ECOWAS calls for increased coordination to address security and developmental challenges in Sahel region
Abuja, 18th September 2018. The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) along with regional and international organizations, have reiterated their commitment to addressing challenges such as terrorism, climate change, poverty, food insecurity and illicit trafficking in the Sahel region by harmonizing their approaches and improving coordination in the implementation of their strategies.
This was the major recommendation of a high level meeting of regional organizations on the Sahel which held in Abuja, Nigeria on 18th September, 2018.
The meeting which was organized in collaboration with the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) called for advocacy policies to facilitate the mobilization of resources from regional and international partners to support joint programs and projects in the Sahel region.
Representing the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, the Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, General Francis Behanzin stated that the security situation in the Sahel coupled with socio-economic problems brought about by poor infrastructure, poverty and climate change have threaten the peace of both Sahelian and non-Sahelian states.
However, ‘the ECOWAS Sahel Strategy which has an action plan of 31 priority projects in the areas of infrastructure, food security, education and peace and security costing and estimated $4.75 billion would help create economic stability in the region’, he said.
Echoing the Commissioner, the Special Representative of the Secretary General for West Africa and Sahel, Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, stated that only by harmonizing the partnership between the various organizations, building synergy and developing joint interventions can the Sahel region attain lasting peace, security and sustainable development.
Dr. Chambas further stressed that, this has become very important as violent and terrorist activities as well as conflicts between nomadic herders and farmers have taken an alarming toll on the population.
‘The violence related to pastoralism is particularly concerning, as it increases in frequency, intensity, complexity and geographic scope’, he added.
The representative of the African Union for Mali and the Sahel, Mr. Pierre Buyoya, noted that to attain this, the organizations and Member States must coordinate their activities and avoid wastage of resources as a huge amount of resources are required to achieve the desired results in the region.
The meeting concluded with a press conference with dignitaries present shedding more light to journalists on the initiatives and steps being taken jointly to improve the living conditions of people in the Sahel.
The high level meeting of regional organizations on the Sahel was preceded by an experts meeting that reviewed recent developments in the Sahel and analyzed the priorities and challenges to implementation strategies in the region.