A joint delegation of the ECOWAS Commission and representatives of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cabo Verde visited the National Centres for Coordination of the Early Warning and Response Mechanism (NCCRM) in Niger and Sierra Leone from March 6 through March 10, 2023, with the aim of exchanging experiences regarding the establishment and operationalization ofNCCRMs in ECOWAS member States.
The delegation included Ambassador Domingos Dias Pereira MASCARENHAS, Mr. Antonio VARELA, and Major Domingos Mendes TAVARES from Cabo Verde; Mr. Tunji OLONODE; and Madame Yema KAREMO-ONWUZURUMBA from the ECOWAS Commission.
The visit was in line with the ECOWAS Commission’s mandate to assist in the development of National Early Warning and Response Mechanisms (NEWRM) in ECOWAS Member States. The primary objective was to promote the strategic exchange of information on crucial procedures and activities required to ensure the smooth establishment of Cabo Verde’s NEWRM.
Once fully operational in all 15 Member States, the National Centers will serve as research strategic institutions capable of engaging with community stakeholders in peace building by providing the capability to quickly identify and respond to emerging threats for citizens’ well-being at the community and grassroots levels across the region.
The delegation arrived as part of the two-stop mission in Niamey, Niger, on the 6th of March 2023. The peer learning experience commenced with roundtable discussions with the Director of the NCCRM Niger, Mr. Ibrahim GARBA, and his team of experts, and was followed by an audience with the ECOWAS Resident Representative to Niger, H.E. N’Dri Guillaume GNAMIEN.
In addition, the delegates paid a courtesy visit to His Excellency Ouhoumoudou Mahambadou, Prime Minister of the Republic of Niger, for a brief on ECOWAS Member States’ leadership roles in the establishment of the National Early Warning and Response Mechanism, and the importance of same for the ECOWAS Region.
In Freetown, Sierra Leone, the delegation had extensive one day briefing sessions with Mrs. Francess A. M. Nyuma, the Director of the NCCRM Sierra Leone, and her team of analysts on March 9, 2023.
They also met with the Deputy Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Jonathan Titus-Williams, on March 10, 2023. In attendance were Mr Peter NUYABA SAM-KPAKRA, Development Secretary, Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, Mr Sumana O.Z. ALGHALI, Head of ECOWAS National Office, and Mr Saffa KANNEH, Deputy Head of ECOWAS National Office.
To conclude the experience sharing exercise, the delegation met with the Office of National Security (ONS) of the Republic of Sierra Leone, led by Mr. Abdulai CAULKER, the National Security Coordinator, who provided an extensive overview of Sierra Leone’s National Security Architecture (NSA), its attendant components of Intelligence, Information, Operations, and Special Committees, the integration of Early Warning factors and the three significant entry points of the NCCRM within the NSA in Sierra Leone.
The mission concluded with several outcomes and strategic recommendations for establishing NERMS and ensuring sustainability, the most important of which is maintaining the five (5) thematic pillars of good governance and human rights, crime and criminality, environment and climate change, health and pandemics, security, and violent extremism as the basis for its research strategy and developing a plan of action for effective communication and information sharing among existing NCCRMS.