ECOWAS sets up Early Warning and Response Centre …to combat rising conflicts and other threats facing sub-region

Ghana is readying itself to set up an Early Warning and Response Centre in the face of rising conflicts and threats facing the West African sub-region.

The centre is expected to pick up signs of imminent threats while proposing actions, co-ordinate, and ensure monitoring of response mechanisms among relevant stakeholders towards protecting lives and property in the event of crisis.

The move is in line with ECOWAS’ vision to have a fully integrated and functional Early Warning System (EWS) in place to provide timely reports and analysis to enable effective responses in preventing and mitigating violent conflicts on the sub-region.

So far, National Centres for the Coordination of Response Mechanism (NCCRM) has been established in five pilot countries and Ghana is expected to join five others including The Gambia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo and Benin under the second phase to set up the mechanism.

The venture is expected to be funded by the German Agency for Cooperation (GIZ) and the European Union (UN) under its “African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA)” project.

At a sensitisation workshop in Accra yesterday to present progress on Ghana’s EWS, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration (MFARI), Mr Charles Owiredu indicated that the ministry was in the process of constituting a taskforce to put the structure in place.

“In the ensuing days, we will constitute a taskforce with representatives from key ministries to draft the instrument for the establishment of the early warning mechanism in Ghana and we expect that will deploy all efforts to ensure success of this important enterprise.”

Mr Owiredu numerated the benefits of establishing the centre including the prevention and reduction in loss of life, mitigation of crisis related to the environment, equitable distribution of public health facilities, promotion of human rights and justice and prevention of international organised crimes like human trafficking, cybercrime among others.

“While anticipating the establishment of a centre for the numerous benefits we stand to gain as a nation as far as early warning signs and response mechanisms are concerned, it is my hope that the link between the early warning signs and early response is further strengthened for optimal outcomes,” he stated.

In an address, Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission, Madam Finda Korama pointed out that the sub-regional body hoped to establish EWS in all 50 member states by December 2020.

The intervention she stated was in line with ECOWAS vision 2050 strategy which seeks to among others build a much formidable body while meeting the aspirations of member states to improve the livelihood of the populace.

“As we continue to face threats in the region which is causing brain drain and denying our citizens the opportunity to meaningfully contribute to development, there is the need for us to put measures in place to forestall and control such tendencies,” she noted.

Madam Korama while lauding Ghana for being “a strong member of the ECOWAS” appealed that measures are expedited in setting up the centre before the December general elections.

Participants at the workshop included government officials, ECOWAS ambassadors, diplomats and development partners.

BY ABIGAIL ANNOH

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