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Cape Verde and ECOWAS adopt to improving protection and human security

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The ECOWAS Commission organized a 3-day Coordination and Capacity Building Workshop for Multi-Stakeholders from 12th to 14th April 2023 in the Republic of Cape Verde .

The Workshop aimed at the development and adoption of a Roadmap; as well as the establishment of an ECOWAS Integrated Protection and Human Security Coordination Mechanism (ECO-PHSICM). The activity in Cape Verde, which is the 9th Member State in which the workshop is being held, is a part of the Integrated Protection and Human Security Program of the Division of Human Security and Civil Society in the Directorate of Humanitarian and Social Affairs; Department of Human Development and Social Affairs. The Program is focused on strengthening the Protection and Human Security Architecture in all ECOWAS Member States.

At the Opening Ceremony, the ECOWAS Director for Humanitarian and Social Affairs, Dr Sintiki Tarfa Ugbe, represented by Mr. Olatunde Olayemi, Programme Officer, Trafficking in Persons, in welcoming the participants, said the ECOPHISM is a response in recognition of the complex linkages that exist between varied protection and human security vulnerabilities and risks such as Trafficking in persons, Violence against Children, Sexual and Gender Based Violence, effects of armed conflicts and situations of generalized violence, the situation of vulnerable migrants and other risks and vulnerabilities which are all interconnected. He emphasized the need for improved coordination and adherence to standards across the protection and human security response landscape. He stated that, once established in Cape Verde, the ECOPHISM will contribute to ensuring people can live in freedom and dignity with equal opportunities.

Remarks were received from the ECOWAS Resident Representative to the Republic of Cape Verde, Ambassador Dr Samuel Lamptey, who welcomed the participants and extended warm regards of H.E the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr Alieu Touray and said though the sub-region is gradually recovering from the pandemic and its impacts, as well as the crisis in Ukraine with its consequences, problems in relation to weak protection systems, still subsist. These result in physical violence meted out to children, sexual exploitation child marriage, vulnerabilities faced by migrants and the weak response in terms of social protection. He concluded by inviting participants to work in a coordinated manner to build improve human security outcomes.

The Ministry of Foriegn Affairs and Regional Integration, represented by the Secretary General , Dr. Myriam Vieira welcomed the initiative as being timely. She also expressed her delight at the senstization involved on the ECOWAS agenda on human security and said achieving its aims requires proper coordination and planning and a more inclusive approach at local, national and regional levels. The drivers of climate change, migratory flows, global events and crisis all have produced impacts on ECOWAS States; and she called on all ECOWAS countries to work together to strengthen the human security architecture of the region.

The Workshop ended with the adoption of a Roadmap by the Cape Verde stakeholders recommending the establishment of the Cape Verde Protection and Human Security Coordination Mechanism by national authorities, with membership from all relevant stakeholders. Recommendations emanating from the Workshop, including a number for immediate implementation, include: the harmonization of standards as appropriate and coordination of efforts and oversight for system wide implementation of agreed strategies; agregation of existing research studies and production of an extensive National Baseline Situation Assessment and Analysis on the state of Protection and Human Security in Cape Verde, to inform tracking of progress by all stakeholders including ECOWAS and Partners, as well as provide a common understanding and diagnosis of current dimensions and dynamics of protection and Human Security in the Republic of Cape Verde.

In closing, remarks were delivered by a representative of civil society organizations represented the, ECOWAS Director of Humanitarian and Social Affairs represented by Mr. Olatunde Olayemi and the closing remarks were made by the Representative of the President of the ECOWAS Commission in Cape Verde, Dr. Samuel Lamptey. In closing, he stated that he was looking forward, as he had been briefed was decided at the meeting, to a future session with a Task Team from stakeholders in the meeting to take the conversation further with respect to strengthening of protection and human security in Cape Verde. He assured all participants of the unyielding commitment of the ECOWAS Commission to the Government and people of Cape Verde towards delivering on human security and human rights.

The Workshop was well attended and participants included ECOWAS Commission Staff, ECOWAS National Office/ Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Cape Verde, Office of the ECOWAS Resident Representative in Cape Verde, Ministry of Justice, National Commission for Refugees, Human Rights Commission, Immigration Service, Instituto Nacional de Estatísticas de Cabo Verde, The Police Force – Polícia Nacional, Polícia Judiciária, Sindicato Nacional dos Professores (SINDEP), Associação Sindical dos Jornalistas de Cabo Verde (AJOC), Instituto do Desporto e da Juventude, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), SOS Village, amongst other participants.

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