RETHINKING & REFRAMING THE APPROACH TO PEACE PROCESSES WITH A VIEW TO FOSTERING LASTING PEACE. ADDRESS BY SEN. EDWIN MELVIN SNOWE, JR., CHAIRMAN, POLITICAL AFFAIRS, PEACE, SECURITY AND AFRICAN PEER REVIEW MECHANISM COMMITTEE OF THE ECOWAS PARLIAMENT, TO THE 144TH IPU ASSEMBLY BALI, INDONESIA, 20TH – 24TH MARCH, 2022

Excellency, Chairperson of the IPU;
Heads of Delegations;
Dear Colleagues;
Ladies & Gentlemen.
Thank you for the opportunity accorded us to share the views of the
ECOWAS Parliament on rethinking & reframing the approach on peace and
International Security.
Let me take this time to acknowledge the presence of the Honorable
Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, His Excellency Dr. Sidie Mohammed
Tunis and other members of our delegation.
Chairperson of the IPU
Excellencies,

The West African region has made some progress in democracy
consolidation, regional cooperation, and economic growth over the
years. However, the region has been in the global spotlight of recent
due to persistent insecurity and accompanying humanitarian crises.
Indeed, the current peace and security climate in West Africa is
brimming with existing and emerging threats that are national,
regional, and global in character. The threats are occasioned by
incidents of terrorism, violent extremism, election violence, inter

communal violence, ethnic violence, farmer-herder conflicts,
transnational organized crime, and climate change, among others.

  1. In an effort to find a long lasting solution to previous security problems
    that confronts the region, the Economic Community of West African
    States (ECOWAS), in 2008, adopted the ECOWAS Conflict Prevention
    Framework (ECPF), to serve as strategic framework for improving
    conflict prevention and human security. The adoption of the ECOWAS
    Conflict Prevention Framework is an addition to several initiatives
    which includes key protocols and conventions that are aimed to build a
    stable West Africa as prerequisite for social, political and economic
    development.
  2. Some of the earlier initiatives by ECOWAS to promote stability in the
    region include but not limited to; the Protocol on Non-Aggression
    (1978), the Protocol on Mutual Assistance on Defense (1982); ECOWAS
    Revised Treaty (1993); the Protocol Relating to the Mechanism for
    Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and
    Security (here after the Mechanism); Declaration of Political Principles
    (1991); and the Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good
    Governance (2001). communal violence, ethnic violence, farmer-herder conflicts,
    transnational organized crime, and climate change, among others.
  3. In an effort to find a long lasting solution to previous security problems
    that confronts the region, the Economic Community of West African
    States (ECOWAS), in 2008, adopted the ECOWAS Conflict Prevention
    Framework (ECPF), to serve as strategic framework for improving
    conflict prevenAon and human security. The adopAon of the ECOWAS
    Conflict Prevention Framework is an addition to several initiatives
    which includes key protocols and conventions that are aimed to build a
    stable West Africa as prerequisite for social, political and economic
    development.
  4. Some of the earlier initiatives by ECOWAS to promote stability in the
    region include but not limited to; the Protocol on Non-Aggression
    (1978), the Protocol on Mutual Assistance on Defense (1982); ECOWAS
    Revised Treaty (1993); the Protocol Relating to the Mechanism for
    Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and
    Security (hereafter the Mechanism); Declaration of Political Principles
    (1991); and the Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good
    Governance (2001). Over the years, with the mandate provided by
    virtue of these protocols, ECOWAS has made significant contribution to
    the promotion of peace and security in Côte d’Ivoire (2010), Guinea
    Bissau (2012), Liberia (1990), and Sierra Leone (2002), where violent
    conflicts took place.
  5. Excellencies, distinguished ladies & gentlemen, the overall aim of the
    ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework is to strengthen the human
    security architecture in West Africa. The intermediate purpose is to create cooperative interaction within the region and with external
    partners to push conflict prevention and peace-building up the
    political agenda of Member States in a manner that will trigger timely
    and targeted multi-actor and multi-dimensional action to defuse or
    eliminate potential and real threats to human security in a predictable
    and insitutional manner.

