June 16, 2024

ECOWAS hosts final EPSAO steering committee meeting, sets stage for new peace, security initiative


The ECOWAS Commission convened the 7th and final meeting of the Steering Committee for the ECOWAS Peace, Security, and Governance Support Project (EPSAO), marking the conclusion of a significant regional initiative aimed at bolstering peace and stability.

The meeting brought together representatives from the ECOWAS Commission, the European Union Delegation to Nigeria, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and several civil society organizations.

The primary focus was to review the final project evaluation, discuss implementation results, and outline recommendations for the upcoming EU Support to ECOWAS Peace, Security, and Governance Project (EPSG), set to commence in August 2024.

Mrs. Céline Lhoste, Head of the Regional Cooperation Section of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, thanked the ECOWAS Commission for hosting the concluding meeting. She emphasized the critical role of the EPSAO project in aiding Member States to enhance mechanisms for promoting peace and stability amid ongoing security threats such as terrorism, democratic regression, armed conflict, and electoral violence.

Dr. Sintiki Tarfa Ugbe, Director of Humanitarian and Social Affairs at the ECOWAS Commission, expressed gratitude to the European Union and the Federal Republic of Germany for their pivotal contributions to improving the region’s security architecture through the EPSAO project.

“Through the EPSAO Program, substantial support has been provided to ECOWAS in strengthening its conflict prevention and management capacity,” she stated.

Dr. Ugbe also highlighted that several initiatives and processes validated during the technical committee meeting, which preceded the final Steering Committee session, would be carried forward into the EPSG project.

Launched in February 2019 and implemented by GIZ, the EPSAO program has been co-financed by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The program has focused on strengthening regional peace, security, and stability through various initiatives, including the ECOWAS Reserve Force, the Network of Women Mediators (FEMWISE), National Quick Alert Centres, the Rapid Response Mechanism, the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC), and numerous civil society organizations.

As the EPSAO project concludes, ECOWAS and its partners remain committed to building on the successes and lessons learned to ensure the continued advancement of peace, security, and governance in West Africa. The forthcoming EPSG project will aim to further these efforts, addressing the region’s dynamic and evolving challenges with renewed vigor and strategic support.

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