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ECOWAS Advocates for Stronger Multilateralism at the United Nations

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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has brought its vision for strengthening multilateralism to the United Nations (UN).

At the ECOWAS @ 49 high-level event held on June 7, 2024, in the ECOSOCC chamber at the UN headquarters in New York, the ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace, and Security, Amb. Abdel-Fatau Musah, emphasized the importance of regionalism, democracy, and development in West Africa.

Representing the ECOWAS Commission’s President Omar Alieu Touray, Commissioner Musah highlighted the significant strides made by ECOWAS, tracing its history from its intervention in Chad in 1981 to more recent mediation missions. He underscored West Africa’s historical significance as a cradle of great African empires and civilizations, positioning the region as a critical player in the discourse on regionalism and multilateralism.

Commissioner Musah called for continued support for ECOWAS, noting its pioneering efforts in establishing protocols for the free movement of people, goods, and the right of residence and establishment. He highlighted ongoing projects aimed at enhancing interconnectivity and economic interdependence within the region, such as the common external tariff.

Musah also emphasized the importance of self-sufficiency, revealing that ECOWAS draws 75 to 80 percent of its funding from a 0.5 percent community levy. He thanked Nigeria for its significant contributions to the region’s economic stability and peacekeeping efforts.

Addressing the issue of three Member States signaling their intention to withdraw from ECOWAS, Commissioner Musah stressed the need to rebuild multilateralism and engage with these states to address their grievances. “Disagreement must not lead to divorce. We are determined that they come back as there is a lot to lose by all sides should they go,” he said.

Cross Section Of Panelists
Cross Section Of Panelists

The event, moderated by H.E. Amb. Cheikh Niang, Dean of the ECOWAS Group of Ambassadors at the UN and Senegal’s permanent representative to the UN, featured presentations by Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, who praised ECOWAS’s achievements. Goodwill messages came from various representatives, including H.E. Ambassador Kinza Jawara-Njai, the ECOWAS Permanent Representative to the UN, and Prof. Rita Kiki Edozie of the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

The session concluded with a call for collective understanding and support for ECOWAS’s approach to regionalism, democracy, sustainable development, and enhanced multilateralism. The high-level dialogue, themed “ECOWAS at 49: Regionalism, Democracy, and Development in West Africa: Building Blocks to Strengthening Multilateralism,” was streamed live on UNWeb TV.

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