Abuja, 11th October 2019
Stability and development are expected to be boosted in West Africa with the launch of the ECOWAS Peace and Security Architecture and Operations (EPSAO) on the 11th of October 2019 in Abuja, Nigeria.
The EPSAO project is meant to strengthen ECOWAS' mechanisms of promoting and maintaining peace and stability, enable the regional organisation to manage erupting and existing conflict while contributing to the creation of a secure and safe post conflict environment, among others.
Expressing high optimism on a more secure region in the days ahead, the ECOWAS Commission's President H.E Jean-Claude Kassi Brou stated at the launch that a successful implementation of EPSAO will help in providing ECOWAS with the capacities to address the identified challenges in order to enhance the prevention, mitigation and management of conflicts when they erupt.
President Brou who was represented by the ECOWAS Commission's Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security Gen Francis Behanzin admitted that the political and security environment in the region remain fragile due to the persistence of some structural factors.
He listed the main factors to include the perceived 'winner-takes all' form of the political victory, insufficient accountability of leaders, lack of transparency in regimes, inadequate checks and balances, the lack of trust among political parties, especially regarding the transparency and equity in the electoral processes, the difficulties in peaceful transition of power.
While thanking the European Union (EU) and the government of Germany for their continued support, he assured stakeholders that the partnership already built 'is being expanded by the current Management of the Commission to ensure that necessary resources are mobilized towards achieving the goal of a secured and peaceful ECOWAS region'.
In his remarks, Director Africa, German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, Mr. Christoph Rauh, stressed the importance of meeting the Challenges of development in the region while identifying the major security challenge as the increasing complex security situation throughout the region.
He however deplored the situation whereby the legacies of civil wars, political instability and bad governance have not been completely overcome in the face of new challenges.
Mr. Rauh also stated that the problems are beyond the responsive capacities of individual countries and requires complementarities just as comparative advantages between response actors need to be stressed and leveraged while regional cooperation should be primed in support of locally owned and driven efforts.
The Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS Mr Kurt Cornelis singled out 'Peace, security and regional stability' as the first of three priority areas of the EU's regional cooperation with ECOWAS.
He maintained that the EU and ECOWAS have over the years embarked on joint efforts through strong cooperation, to combat the identified challenges, as according to him: 'there is no development without security and no security without development'
Following its predecessor under the 10th European Development Fund's PSS programme, he maintained that EU continues its support to ECOWAS in the areas of conflict analysis, early warning, dialogue, mediation, peace support capacities, reform of the security sector, as well as the implementation of the ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework.
The ESPAO is a 20.4 million euro programme, co-financed by the EU and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), with the full ownership of ECOWAS.
For more information, please contact:
Directorate of Communication, ECOWAS Commission
Phone: +234 8102507938