ECOWAS-UNDP Technical Consultation Initiates Efforts To Develop West Africa Resilience Strategy

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Ecowas Undp
Ecowas Undp

The ECOWAS Commission, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has launched a three-day regional workshop aimed at developing the Regional Resilience Strategy for West Africa. Held at the NAF Conference Centre in Abuja, this event represents a significant step in addressing the region’s challenges and promoting resilience and sustainable development.

Despite West Africa’s abundant natural resources, sustainable exploitation and equitable distribution of benefits to communities remain challenging. The region, contributing only 1.8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, faces increasing temperatures and extreme weather events, exacerbated by inadequate development and governance, and security-related issues.

In her opening remarks, H.E. Professor Fatou Sow Sarr, Commissioner for Human Development and Social Affairs at the ECOWAS Commission, highlighted West Africa’s vulnerability to hazards and disasters, including climate change impacts, conflict, poverty, and disease outbreaks, stressing the importance of disaster risk reduction in post-disaster recovery and development.

“This workshop marks a substantial advancement in our efforts to enhance resilience in West Africa. Through collaboration with UNDP and our stakeholders, we can formulate robust strategies to tackle the multifaceted challenges facing our regions,” she said, expressing gratitude to partners and donors for their support, and reaffirming ECOWAS’ commitment to strengthening resilience in West Africa.

Honorable Alhaji Mustapha Habib Ahmed, Director General, National Emergency Management Agency of Nigeria (NEMA), stressed the need for West Africa to develop a regional resilience strategy that is efficient and effective. This will guide anticipatory actions to support the use of qualitative and quantitative data for risk-informed decision-making. It is imperative for the region to leverage its rich natural and human capital for smart investments to meet up with its future aspirations.

Discussions during the workshop will cover six thematic areas: good governance, peace, and security; macroeconomic resilience; sustainable livelihoods; social protection and resilience; gender and social inclusion; and climate change and disaster risk reduction.

Mr. Blessed Chirimuta, Deputy Representative of UNDP Nigeria, highlighted the significance of partnerships for sustainable development and resilience-building: “The ability to prevent, resist, absorb, adapt, respond, and recover positively from various risks is essential for sustainable development, peace, security, human rights, and well-being for all.”

“Our partnership with ECOWAS and the support of Sweden and Denmark are critical in our mission to enhance resilience in West Africa. Together, we must leverage our expertise and resources to pave the way for a more resilient and prosperous future for all,” emphasized Mr. Chirimuta.

Under the Sahel Resilience and Climate Security Projects, funded by the Swedish and Danish governments respectively, the consultation brings together key stakeholders from West Africa, including the ECOWAS Commission and its directorates, Member States, as well as regional, continental, and international organizations, including the United Nations.

This technical consultation signifies a crucial moment in strengthening West Africa’s resilience amid significant demographic, social, economic, environmental, and political transformations. With the region’s population expected to exceed 900 million by 2050 including over 64% under 25 years old, innovative approaches are needed to address the evolving needs and the future of youthful communities.

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