Vice President-ECOWAS Commission, Finda E. M. Koroma, has observed that economic prosperity, cooperation and integration of the sub-region as envisaged by the founding members of ECOWAS can only be realised in a peaceful, stable and secure environment.
She noted that though ECOWAS can effectively boast of having a reliable Early Warning System that ensures early detection of conflict and can inform decisions of the Authority of heads of States in the region, the responses have found to be weak or non-existing.
The ECOWAS Commission Vice President stated that capacity building is central to coordination and cooperation among all state and non-state actors – hence the impetus for the Induction Course for National Early Warning and Response Centres in ECOWAS member-states at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC).
Madam Koroma said as Vice President of the Commission in charge of supervising the early Warning Directorate, it is her responsibility to create appropriate conditions and opportunities for both the directorate and national early warning centres to carry on their primary mission in line with the 1999 Protocol Relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security.
Deputy Commandant of KAIPTC, Air Commodore George Kweku Arko-Dadzie, said it all started when he met the ECOWAS Vice President at an ECOWAS sensitisation workshop in March this year, and she indicated her desire to have some training for her staff.
He added that KAIPTC is one of three Regional Peacekeeping Training Centres of Excellence, with the other two being the National Defence College (NDC) in Abuja, Nigeria, and the Alioune Blondin Beye Peacekeeping Centre in Bamako, Mali, and noted that the workshop is in line with the strategic objective of KAIPTC – which is to support the capacity of African Regional Institutions such as ECOWAS and AU.
He added that the changing security environment, the multiplicity of actors, the complex mandates, funding constraints and all other security challenges which confront Africa today are symptomatic of the transformation that has taken place over the past six decades.
Commandant Air Cdre Arko-Dadzie said the need for a functional and dynamic national early warning and early response mechanism remains critical in the region. He therefore hoped the induction course will provide the needed knowledge and skills to enable participants deliver their tasks in their respective countries.
Dr. Chukuemeka B. Eze, Executive Director-West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), said the sub-region represents a good case of a region plagued with insecurity. He said across the region, the spectre of election-related violence, growing inequalities, violent extremism, piracy, unsafe migration, persistent ethno-national conflicts and drug-trafficking threaten to undermine the progress made in past decades.
He added that in 2003 ECOWAS signed an MoU with WANEP to provide up to date reporting, analysis and communication to respective regional interveners in order to plan, prevent or mitigate the impact of violent conflicts in West Africa.
He added that the goal of ECOWAS’s founders was to safeguard future generations from the scourge of war, to reaffirm faith in fundamental Human Rights and Dignity, and to establish conditions under which justice and respect for international law can be upheld and economic prosperity entrenched.