June 16, 2024

ECOWAS, UNHCR forge alliance to tackle forced displacement in West Africa


In a landmark collaboration aimed at addressing the pressing issue of forced displacement in West Africa, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have joined forces with the ECOWAS Standing Council of Representatives (CPR).

This groundbreaking initiative was officially announced during the ECOWAS Ambassadors Retreat, convened from May 31st to June 1st, 2024, in Rivers State, Nigeria. The retreat serves as a crucial platform for fostering dialogue and cooperation among regional stakeholders with the overarching objective of enhancing the protection and support systems for refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) while unlocking sustainable solutions for forced displacement challenges across the region.

The collaborative effort between ECOWAS and UNHCR, bolstered by the involvement of the ECOWAS Standing Council of Representatives, underscores a collective commitment to addressing the multifaceted dimensions of forced displacement and advancing durable solutions in West Africa.

Key objectives of the initiative include:

Enhanced Protection Space: By strengthening collaboration and coordination mechanisms, the alliance seeks to bolster the protection space for refugees, IDPs, and other forcibly displaced populations in the region. This entails ensuring access to essential services, safeguarding basic rights, and promoting the well-being of affected individuals and communities.

Unlocking Sustainable Solutions: Through innovative approaches and concerted action, the partnership aims to identify and implement sustainable solutions to forced displacement, including voluntary repatriation, local integration, and resettlement initiatives. By addressing root causes and facilitating durable outcomes, the initiative seeks to mitigate the protracted nature of displacement crises in West Africa.

Regional Cooperation and Solidarity: Recognizing the transnational nature of forced displacement challenges, the collaboration emphasizes the importance of regional cooperation and solidarity. By fostering dialogue, sharing best practices, and mobilizing collective resources, ECOWAS, UNHCR, and the ECOWAS Standing Council of Representatives aim to catalyze concerted efforts towards achieving lasting solutions and promoting stability and resilience across the region.

As stakeholders convene at the ECOWAS Ambassadors Retreat, the launch of this collaborative initiative heralds a new chapter in regional efforts to address forced displacement in West Africa.

With a shared vision and commitment to action, ECOWAS, UNHCR, and the ECOWAS Standing Council of Representatives are poised to make significant strides towards realizing durable solutions and fostering a more secure and prosperous future for all affected populations in the region.

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