ECOWAS Commission and USAID Review ECOWAS’ Interventions in Elections and Mediation Processes in the Region
The Department of Political Affairs (DPA) of the ECOWAS Commission, in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development’ Reacting to Early Warning and Response Data (USAID-REWARD ii) in West Africa, began a two-day After-Action-Review (AAR) of ECOWAS preventive diplomacy and assistance towards having an inclusive electoral processes in the region, on the 5th of April, 2022, in Abuja, Nigeria. The review centered on some Member States (Cabo-Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Niger and The Gambia) whose recent elections were supported by the ECOWAS Commission through its electoral assistance .
Welcoming participants to the two-day Workshop, the ECOWAS Commission’s Director, Political Dr. Aderemi Ajibewa restated the importance of the review, as a critical process asseement tool and urged participants to equally assess governance trends and the current socio-political dynamics in the region, especially the resurgence of coups d’état, including strategies for preventing their recurrence as they have wide-ranging implications on peace and security.
In his remark, the Chief of Party, USAID-REWARD 11 programme, Mr. Alimou Diallo noted that through the review, an opportunity is being created to reflect and learn about the role ECOWAS played in carrying out its electoral assistance mandate, mediation, and preventive diplomacy in the region to promote democracy, peace, and security.
Harping on the need to improve transparency of the decisions making process, he also called on the ECOWAS Centers of excellence to work more with the ECOWAS Commission in attaining a more stable and peaceful West Africa. He disclosed further that as an extension of the 5-year USAID REWARD program, REWARD II began on September 20, 2020, as part of USAID/West Africa’s development objective to support ECOWAS and its member states to strengthen early warning and response systems and promote democracy and peaceful elections across West Africa.
The two-day hybrid Workshop examined among others, governance challenges in West Africa and their implication on human security, ECOWAS’ engagement with Member States in the pre-electoral, the management of electoral outcomes as well as the ECOWAS’ internal coordination mechanisms.
The Workshop had in attendance, participants from ECOWAS, the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), key regional peace and security actors – the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC), CSOs such as the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), the West Africa Civil Society Forum (WACSOF), the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD West Africa), the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), the ECOWAS Centers of Excellence; the National Defense College in Abuja as well as the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Accra, Ghana.
In the end, participants are expected to come up with actionable recommendations from lessons learnt, that can improve ECOWAS’ mediation and election assistance to the member states, going forward.