so that they can effectively influence the implementation of future ECOWAS legislation in the domain of peace and security.
The aim of the ECOWAS Parliament is to launch an Inter-Parliament Network on Peace and Security in West Africa in June 2015 that will increase regional dialogue between West African States on security challenges that require a regional response, including the establishment of an early warning system. The Network will address the current lag in ratification and implementation of regional documents/agreements on peace and security, including the need for better sensitization and information sharing mechanisms. The creation of this Network is particularly pertinent following the endorsement in December 2014 by the Authority of ECOWAS heads of state and governments to grant enhanced legislative powers to the ECOWAS Parliament.
AWEPA continues to support the ECOWAS Parliament in these efforts as it shares the belief that without political stability and security there cannot be meaningful and long term development. A seminar was recently held in in Johannesburg in December 2014 that enabled the setup of a road map for the establishment of the Network.