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Civil Society Statement on the Current Ebola Crisis in West Africa:

Civil Society Statement on the Current Ebola Crisis in West Africa:

A Call for Appointment of ECOWAS Special Envoy on Ebola

September 1, 2014 – Dakar, Senegal – In light of the current epidemic of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in West Africa, we the undersigned civil society organizations call on ECOWAS member states to appoint a leading, influential, strong and knowledgeable West African physician or health professional as ECOWAS Special Envoy on Ebola.

The current epidemic, which has been characterized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the deadliest Ebola outbreak since this virus was discovered in 1976, has claimed the lives of at least 1,552 people in West Africa including many health personnel. We applaud and support the brave work of the health personnel who continue to put their lives at risk in the care of victims of Ebola despite very difficult working environment. We stand in solidarity with our brothers, sisters, families, and communities who are battling for their lives and struggling to care for loved ones.

West African economies are feeling the impact of the world’s worst outbreak of Ebola. Travel and trade restrictions are limiting the deployment of medical personnel, equipment and commodities adding to the deadly risk that the EVD already poses to the communities and the economies of the affected countries and the region. This epidemic has exposed the challenges of our public health systems and our governance institutions.

The recently released WHO roadmap predicts that 20,000 people may ultimately be infected in this outbreak. Therefore, the challenge ahead is steep and a lot of work has to be done urgently to stem this dangerous situation and avoid an even greater catastrophe.

Cross-border coordination and collaboration necessary to stem the spread of Ebola has been haphazard and chaotic. While closure of borders may provide short term relief, it is not proving an effective way of controlling the virus and is also an impediment to cross-border technical support and humanitarian assistance, giving rise to new food security challenges.

The challenge of the current epidemic calls for urgent, unified and concerted efforts by ECOWAS and the international community. Since regional collaboration and coordination have been the main impediments in the management of this epidemic, we particularly appreciate and welcome the decision of ECOWAS to put in place a regional monitoring mechanism composed of two entities: the ministerial coordination group chaired by the Ghanaian health minister and a technical monitoring workgroup with members such as WHO Afro and the West African Health Organization (WAHO). The work of this monitoring mechanism should continue even in the post-Ebola period given the negative impact that the epidemic is having on health systems, on economies, and on social ties and community relations.

For these reasons, we urge the appointment of the ECOWAS Special Envoy on Ebola. Such an envoy will complement the efforts of WHO’s envoy Dr David Nabarro, help draw attention to the public health and humanitarian challenges posed by Ebola and become a regional voice and leader for a regional response plan led by African and international contributors. The Envoy could also be the voice calling for effective management and coordination of cross-border transportation and logistics. The challenge we face is extraordinary and ECOWAS needs to create a specialized platform to address this.

We urge all ECOWAS member States to push for this resolution and to develop a concrete plan for operationalizing effective coordination. We call on the international community to provide needed assistance in ensuring that the response to Ebola in the region is effective, humane and sustainable.

We acknowledge that the efforts of ECOWAS and the international community can only yield results if residents of the region do their part. Hence, we also urge the populations and all civil society organizations to show more solidarity by providing support to populations that are affected by EVD and be cautious by observing the preventive and protective measures identified by the WHO.

Organisations de la société civile signataires/Under-signed CSOs:

