ITF Reaching Out to West Africa
The Early Warning and Response Partnership (EWARP) supports information sharing, conflict prevention and crisis management among West African states. Through EWARP, the United States is working to develop the full-spectrum of early warning capacity for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and its member states so they can proactively identify emerging crises and improve their response mechanisms once a crisis begins. U.S. Department of State Grant to ITF Enhancing Human Security directly addresses the overall goal of ECOWAS Early Warning and Response System, which is “to have in place a fully integrated, decentralized and effective early warning and response system by 2020” through the four (4) strategic objectives namely:
- To improve the linkage between early warning and early response mechanisms at local, national and regional levels by operationalizing National Early Warning and Response Mechanisms (NEWRMs) in all 15 member states, linked to a Consolidated Situation Room and regional response mechanisms in ECOWAS HQ in Abuja, Nigeria.
- To strengthen the technical and management (including coordination) capacity of Early Warning Directorate (EWD) and Political Affairs, Peace and Security Department (PAPS) to ensure sustained effectiveness and efficiency of the ECOWAS early warning and response system at the regional level.
- To institutionalize a result based management system in EWD/PAPS that ensures learning and knowledge management for sustained excellence in early warning and response mechanisms.
- To improve partnerships and cooperation with other African Regional Economic Communities, AU, UN and other partners towards enhanced visibility, collaboration, quality improvement and leveraging of partnerships, financial and technical resources.
Since November 2015, ITF team has been engaged with EWD in Abuja to strengthen its capacities through the employment of additional staff, equipment and training. As part of the program objectives ITF is currently together with ECOWAS EWD team conducting implementation missions to the first five (5) ECOWAS Member States, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire and Liberia to set up and launch National Centers for Coordination of Response Mechanism (NCCRM), with the intention to bridge the gap between the alert (warning) and response.
On 28 and 29 November 2016 EWD/ITF team held meetings with Ivorian Task Force (TF) appointed by the Prime Minister to discuss the necessary preconditions that need to be in place for official launch of the NCCRM (i.e. Memorandum of Understanding, Center’s employees Job profiles, training and capacity building curricula, equipment, etc.) The team also inspected the premises designated by the Government of Cote d’Ivoire to host the Center in order to make final refurbishment before the installment of donated equipment. The team is fully supported on the ground through ECOWAS Office of Special Representative under the lead of Special Representative, H.E. Babacar Carlos Mbaye.
EWD/ITF Team continued to visit Liberia between 1 and 3 December 2016 to meet with the Liberian TF appointed under the Office of Vice President of Liberia to discuss and clarify remaining tasks ahead of TF prior to the launch of the center (i.e. recruitment process for staff to be employed in the Center, salary scales, coverage of Center’s operational costs, etc.). The team also met with the U.S. Ambassador H.E. Christine Elder and her team to provide brief on the project progress and next steps to be taken toward the successful initiation of the NCCRM. Ambassador Elder expressed full support and also thanked ECOWAS Special Representative – H.E. Tunde Ajisomo for his overall support to the program and efforts coordinating Liberian TF.
Following the meeting with the U.S. Embassy, the EWD/ITF team was invited to meet with Liberian Vice President Hon. Joseph N. Boakai Sr. who expressed strong support for the program and the need for the NCCRM in Liberia recalling the recent crisis with Ebola.
In the coming days the Team will engage with the National Counterparts in Mali and in early 2017 continue to Burkina Faso and Guinea Bissau.