The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is organizing from October 12 to 14, 2021, in collaboration with the West African Network of Civil Societies in the Fight against Substance and Drug Abuse ( WANCSA in English ), a virtual workshop in order to validate the draft Drug Action Plan and to strengthen the capacities of the members of the said network.
Drug use, trafficking, production and cultivation of illicit substances affect most countries of the world. They pose public health, development and security problems in both industrialized and developing countries. According to the various reports of the West African Network for Epidemiology on Drug Use (WENDU) (2014-2017; 2018-2019), West Africa is facing significant drug-related problems, mainly the high consumption of cannabis, cocaine / crack and, to a lesser extent, heroin with negative health and social consequences.
In response to this issue, ECOWAS is organizing this meeting in order to sensitize representatives of civil society organizations (CSOs), members of WANCSA, to drug demand reduction and general priorities in terms of prevention and treatment. drug addiction and equip them with the skills and knowledge to design and implement effective evidence-based prevention and care interventions and familiarize them with regional drug policies, prevention initiatives and best practices in data collection.
This three-day workshop will also serve to participants working in the field of drug addiction prevention and related issues, active in the sub-region, to exchange on their experiences as well as best practices in prevention and care. , and finally to validate the draft WANCSA Action Plan on Drugs for the years 2022 to 2025.
Opening the proceedings on Tuesday, October 12, 2021, Dr. Siga Fatima Jagne, Commissioner in charge of Social Affairs and Gender of the ECOWAS Commission in his remarks, insisted on the importance of CSOs in the prevention and control of drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking.
She also underlined that in recent years, WANCSA has greatly improved the interactions between the ECOWAS Commission and CSOs in West Africa, thus facilitating the commitments of these organizations in terms of prevention. addiction and caring for people with drug use disorders.
Dr. Sintiki Tarfa Ugbe, Director of Humanitarian and Social Affairs at the Commission of the West African Sub-Regional Organization through the voice of Mr. Daniel Amankwaah, Senior Program Officer, joined Commissioner Jagne to welcome members of civil society and welcome the strong participation of WANCSA members in this work.
It should be noted that during this opening ceremony, The Secretary General of the West African Civil Society Network on Drug Addiction (WANCSA), Me Eze Eluchie and the Executive Director of the Philip Foundation (Ghana), Mr. Philip Boateng have delivered speeches in which they magnified the cooperation between their respective organizations and ECOWAS, and congratulated ECOWAS in its commitment to fight against the trafficking and consumption of drugs and illicit substances in the Community space.
During this opening ceremony, workshop participants also followed a presentation by Hajiya Raheemat Momodu, Head of the Human Security and Civil Society Division at the ECOWAS Commission. Other presentations are planned throughout these three days of work, under the coordination of two ECOWAS experts: Dr. Ludimila Barai Mikulec, Emergency Protection Program Officer and Dr. Olubusayo Akinola, Responsible for Program, Drug Demand Reduction
It should be recalled that the West African Network of Civil Societies in the Fight against Substance and Drug Abuse (WANCSA) was established by ECOWAS in 2018, with the support of the European Union. It brings together 33 focal points from the 15 ECOWAS Member States and Mauritania.