We must work together to achieve the ECOWAS vision – Ayorkor Botchwey

Politics Ghana Ecowas
Politics Ghana Ecowas

Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, has urged Member States of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to work together towards achieving the ECOWAS vision of a prosperous and peaceful West Africa.

The Minister made the appeal in a statement read on her behalf at the opening of the ECOWAS In-Country High Level Advocacy, Coordination and Capacity Building Workshop of Multi-Stakeholders and Establishment of the ECOWAS Protection and Human Security Integrated Coordination Mechanisms (ECO-PHSICM) in Accra.

The three-day meeting is being organised by the Department of Human Development and Social Affairs ECOWAS in collaboration with the Government of Ghana.

Madam Ayorkor Botchwey said the importance of this Capacity Building Workshop on Human Security could not be over-emphasized considering the severe risks faced by vulnerable and victimized populations across the region.

She said the worsening case of child abuse, Trafficking in Persons (TIP), violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL), Gender-Based Violence (GBV), and human-induced conditions that inhibit populations from harmonious living continue to confront countries in increasingly complex and interconnected forms.

She noted that it highlighted the need for a more comprehensive approach to addressing the issues that instigated human security challenges in the region for the collective good of the citizens of ECOWAS.

She said over the past two decades, several reports suggested that human security had become an extremely serious issue in West Africa due in part to worsening social and economic fortunes, internal conflicts, political instability and civil wars.

The Minister said while the incidence of violence had weakened governments and prevented them from fulfilling their responsibilities in ensuring their populations’ security, there had equally been a lack of effective policy response to some of the mundane issues that insecured the lives of populations in the sub-region.

Madam Ayorkor Botchwey said even more poignant was the fact that the ineffective policy response had resulted in widespread poverty, displacement, human rights violations and many other forms of insecurity, further exacerbating the human security situation in the region.

“Thus, citizens of our community continue to face life‐threatening dangers which deprive them of living humanely, triggering social breakdown and thus, inhibiting development by depriving countries of the full benefits of their human capital,” she said.

“This situation has also contributed to rendering large sections of society, especially women and children vulnerable to the promise of better opportunities only to be trafficked for domestic work, farm labour and commercial sex.”

She expressed the hope that the eventual establishment of the Office of the ECOWAS Protection and Human Security Integrated Coordination Mechanism in Ghana would aid in coordinating the efforts of all stakeholders in promoting the rights and freedoms of people, maintaining their dignity, as well as, ensuring equal opportunities for all to enjoy their rights and develop their human potential.

Adding that truly this was indicative of the commitment of the ECOWAS Commission to the principle of its founding charter of respect for dignity, peace and prosperity for all citizens of West Africa.

Mr Baba Gana Wakil, the ECOWAS Resident Representative in Ghana, reiterated the commitment of the ECOWAS Commission, to work with the Government of Ghana and other stakeholders towards improving the human security and protection situation of the country.

He implored both the State and non-State actors to leverage the presence of the Office of the ECOWAS Resident Representative in Ghana in, planning and implementation of their programmes.

“We must work together to improve human security in the country by leveraging the capacities and resources of relevant stakeholders and ensuring that every citizen is protected,” Mr Wakil said.

Dr Sintiki Tarfa Ugbe, Director Humanitarian and Social Affairs, ECOWAS Commission, in his welcome remarks noted that the Accra meeting, seeks to create an unique opportunity to address human security and protection challenges through an integrated, multisectoral and human rights-based approach.

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