  1. Action Aid Liberia
  2. ActionAid Nigeria
  3. African Artists’ Foundation
  6. Alliance des femmes pour l’Egalité et le Genre en Guinée (AFEGGUI)
  7. Alliance for Credible Elections (ACE)
  8. Association des Femmes Journalistes de Guinée (AFJ/Guinée)
  9. Association des Juristes Sénégalaises (AJS)
  10. Association Mains Solidaires (AMAS)
  11. Association of Community Radio Stations (ALICOR)
  12. Avocats pour les Droits de l’Homme – Guinee (ADHG)
  13. Avocats Sans Frontières Guinée
  14. Bassa Women Development Association
  15. Bassa Youth Caucus
  16. Brekete Family Empowerment Project
  17. CAUSE-Africa
  18. CDD Ghana
  19. Center for Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL) – Sierra Leone
  20. Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD)
  21. Center for Justice and Peace Studies
  22. Center for Media Studies and Peace Building
  23. Center for Social Justice (Censoj)
  24. Center for Transparency and Accountability
  25. Centre LSD
  26. Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)
  27. Community Development and Research Agency
  28. Community Life Project – Nigeria
  29. Conseil National des Organisations de la Société Civile de Guinée (CNOSCG)
  30. Council for the Development of Research in Social Sciences in Africa (CODESRIA)
  31. Creative Media Centre For Development
  32. CSO Ebola Response Taskforce – Liberia
  33. Décentralisation Droits Humains Développement Local (ONG 3D)
  34. Development & Integrity Intervention Goal Foundation (DIG Nigeria)
  35. Development Education Network Liberia
  36. EARS for the Masses
  37. Elections Coordinating Committee
  38. ENDA Tiers Monde
  39. Forum Civil – Sénégal
  40. Gender Peace Network
  41. Human Development Initiatives – Nigeria
  42. IBIS
  43. IMANI
  44. Initiative for Positive Change
  45. Institute for Research and Democratic Development
  46. Institute of Governance Reform – Sierra Leone
  47. Integrity Organization Ltd (GTE)
  48. L’Association Béninoise de Droit Constitutionnel (ABDC)
  50. Liberia Feminist Forum
  51. Liberia Media and Democratic Initiative
  52. Liberia Media Center
  53. Liberia Women Media Action Committee
  54. MacJim Foundation
  55. Maison de la Presse Guinee
  56. Mano River Women Peace Network
  57. Media Rights Agenda – Nigeria
  58. Meme Droits pour Tous Guinee
  59. National Civil Society Association of Liberia
  60. National Civil Society Council of Liberia
  61. National Youth Movement for Transparent Elections (NAYMOTE)
  62. Natural Resource Management Consortium
  63. Network Movement for Democracy and Human Rights (NMDHR)
  64. Network of National Human Rights Institutions in West Africa (NNHRI-WA)
  65. New African Research Development Agency
  66. ONG SOS-Civisme/Niger
  67. Organisation Catholique pour la Promotion Humaine – Guinée
  68. Partners for Electoral Reforms
  69. Plateforme des Acteurs Non Etatiques pour le suivi des accords de Cotonou (ANE/PF)
  70. Platform for Dialogue and Peace
  71. Policy and Legislative Advocacy Center (PLAC)
  72. Press Union of Liberia
  73. Public and Private Development Centre
  74. Public Health Initiative
  75. Réseau Ouest Africain des Défenseurs des Droits de l’Homme – Guinée
  76. Responsible Citizenship and Human Development Initiative
  77. Rights & Rice Foundation
  78. Save Nigeria Group (SNG)
  79. Say No Campaign (SNC) Nigeria
  80. Search for Common Ground
  81. Security Sector Working Group
  82. Social Watch Benin
  83. Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP)
  84. Special Emergency to Restore Children Hope
  85. Support Initiative for Sustainable Development (SISDEV)
  86. The Centre for Democracy and Development (Nigeria)
  87. TrustAfrica
  88. Union des Radios Associatives et Communautaires du Sénégal (URAC)
  89. UPMB-Benin
  90. WACAM – Ghana
  91. WANEP -Benin
  92. West Africa Civil Society Forum (WACSOF)
  93. West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI)
  94. West African Network for Peace Building
  95. Women NGO Secretariat of Liberia
  96. Young Men Christian Association of Liberia
  97. Young Women Christian Association
  98. Youth in Technology and Arts Network
  99. Youth Initiative for Growth and Advancement (YIAGA)
  100. Zorzor Women Development Association
  101. Open Society Initiative for West Africa

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