Johannesburg, South Africa – A regional activity entitled “Addressing Security Challenges in West Africa: Learning from the Experiences of Regional Parliamentary Bodies across Africa” was implemented by ECOWAS- Parliament and AWEPA, on 9 and 10 December 2014, in the framework of the AWEPA’s Millennium Development Goals Programme (MDGs).
The Regional MDG Seminar on Security aimed to enhance the role the ECOWAS-Parliament plays in responding to security threats in the West Africa region, specifically by enhancing its understanding of possible intervention areas within its current mandate as well as increasing linkages with the parliaments of ECOWAS member states to address security concerns in a more comprehensive manner.
In March 2014, members of ECOWAS-P’s Committees for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, and Judicial Affairs met in Cotonou, Benin to discuss a way forward, building on previous experiences and an October 2013 Regional Conference on Human Security and Political Stability.
This conference served as an exchange of views on the progress made since the Cotonou meeting in establishing a work plan for more sustained interventions on the part of ECOWAS-P. Participants had the unique opportunity to learn from the experiences of the corresponding Committees on Security from SADC-PF and the PAP.
The seminar brought together members of the ECOWAS-P Committee for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, the Bureau of the ECOWAS-P Committee for Judicial Affairs, representatives from the corresponding committees at SADC-PF and PAP, AWEPA staff, experts and resource persons and partners, including the Friedrich-Ebert Foundation.
In October 2013, AWEPA and ECOWAS-P implemented their first joint activity in Dakar, Senegal, a Regional Conference on Human Security and Political Stability. The conference brought together the majority of the ECOWAS Parliament, three AWEPA members and a wide array of development practitioners and other resource persons, including the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs. The conference resulted in a Final Declaration, the elaboration of a series of recommendations for action and a renewed commitment for partnership between the ECOWAS-P and the ECOWAS Commission on Security.
In 2014-2015, AWEPA proposes to build on these achievements by working with the ECOWAS-Parliament to strengthen its capacity to deal with security matters in West Africa, as well as enhance its ability to implement some of the Recommendations put forward at the Dakar Conference.