Lagos, Nigeria, March 29, 2022. In recognition of the need for the capacities of youth to be reinforced for peacebuilding, conflict prevention and resolution, the ECOWAS Commission began a Workshop for youth from Member States of the regional community on the 29th of March, 2022 in Lagos, Nigeria.
The 3 day Workshop, themed: Inter-generational dialogue: Reinforcing Youth Capacities on conflict Prevention and international humanitarian and human rights law, the 3-Day Workshop aims among others at placing youth at the very heart of intergenerational dialogue in the quest for a safer and more stable West Africa.
In his welcome address at the start of the Workshop, the ECOWAS Commission’s Director, Political Affairs Dr. Aderemi Ajiebwa maintained that given the central place of the youth either as victims or perpetrators of conflict, their energies must be nurtured and harnessed for positive use, through empowerment and sustained engagement.
Represented by the Head of Division, Mediation and Coordination of Regional Political Affairs (MCRPA) Dr. Onyinye Onwuka, he disclosed that youth development and the promotion of intergenerational knowledge aligns with the February 2019 decision of the Assembly of Heads of States and Government of the African Union (AU), which urged the AU Commission and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to build the capacities of African youth to facilitate their strategic and meaningful participation in peace and security interventions.
He said it is in realization of this and bearing in mind the Continental Framework of Youth, Peace and Security, that the Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS) and the Youth and Sports Development Center of ECOWAS, have scaled up efforts to equip West African youth with requisite knowledge and skills required to enhance their roles and contribution to the promotion of good governance, peace, security and stability in the region.
Goodwill massages also came from ECOWAS Partners including the West African Peace Building Network (WANEP) whose executive Director Dr. Chukwuemeka Eze, speaking through Mrs. Josiane Sombo disclosed that there is now an increased involvement of the youth population in the region’s threat chart. He therefore submitted that in line with the international and regional frameworks on youth, peace and security, the youth should be engaged as key agents in building sustainable peace and security.
On his part, the head, (ECOWAS liaison), United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) for ECOWAS, Dr. Jame Aji emphasized the importance of youth involvement in peacebuilding processes given that they form the majority of the population. He stated that
UNOWAS sees the Workshop as an opportunity to share experience with the leaders of tomorrow so that they can be capacitated and given means to contribute their utmost best for the stability of the region.
In the course of the Workshop, participants amid thematic presentations, examined issues of conflict comprehension, early warning and Conflict analysis, typologies of conflict responses as well as approaches to conflict management.
The Workshop will also deliberate on the International Humanitarian and Human Rights Laws (IHL/IHRL) and their application as conflict prevention mechanisms. Also to be examined is the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2250, the continental framework on youth peace and security as well as existing mechanisms in Member States for their operationalization, entrepreneurship and networking, among others.