ECOWAS - Economic Community of West African States

06/11/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/11/2024 05:41

ECOWAS organises the Experts Meeting for the Setting up of Economic, Social and Cultural Council in West Africa (ECOSOCC-WA)

ECOWAS organises the Experts Meeting for the Setting up of Economic, Social and Cultural Council in West Africa (ECOSOCC-WA)

11 Jun, 2024

An expert group meeting for the setting up of Economic, Social and Cultural Council in West Africa (ECOSOCC-WA) is scheduled to hold between the 12th and 13th of June 2024 in Cotonou, Republic of Benin. Participants at the 2-day meeting are expected to review and strengthen, the draft foundational framework document that resulted from the two consultative meetings held on the heels of the experts' convergence for the setting up of ECOSOCC West Africa.

The meeting will also review a draft tentative 3-year work program and action plan for ECOSOCC-WA while considering a draft indicative 3-year budget aimed at providing a strong foundational take-off for civil society contribution to peacebuilding and development in the ECOWAS community. Greater understanding of the comparative advantages and strategic importance of ECOSOCC-WA in addressing the present and potential political and socio-economic challenges and complexities facing the ECOWAS region will be forged. The meeting will also feature a presentation of key pointers, plenaries, and group working sessions, and enlightening interactive discussions.

A robust regional ECOWAS-Civil Societies Organization (CSO) coordinating platform around democracy, peace and security is part of the strategies to support the realization of the ECOWAS'4×4 agenda, as well as the ECOWAS peace and security priorities in the region. Thus, ECOSOCC-WA provides a platform for civil society organizations to actively contribute to regional integration, address shared challenges, and promote inclusive development. The platform will also contribute to addressing the prevailing democratic reversals and threat to peace and security in the region.

Participants as experts are drawn from representatives of key Social and Cultural agencies of ministries from the 15 ECOWAS member states, the private sector, Think Tanks, and governance, peace, and security stakeholders across the region.

The collaboration between ECOWAS and CSOs underscores the significance of fostering strategic partnerships between civil society, governments, development partners and economic communities. It is evident that the role of CSOs has evolved from being mere watchdogs to serving as credible bridge-builders between policymakers and the ECOWAS community, thereby enhancing the effectiveness of their collaboration.

The experts meeting is holding with the active support of the ECOWAS partners, chief among which is the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)- within the framework of the Strengthening Regional Peace and Stability in West Africa Program (SRPS), West African Network for Peace building (WANEP), the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), as well as the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA).

The Cotonou ECOSOCC meeting builds on the regional meeting on its establishment which held on the 22nd and 23rd of February 2024 in Abuja, Nigeria. The regional meeting was an offshoot of the internal consultative Workshop which took place in Lagos, Nigeria, in December 2023.

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