West Africa CSOs discuss future of sub-region

Civil society organisations (CSOs) in West Africa are meeting in Accra to deliberate on how to strengthen the ECOWAS Community Strategic Framework (CSF) to tackle five key goals, including combating terrorism and the threat to peace.

Through the implementation of the CSF from this year, the sub-regional body expects to create a borderless, prosperous, integrated and peaceful West Africa by 2020.
It replaces the Regional Action Plan which was in force from 2011-2015.

Goals
The ECOWAS Commission expects that by anchoring the objectives of the framework around the deepening of the process of socio-economic development, forging and consolidating regional economic and monetary integration, deepening the process of political cohesion and participation, mobilising and sustaining societal and institutional support and expanding and improving infrastructure, it will be able to tame challenges facing the sub-region and be more responsive to the needs of its citizenry.
At the opening of the three-day meeting yesterday, the Director of Strategic Planning of ECOWAS, Mr Essien Abel Essien, noted that the implementation of the CSF would mark the beginning of ECOWAS’s engagement in constructive policy dialogue and advocacy at the national, regional and global levels.
The meeting, supported by GIZ, a German development organisation, is part of a broader consultation by the ECOWAS Commission to harvest views from CSOs to enrich the document.

Threats
In the face of the increasing cases of insurgency in the sub-region, with Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Nigeria having been hit by terrorist attacks, Mr Essien told the Daily Graphic that while the threats were real, the key issues for deliberation included the kind of strategies that could be designed to minimise the threats.
While admitting that borderless boundaries posed some level of security threats, he said it was better to look at the positive side and design strategies to mitigate the negative things.
“The emphasis is not on the threats but the gains that will come from economic development and the deepening of economic integration,” he said.

New drive
The Executive Director of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), Nana Asantewa Afadzinu, said the new drive for the commission was to make the citizenry more informed about its activities.
“Now it is not about heads of states sitting somewhere in Abuja and making decisions. If we want real integration, we have to involve the people. So we are moving from an ECOWAS of states to an ECOWAS of people.      
“There is a deliberate effort to get civil society input into the framework and for us it is important because it will help us  make it practical,” she said.
A diplomat, Prof S.K.B. Asante, expressed worry over the failure of countries in the sub-region to establish local institutions solely for the implementation of ECOWAS initiatives.  
He, therefore, commended the ECOWAS Commission for the new approach, saying, “Regional integration is not about integrating heads of state and their civil servants but the people.”
Meanwhile, the second meeting of the National Planning Experts of the sub-region is expected to come up next week for endorsement and final discussions on mainstreaming the framework.
Civil society organisations (CSOs) in West Africa are meeting in Accra to deliberate on how to strengthen the ECOWAS Community Strategic Framework (CSF) to tackle five key goals, including combating terrorism and the threat to peace.

Through the implementation of the CSF from this year, the sub-regional body expects to create a borderless, prosperous, integrated and peaceful West Africa by 2020.
It replaces the Regional Action Plan which was in force from 2011-2015.

Goals
The ECOWAS Commission expects that by anchoring the objectives of the framework around the deepening of the process of socio-economic development, forging and consolidating regional economic and monetary integration, deepening the process of political cohesion and participation, mobilising and sustaining societal and institutional support and expanding and improving infrastructure, it will be able to tame challenges facing the sub-region and be more responsive to the needs of its citizenry.
At the opening of the three-day meeting yesterday, the Director of Strategic Planning of ECOWAS, Mr Essien Abel Essien, noted that the implementation of the CSF would mark the beginning of ECOWAS’s engagement in constructive policy dialogue and advocacy at the national, regional and global levels.
The meeting, supported by GIZ, a German development organisation, is part of a broader consultation by the ECOWAS Commission to harvest views from CSOs to enrich the document.

