West Africa: Assisting the Development of an ECOWAS Security Sector Governance Concept and Strategy
At the regional level, the ECOWAS Vision 2020 strategy which seeks to transform the region from an ECOWAS of states to an ECOWAS of peoples identifies security governance as one of its building blocks. The ECOWAS Vision can be achieved only in an environment of lasting peace, human security and political stability. However, the multiplicity of regional protocols and derivative instruments touching on peace and security makes it urgent and important to clarify overarching regional security objectives and strategy.
DCAF supports the Commission of the ECOWAS in the development of an ECOWAS Security Sector Governance concept which is hinged on and expands upon the ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework.
Specifically, DCAF and partners have brought together SSR policy makers and practitioners to build support for this development and will continue to do so. DCAF also substantively contributed to the review, finalisation and harmonisation of contributions to the draft ECOWAS Regional Concept for Security Sector Governance / Security Sector Reform. The Concept will be followed by an Action Plan.
The draft ECOWAS Regional Concept attempts to answer pertinent questions in a bid to clearly define regional security objectives. It seeks to clarify the following:
- What security means in the West African context
- Why security sector governance and reform
- Whose security is to be guaranteed
- Who are involved in providing and overseeing security
- What the objectives of security are
- What the challenges to security are and the required reforms
The Action Plan which will be developed as a follow up to the Regional Concept will outline how those security objectives will be translated into effective outcomes. Taken together, the two documents will chart a clear path to effective regional security programming and implementation.
The unique value added by the draft ECOWAS Regional Concept and Action Plan lies in its holistic and operational approach. It does not seek to develop additional norms or standard in promoting democratic security sector governance and reform but rather prescribes positive steps towards compliance with norms, standards and objectives already contained in the comprehensive regional security architecture.