COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE CIVIL SOCIETY CAPACITY BUILDING SESSION ON ECOWAS’ CONFLICT PREVENTION FRAMEWORK (ECPF) AND THE NEXUS WITH SECURITY SECTOR REFORMS (SSR) IN NIGERIA
Organised by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), in collaboration with Transparency International – Defence and Security Programme (TI-DSP), on the 13th of August, with support from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
CISLAC, in collaboration with Transparency International – Defence and Security Programme (TI-DSP), and with support from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a capacity building session on ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework (ECPF) and the nexus with Security Sector Reforms (SSR) for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). The ECPF is a comprehensive and operational conflict prevention, Security Sector Reform and peace-building strategy that enables the ECOWAS system and Member States to draw upon human and financial resources at the National, regional (including civil society and the private sector) and international levels in their efforts to creatively transform root causes of conflict. Strengthening security forces without putting in place proportional accountability mechanisms, causes a greater risk to the very people the security services are designed to protect.
One of the objectives of the session was to equip a set of trainers that will further popularize the ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework (ECPF) among CSOs working on conflict prevention, peace and security themes; align existing activities of the CSOs to the ECPF’s and SSR-G’s priorities and timeline; and foster collaborative efforts towards the operationalization of the ECPF. Another objective was to develop an advocacy strategy around the National Action Plan for the implementation of the ECPF.
After an enlightening and highly interactive session, the following observations and recommendations were highlighted:
- The draft ECOWAS Regional Framework recognizes that democratic governance and human security are at the core of the strategy, which aims at making security a regional public good and an essential service for citizens as well as a vital component in achieving sustainable development
- Another important extrinsic factor which affects policy implementation is political will on the part of leaders, particularly the Authority of Heads of State and Government, to turn the dead letters of the instruments into lived reality. Given that resources are limited, decisions as to where and how to channel available resources and the extent of support to be given in each case are often considered through politically coloured lenses. Political consensus building and decision-making are not only unavoidably very slow, but political considerations may even lead to unwillingness to act.
- The ECPF is one of the most revolutionary project that has come out of ECOWAS and requires adequate attention for positive results. Country working groups should be formalized to push for the domestication/implementation of the ECPF.
- Most CSOs do not know how to engage politically. Knowing what to engage, how and where is important. Mainstreaming Transparency and access to information and financial management processes are vital to the work of non-state actors.
- Engagement with the ECPF should be at country to country level. It is important to include transparency and anti-corruption in the building process of Security Reforms.
- Corruption in defence is dangerous, divisive and wasteful and therefore leaves an ineffective defence sector with multiple challenges around personnel, operations, finance, procurement and administration.
- The goals of the ECPF cannot be achieved without collaboration on the part of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) as change agents in any modern state
- The statement “in the interest of national security” needs to be addressed as it is often used to justify corruption within the defence sector.
- ECOWAS should build on the security governance component of the ECPF and the ECOWAS peace and security architecture, the regional framework should be seen as a tool for structural conflict prevention and a guide on how to make the security sector effective and accountable in compliance with democratic governance values.
- Nigeria should particularly ratify and domesticate relevant regional instruments, especially the ECOWAS Protocol Relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security, to enable their full implementation.
- ECOWAS Commission should develop specific operational guidance tools related to SSR activities such as assessment, programme/project evaluation, programming, gender and SSR, oversight, legal security framework, etc. Such tools will enable ECOWAS to combine its political support to SSR with specific technical assistance.
- To take ownership of the Regional Framework for SSR/G and demonstrate political leadership, member states should develop in an inclusive manner a national security policy or strategy and a national policy framework for SSR and governance, and conduct a periodic review, including expenditure review, and needs assessment of the security sector. These are effective ways to fill gaps within the security sector and review mandates in line with a fast changing security environment and the security and justice needs of states and peoples. In short, member states must unambiguously commit to genuine security sector reforms and better security sector governance.
- Stakeholders should invest energy towards Improving governance within the security sector and ensuring that the security and justice institutions are subordinate to democratic civilian authority which is the central concern of the SSR model, and its principal innovation as compared to previous forms of security assistance.
- CSOs should collaborate with the Foreign Affairs Ministry, The ECOWAS National focal person and ECOWAS to advocate for a better National Action Plan for the operationalization of the ECPF framework with an anti-corruption mantra underlining.
- There is an urgent call to restructure the Ministry of Defence for enhanced management of national defence; to establish a credible military structure with the capabilities required to meet current and future challenges.
- Auwal Ibrahim Musa – Executive Director, CISLAC
- Jaye Gaskia – Convener, Praxis Centre
- Professor Oshita O. Oshita – UBUNTU
- Senator Ireogbu – Global Sentinel