Threats
In the face of the increasing cases of insurgency in the sub-region, with Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Nigeria having been hit by terrorist attacks, Mr Essien told the Daily Graphic that while the threats were real, the key issues for deliberation included the kind of strategies that could be designed to minimise the threats.
While admitting that borderless boundaries posed some level of security threats, he said it was better to look at the positive side and design strategies to mitigate the negative things.
“The emphasis is not on the threats but the gains that will come from economic development and the deepening of economic integration,” he said.

New drive
The Executive Director of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), Nana Asantewa Afadzinu, said the new drive for the commission was to make the citizenry more informed about its activities.
“Now it is not about heads of states sitting somewhere in Abuja and making decisions. If we want real integration, we have to involve the people. So we are moving from an ECOWAS of states to an ECOWAS of people.    
“There is a deliberate effort to get civil society input into the framework and for us it is important because it will help us  make it practical,” she said.
A diplomat, Prof S.K.B. Asante, expressed worry over the failure of countries in the sub-region to establish local institutions solely for the implementation of ECOWAS initiatives.
He, therefore, commended the ECOWAS Commission for the new approach, saying, “Regional integration is not about integrating heads of state and their civil servants but the people.”
Meanwhile, the second meeting of the National Planning Experts of the sub-region is expected to come up next week for endorsement and final discussions on mainstreaming the framework.
- See more at: http://www.graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/61546-west-africa-csos-discuss-future-of-sub-region.html#sthash.zk5nvgXo.dpuf
Civil society organisations (CSOs) in West Africa are meeting in Accra to deliberate on how to strengthen the ECOWAS Community Strategic Framework (CSF) to tackle five key goals, including combating terrorism and the threat to peace.

Through the implementation of the CSF from this year, the sub-regional body expects to create a borderless, prosperous, integrated and peaceful West Africa by 2020.
It replaces the Regional Action Plan which was in force from 2011-2015.

Goals
The ECOWAS Commission expects that by anchoring the objectives of the framework around the deepening of the process of socio-economic development, forging and consolidating regional economic and monetary integration, deepening the process of political cohesion and participation, mobilising and sustaining societal and institutional support and expanding and improving infrastructure, it will be able to tame challenges facing the sub-region and be more responsive to the needs of its citizenry.
At the opening of the three-day meeting yesterday, the Director of Strategic Planning of ECOWAS, Mr Essien Abel Essien, noted that the implementation of the CSF would mark the beginning of ECOWAS’s engagement in constructive policy dialogue and advocacy at the national, regional and global levels.
The meeting, supported by GIZ, a German development organisation, is part of a broader consultation by the ECOWAS Commission to harvest views from CSOs to enrich the document.

Threats
In the face of the increasing cases of insurgency in the sub-region, with Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Nigeria having been hit by terrorist attacks, Mr Essien told the Daily Graphic that while the threats were real, the key issues for deliberation included the kind of strategies that could be designed to minimise the threats.
While admitting that borderless boundaries posed some level of security threats, he said it was better to look at the positive side and design strategies to mitigate the negative things.
“The emphasis is not on the threats but the gains that will come from economic development and the deepening of economic integration,” he said.

New drive
The Executive Director of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), Nana Asantewa Afadzinu, said the new drive for the commission was to make the citizenry more informed about its activities.
“Now it is not about heads of states sitting somewhere in Abuja and making decisions. If we want real integration, we have to involve the people. So we are moving from an ECOWAS of states to an ECOWAS of people.      
“There is a deliberate effort to get civil society input into the framework and for us it is important because it will help us  make it practical,” she said.
A diplomat, Prof S.K.B. Asante, expressed worry over the failure of countries in the sub-region to establish local institutions solely for the implementation of ECOWAS initiatives.  
He, therefore, commended the ECOWAS Commission for the new approach, saying, “Regional integration is not about integrating heads of state and their civil servants but the people.”
Meanwhile, the second meeting of the National Planning Experts of the sub-region is expected to come up next week for endorsement and final discussions on mainstreaming the framework.

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