By John Okeke
Abuja 12th November 2020. The second Steering Committee Meeting of the ECOWAS Peace and Security Architecture and Operations (EPSAO) Project held virtually on 12 November 2020. The Steering Committee is to assess the progress of the EPSAO project so far, approve the Project Workplan and provide strategic guidance to overcome implementation challenges.
In her opening remarks the Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission, H.E. Finda Koroma, expressed her gratitude to the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) for their continued technical and financial support. She highlighted the four (4) key result areas of the EPSAO project, including strengthening ECOWAS’s mechanisms to promote and maintain peace and stability, supporting ECOWAS to manage erupting or existing conflicts, contributing to the creation of a secure and safe post conflict environment and supporting ECOWAS to contribute to non-violent, fair, transparent and inclusive electoral processes.
She reiterated the full commitment of the ECOWAS management to the EPSAO project.
The Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Kurt Cornelis, highlighted the necessity for ECOWAS to effectively fulfill its mandate in the area of peace and security particularly in a time of several emerging security challenges in the region. . To that effect, he emphasized the relevance of the support being provided to ECOWAS Commission by the EPSAO project. . He finally commended the ECOWAS Commission and the GIZ Technical Assistance Team for continued implementation amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The meeting commended the achievements recorded in 2020, including equipping the national Early Warning and response Mechanisms in Sierra Leone and The Gambia, deployment of a core team of experts to support and strengthen the ECOWAS electoral observation mission in Burkina Faso, strengthening partnership with the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) and Ecole de Santé des Armés de Lomé (ESSAL) to boost the training standards for the ECOWAS Standby Force. The Steering Committee adopted the 2019-2020 Progress Report and approved the EPSAO Annual Workplan.
EPSAO is co–funded by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.