EU/Afrika — 17th EU-ECOWAS Political Dialogue at Ministerial Level

26. The Par­ties reit­er­at­ed their con­cern over the pre­vail­ing secu­ri­ty sit­u­a­tion in the Sahel region against the back drop of weak oper­a­tional capac­i­ty of secu­ri­ty agen­cies to police the vast spaces. This, togeth­er with pover­ty and expo­sure to the impacts of cli­mate change, have cre­at­ed an enabling envi­ron­ment for organ­ised crime, traf­fick­ing and ter­ror­ist cells to thrive. In this regard, the Par­ties wel­comed the out­come of the Algiers Min­is­te­r­i­al meet­ing and the coor­di­na­tion of Sahel states in the fight against these chal­lenges. They renewed their call on all states in the region to step up their engage­ment and coop­er­a­tion, and to con­sol­i­date and devel­op intra-region­al dialogue. 

27. The EU informed ECOWAS of its on-going work with­in the EU ini­tia­tive for secu­ri­ty and devel­op­ment in the Sahel region and its upcom­ing mis­sion to Niger, which will com­plete the assess­ment of the sit­u­a­tion in the field, fol­low­ing pre­vi­ous mis­sions to Mau­ri­ta­nia and Mali. The EU added that it was pur­su­ing its efforts, in close coor­di­na­tion with the gov­ern­ments of the region, to address the under­ly­ing caus­es of insta­bil­i­ty, includ­ing sup­port for strength­en­ing insti­tu­tions of gov­er­nance. The EU wel­comed the sup­port that ECOWAS reit­er­at­ed in this regard and empha­sised the impor­tance of the Organ­i­sa­tion remain­ing engaged. The Par­ties exchanged infor­ma­tion on their cur­rent and envis­aged sup­port to tack­ling the food cri­sis in the Sahel region.

ECOWAS and pan-African peace and secu­ri­ty archi­tec­ture (incl. Stand­by Forces)

28. The ECOWAS side informed the EU del­e­ga­tion about the lat­est devel­op­ments in the imple­men­ta­tion of the ECOWAS Stand­by Force Roadmap, notably the recent field train­ing exer­cise FTX “Cohe­sion Benin 2010” in May in Benin. ECOWAS added that the FTX offered the oppor­tu­ni­ty to val­i­date the oper­a­tional deploy­ment capac­i­ty, and also the inter­ac­tion, of the dif­fer­ent com­po­nents of the East­ern Bat­tal­ion Units from Benin, Togo and Sier­ra Leone, led by Nige­ria under a real­is­tic sce­nario. ECOWAS said that the FTX con­clud­ed the val­i­da­tion of the ESF Task Force, hav­ing already val­i­dat­ed the West­ern Bat­tal­ion (in Decem­ber 2008 in Sene­gal) and the logis­tics com­pos­ite bat­tal­ion (in June 2009 in Burk­i­na Faso).

29. ECOWAS fur­ther informed the EU del­e­ga­tion that the next steps of the Road Map under the African Union vision 2010 would involve adjust­ing and evolv­ing this ESF Task Force into a Rapid Deploy­ment Capac­i­ty (RDC) able to inter­vene at very short notice with rel­a­tive auton­o­my which could be rein­forced accord­ing to the evo­lu­tion of the sit­u­a­tion on the ground with the remain­ing pledged units to con­sti­tute the ESF Main Brigade whose struc­ture, com­po­si­tion and for­mat have already been approved by the Com­mit­tee of ECOWAS Chiefs of Defence Staff.

30. ECOWAS con­clud­ed that the Vision and Roadmap of the Police com­po­nent have also been approved by the Com­mit­tee of the Chiefs of Secu­ri­ty Ser­vices and pledges made to sup­ply units. In this regard, ECOWAS was in the process of bring­ing onboard per­ma­nent police and gen­darmerie staff at the ECOWAS HQ in Abu­ja and that work was also in progress to devel­op the civil­ian component.

31. The EU side reit­er­at­ed its com­mit­ment and con­tin­ued sup­port for the efforts by ECOWAS to finalise the devel­op­ment of its Rapid Deploy­ment Capa­bil­i­ty, and encour­aged the ECOWAS to rein­force efforts cur­rent­ly under­way to inte­grate the police and civil­ian com­po­nents into the ESF as this would ensure an inte­grat­ed approach and facil­i­tate an effec­tive and flex­i­ble rights-based response to pos­si­ble crisis. 

32. Both Par­ties stressed the impor­tance of the ECOWAS Con­flict Pre­ven­tion Frame­work (ECPF) as the con­sol­i­dat­ed frame­work for joint action to meet the chal­lenges of prox­i­mate and struc­tur­al caus­es of con­flict in West Africa, and in this regard wel­comed the cen­tral role of the ECPF in fund­ing con­sid­er­a­tions under the 10th EDF. The ECOWAS Par­ty informed the EU del­e­ga­tion of on-going efforts by ECOWAS to devel­op the Plans of Action to facil­i­tate the oper­a­tional­i­sa­tion of the Frame­work, and in this con­text the mea­sures under­way to set up a Tech­ni­cal Steer­ing Com­mit­tee at the ECOWAS Com­mis­sion to over­see the process. It also informed about action being tak­en to estab­lish a Medi­a­tion Facil­i­ta­tion Divi­sion with­in the ECOWAS Com­mis­sion. The EU side wel­comed these devel­op­ments and encour­aged ECOWAS to speed up the oper­a­tional­i­sa­tion of the ECPF, stress­ing that the oper­a­tional and struc­tur­al con­flict pre­ven­tion in the region is a joint priority.

33. The Par­ties also wel­comed the com­mit­ments and pri­or­i­ties iden­ti­fied in the Mon­rovia Dec­la­ra­tion of 26 March 2010 issued at the ECOWAS con­fer­ence on “Two decades of peace process­es in West Africa”, and encour­aged all part­ners and ECOWAS Mem­ber States to sup­port their realisation.

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