From its origins as an organisation mandated to promote economic integration, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has become increasingly involved in the promotion of security, development and the rule of law. DCAF has established a long-term cooperation with ECOWAS on democratic security sector governance issues in the West African region.
DCAF and the ECOWAS Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation in Promoting and Assisting the Development of Democratic and Good Security Sector Governance in ECOWAS Member Statesin August 2010. Among other objectives, the MoU seeks to enable donors and multilateral actors enhance support to ECOWAS within the framework of its conflict prevention and security sector governance and reform strategy. DCAF has a liaison office at the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja, Nigeria.
DCAF also has an MoU with the ECOWAS Parliament on parliamentary capacity enhancement. The two organisations are in the process of outlining current and future areas of cooperation in order to expand the already fruitful collaboration and to form a bridge between the regional parliament and national parliaments particularly in the area of peace and security. DCAF remains committed to strengthening the capacity of the ECOWAS Parliament as it emerges as an influential institutional actor in peace, security and development.
Key areas of DCAF's work with ECOWAS include:
- Supporting the development and adoption process of the Code of Conduct for Armed Forces and Security Services of ECOWAS. The Code reaffirms good standards of conduct, democratic principles, and promotes respect for human rights and international humanitarian law by the armed forces and security services in West Africa.
- Promoting and disseminating the Code's principles in ECOWAS member states and, at the regional level, amongst the ECOWAS Standby Force (ESF) civilian and military personnel.
- Assisting in the development and implementation of an ECOWAS Regional Concept for Democratic Governance and Reform of the Security Sector.
- Producing a Guide for West African parliamentarians on parliamentary oversight of the security sector, in cooperation with the ECOWAS Parliament.
- Working with the ECOWAS Gender Development Centre and other partners to examine and address gender and SSR issues in the ECOWAS region.