    5. Despite the Protocols in place to tackle the insecurity within the
    region, recently, there has been decline in the democracy landscape in
    West Africa with implications on peace, development and security of
    its people. Notable trends include the re-emergence of military coup
    d’état and overthrow of democracy governments as can be observed
    in Mali (2021), Guinea (2021) and in Burkina Faso (2022) most
    recently, to include the failed coup in Guinea Bissau (2022). Of note is
    that in the case of Guinea, the tension generated by the incumbent
    administrations aspiration for a 3rd term was one of the root causes of
    the 2021 coup d’état. These have not only thwarted democracies, but
    also led to political uncertainties in the affected countries. The case of
    Guinea is not an isolated incident but the trajectory of incumbent’s
    administration’s efforts towards consitutional amendment in relation
    to Presidental term limits and tenure elongation as also recently
    witnessed in Togo and Cote d’Ivoire with growing fears of attempts by
    other Member States adopting this trend. This has further undermined
    governance leading to fractured civic space, social in cohesion,
    manipulation of the electoral processes and violent dissensions
    between citizens and political actors.

  6. Excellencies, distinguished ladies & gentlemen, in reaction to these
    emerging political challenges in the region, Member States were
    unanimous in demanding during the extraordinary session of the

ECOWAS Heads of State and Government of September 16, 2021, for
the President of the Commission to initiate the process of reviewing
the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy & Good Governance.

  1. This call was received with enthusiasm by all stakeholders, including
    the ECOWAS Parliament. The call was also seen as an effort to regain
    ECOWAS dwindling political relevance amongst its citizens and also
    shore up a renewed wave of democracy stability in the region. Also, it
    meant to address critical aspects of the above mentioned Protocol to
    respond effectively the declining democracy governance in the region,
    including the issue of presidenAal term limits and tenure elongaAon.
  2. Of recent, ECOWAS has found useful the deployment of special
    mediators and members of the Council of the Wise (a group of
    eminent personalities, including former heads of state, ministers,
    diplomats, and other high level personalities) in fact finding,
    facilitation, mediation and negotiation missions in areas of potential
    conflict. In addition, ECOWAS Heads of State also apply methods such
    as peer review, peer pressure and consensus building to resolve
    lingering crises, behind the scenes and often to good effect.

    9. As a Parliament and as enshrined in relevant Articles of its established
    Supplementary Act, the Parliament has been able through its activies
    to create for itself an enviable record of peace keeping and mediation.
    Parliament, as a matter of parliamentary diplomacy, was involved in
    the search for peace in the Mano River Union (MRU) in 2002, where
    Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia had fragile peace. Parliament also
    initiated peace talks between the Liberian United Reconciliation and
    Democracy (LURD) rebels and the Liberian Government.

    10.Also, the Parliament mediated the 2018 dispute in the Sierra Leonean
    Parliament where the leadership of the Parliament was in an impasse
    with their membership, there were many others. Parliament regularly
    conducts Fact- Finding pre-election missions to ensure a level playing
    field and subsequently dispatches observers to verify the fairness of
    the votes during elections. This is a framework which the Parliament
    practiced recently in Cabo Verde and The Gambia (2021).

    11. Notwithstanding these achievements, we are fully aware and agree
    that the direct elections of members into the Parliament will confer
    new competences on the Parliament and would transform the
    Parliament into a truly independent and democracy body, and all
    efforts are being directed towards achieving that. While we work
    towards the realization of this democracy legacy, we take pride in the
    work we do, as a Parliament, to keep our region peaceful and secure.

  3. Excellencies, distinguished ladies & gentlemen, ECOWAS is already
    taking steps towards rethinking and reframing the approach to peace
    processes in reaction to the emerging political upheaval. It is our belief
    reaction measures, this
    will engender lasting peace and development in our region.
  4. Finally, permit me to say that as the representatives of the people, we
    are here to listen and learn from experiences of other regions and
    Member States in relation to rethinking & reframing the approach to
    peace processes with a view to fostering lasting peace the world over.

Thank you for your kind attention
Merci beaucoup!!!
Obrigado!!!

 

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