The ECOWAS Commission through the Directorate of Humanitarian and Social Affairs has organized regional experts’ and ministerial meetings on the adoption of the ECOWAS Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) Implementation Action Plan 2023-2026 and the ECOWAS Standarized Emergency Management Systems (ESEMS) in Abuja, Nigeria. The three-day event is divided into two meetings namely; the experts meeting which runs from 1-2 November 2022 and the ministerial meeting taking place virtually on 3 November 2022.
In her opening remarks, the Director of Humanitarian and Social Affairs, ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Sintiki Tarfa Ugbe welcomed participants to this two-day regional meeting which was convened to thoroughly discuss and deliberate on the GCR Implementation Action Plan and the ECOWAS Standardized Emergency Management Systems. She said that the meetings become more imperative considering the displacments caused by conflict and climate oriented disasters that led to displacements of thousands of population the sub-region. She added that the ″ECOWAS Standardized Emergency Management Systems is a tool that will enhance operationalization and deployment of ECOWAS Emergency Response Team. It is also a tool to improve emergency preparedness and response to enhance building resilience″. She encouraged the experts at the meeting to study the plans with a view to make important inputs towards the final version of the documents.
The UNHCR Representative to Nigeria, Ms. Chansa Kapaya, in her remarks, said UNHCR and ECOWAS Commission have collaborated for decades which has resulted in meaningful results in terms of advocacy and awareness raising. She added that the ″2018 GCR provides a framework for more predictable and equitable responsibility sharing, recognizing that a sustainable refugee solution requires international cooperation. It guides governments, international organizations and other stakeholders to assist host communities, refugees, stateless persons and other forcefully displaced people to live a productive life″. She praised the commitment of ECOWAS Member States to refugee crisis management as evidenced by their participation in event like this as well as ECOWAS Commission for their proactiveness in organizing this event.
In a brief remark, the Chair of the Experts Meeting, Madam Ayesha Mariatu I. B. Ferreira, thanked the organizers for bringing knowledgeable professionals together to contribute inputs into the GCR and ECOWAS Emergency Management Systems. She urged ECOWAS Member States to localize the strategic plan and approach of the documents for their activities and actions. She sought the support of ECOWAS to Member States towards enhacing the effectiveness and efficiency of Emergency Response Preparedness in the sub-region.
Participants are expected to produce an updated version of the West African GCR Implementation Action Plan and the ECOWAS Standardized Emergency Management Systems at the end of the meetings.