Govt-citizen partnership crucial to regional peace, dev’t – ECOWAS
The ECONOMIC COMMUNITY OF WEST AFRICAN STATES (ECOWAS) HASCALLED on national governments to build strong, cordial partnerships with citizens to forester trust and cooperation as well as strengthen long-term peace and development in the sub-region.
Disclosing this while delivering a keynote address at a conference of the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) in Abuja today, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace, and Security, Dr Abdel-FatauvMusah, saidmany peace and security challenges that had bedeviled the West African sub-region emanated from the poor, and in some cases, non-existent citizen-nation relationship, exclusionary politics, and non-participatory development paradigms.
It was the network’s second Peace building Fellows’ Conference, Partners Forum, and 17th General Assembly held in Accra from March 21 to 23.
The conference had as its theme, “A Retrospection of State-Citizen Relations in West Africa: Implications for the Realisation of ECOWAS Vision 2050″.
According to the ECOWAS commissioner, WANEP is playing a major role in furthering peace and security in the sub-region.
He also encouraged the network to continue to work closely with ECOWAS and other partners to achieve its objectives.
In his address of welcome, WANEP’s Executive Director, DrChukwuemekaEze, underscored the importance of citizen engagement in promoting sustainable peace and security in West Africa.
We believe that a key ingredient to enhancing the trust and confidence of citizens and the state lies with the way citizens are carried along in the conceptualisation, design, and implementation of state policies.
“It is, therefore, important to support civil society organisations such as WANEP to continue to play the role of intermediaries between governmental and intergovernmental institutions and the citizens of the region,” he said.
Prof. Ouma rNdongo, the outgoing Regional Board Chair of WANEP said the organisation’s significant achievements over the past years had given credence to the consistency and commitment of its partners.
“We are aware that every dollar spent on peace and security in West Africa should reflect on the people and communities we serve.
“And this is why WANEP will continue to remain prudent and judicious in its development of priorities and application of funds,” he maintained.
Meanwhile, Mrs Florence Iheme has been appointed as the new Regional Board Chair by the network’s regional board.Iheme is a seasoned peacebuilding and development practitioner with vast experience in and outside the West African sub-region.
The partners’ forum is designed to engage current and potential partners and exchange perspectives on the state of peace and security in the sub-region.
It is also aimed at working out how WANEP would respond through its strategic plan.
Partners discussed new governance and partnership principles and procedures for the purpose of synergy.
The event provided an opportunity for WANEP to work with partners to develop effective strategies and mechanisms towards promoting sustainable peace and security in West Africa.
Furthermore, the 2023 General Assembly provided an opportunity for WANEP to take stock of its interventions over the previous two years, evaluate its strategies, and establish methods for further collaboration with constituencies and stakeholders.
Participants at the event deliberated on the network’s accomplishments and challenges and considered new ideas and solutions for enhancing its work.
Source says, WANEP provides a platform for West African citizens, who work within and beyond their countries of origin, to discuss ways to leverage their skills and experience in support of WANEP.
Its platform also provides skills and experience to ECOWAS member states, the ECOWAS Commission, and other development agencies in their interventions for conflict transformation in Africa. It also aims to support research, teaching, publication, and practical field experience on themes of peace, conflict resolution, and African development.