ECOWAS partners groups to interrogate insecurity, country resilience

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ECOWAS partners groups to interrogate insecurity, country resilience

By Mark Longyen

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) through its early warning directorate, has unveiled a strategic dialogue with various groups to conduct a conflict-mitigating country resilience and human security assessment.

Dr Chris Ngwodo, Director-General, Office for Strategic Preparedness and Response (OSPRE), announced this at a news conference in Abuja, saying the event was an important milestone, considering the prevalence of ECOWAS subregion’s conflicts.

He noted that West Africa had in the past decade become a theater of conflicts, political shocks, and various disruptions emanating from the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to him, the bloc has witnessed incidents of democratic regressions, unconstitutional changes of government and crisis, multidimensional crisis encapsulating the impacts of climate change, which should be interrogated and understood.

Ngwodo noted that all the conflicts had led to severe stresses on the subregion’s political stability, which necessitated resilience and human security assessment for West Africa, beginning with Nigeria.

“In broad terms, what we hope to achieve is two-fold. First, we want to be able to map the human security vulnerabilities that are engendering conflicts, instability and disruptions within our country, Nigeria.

“The second is that we want to be able to map the resilience factors in areas that are examples of positive deviance; that is to say, areas that are not quite subject to the same degree of instability, the same degree of conflict and crisis.

“Ultimately, our aim is to be able to link policy interventions aimed at promoting sustainable peace and development to hardcore evidence based research.

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“And in the course of doing this exercise, we’ve assembled a very reputable cast of scholars, researchers who have spent their lives interrogating issues of human security, peace and conflict,” he said.

The Director General explained that OSPRE was responsible for coordinating early warning and response mechanisms across Nigeria, adding that the event was to commence the country resilience and human security assessment for Nigeria.

“It is a study that is being undertaken across West Africa, but Nigeria is the first country to undertake it. It is aimed at mapping human security vulnerabilities and resilience factors within our country.

“We want to achieve an understanding of the complex issues that underlie conflict and instability within Nigeria.

“We want to map the resilience factors that can help us become better at combating those issues, issues that engender conflict and strife.

“And above all, we want to be able to create empirical data that can be used to inform policy interventions by the government. It is just starting,” Ngwodo said.

He further said that the dialogue was sequel to an earlier exercise, a human security vulnerability assessment, which was conducted in 2018.

“The findings of that exercise have been very useful in helping us establish early warning systems across West Africa and in Nigeria as well. So this is a continuation of that particular line of inquiry.

“We will be visiting both hot spots and places that have proven resilient to conflict and strife because we want to understand the resilience factors as well.

“Not just the vulnerabilities, not just the drivers of conflict, but we want to understand what makes certain places resilient in the face of conflict,” Ngwodo added.

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The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the partnership comprises ECOWAS, OSPRE, the Fund For Peace, FFF, the European Union, EU, and Germany’s GIZ, among many other organisations. (NAN)

Edited by Halima Sheji

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