Global Civil Society Leaders Strategise to Promote Peace in West Africa
Accra, Ghana – In the last two decades, the West African region has witnessed some of the most devastating conflicts in Sub-Saharan Africa. Within the last 2 decades, ECOWAS has grappled with a plethora of conflicts which have sapped enormous energy and resources meant for economic development sub-regional integration.
West Africa’s civil wars resulted in the weakening of the states directly consumed by the wars while for the entire region, the threats to regional peace and stability increased.
This situation benefits conflict perpetrators like Boko Haram who play key roles in destabilising peace across the region.
To address this, institutions working to promote peace in West Africa such as the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), the Koffi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), the Peace and Conflict Studies Department of the University of Ibadan, Trust Africa, ERN, Nigeria and CEMESP, Liberia convened in Accra, Ghana from May 22 to 23, 2014 to map out contextual strategies and map out concrete steps to address current and potential conflict threats in the region.
They were joined by their global counterparts; International Coalition on the Responsibility to Protect (ICRtoP), the Global Coalition on the Responsibility to Protect (GCR2P), Humanity United and OSAGP.
These partners sought for effective ways of ensuring that the responsibility to protect (RtoP) norm contributes in peacebuilding efforts and prevent future conflicts. “For the operationalisation of the responsibility to protect to be successful, it has to be context specific and dependent on national and sub-regional ownership and capacities”, said Queeneth Tawo of WANEP.
The RtoP norm seeks to prevent conflicts, protect its citizens and rebuild peace in conflict affected states.
To achieve this in West Africa and ensure that inhabitants of the region live in a safe and secure society, participants agreed to engage with governments and government institutions in West African states and the ECOWAS to prevent conflicts.
“Our key focus should be on prevention”, said Col. Emmanuel Kotia of KAIPTC. They agreed to work with security institutions, academia, parliaments and governments to prevent the outbreak or escalation of conflicts.
For more information about the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), please visit www.wacsi.org
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