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COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF STAKEHOLDERS DIALOGUE 

 

Organized by

 

ACTIONAID INTERNATIONAL WEST AFRICAN REGIONAL MEETING (WARM)

OF COUNTRY PROGRAMMES ON STRENGTHENING THE ROLE OF CIVIL SOCIETY IN ECOWAS

 

HELD AT VALENCIA HOTEL, WUSE II, ABUJA ON 6TH MAY, 2004.

 

Forwarded by Otive Igbuzor otivei@actionaidnigeria.org

ActionAid International, an international non-governmental organisation working in over 36 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America organized a stakeholders dialogue during the meeting of Country Programmes of the West African sub region. ActionAid is a unique partnership of people fighting for a world without poverty committed to working with poor and marginalized people to eradicate poverty by overcoming the injustices and inequities that cause it. In Africa, there are 17 countries where ActionAid International works and every year, the Country Programmes (5 full-fledged programmes and five Cross Border Initiatives) in the West Africa sub-region meet to share experiences, exchange ideas, forge greater working synergy, and network with like-minded organizations. This year, the meeting focused on strengthening the Role of Civil Society in the ECOWAS sub-region. The meeting which explored the issues, opportunities, challenges and strategies for addressing the challenges of the sub region was attended by organizations working on sub regional issues such as African leadership Forum (ALF), Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), African Network Coalition on Education for All (ANCEFA), Nigeria Trade Network (NTN), West African NGO Network (WANGONET), West African Peace Network (WAPNET) and the media.

The meeting observed that:
* The integration of the West African sub region, which started with the formation of ECOWAS in 1975 (and later the Mano River Union (MRU) have largely excluded the participation of civil society organizations and people. CSOs have therefore not effectively engaged the regional integrations processes going on in the sub-region.
* Effective integration can only take place with harmonization of the policies and practices of the countries in the subregion.
* Africans are resilient and African people have the capacity and potential to find and provide solutions to their own problems.
* There is the need to understand institutions working on regional issues.


The meeting recommended that:
* There is the need for CSOs to work sub-regionally because there a lot of regional and sub-regional processes (ECOWAS, MRU, NEPAD & AU) which need CS interface and the issues that confront the countries in the sub region (Trade, HIV/AIDs, Conflict, poverty & education) have sub regional implications.
* CSOs should prioritise governance issues in its desire to build a better society, consolidate democracy, eradicate poverty and promote development in the West African sub-region. Indeed, governance should be mainstreamed in all programmatic areas.
* CSOs have key roles to play in the integration of West Africa and implementation of NEPAD especially the African Peer Review mechanism.

The meeting called on all governments in the West African Sub-region to:
* Improve transport and communication across the sub region
* Remove all barriers that hinder movement, communication and trade among the countries in the sub region.
* Domesticate and implement all agreements and protocols that they have signed and/ or ratified.
* Promote good governance, focus on human development and prevent conflicts and wars.
* Move beyond rhetoric to action on ECOWAS mechanisms and instruments for integration and NEPAD, and involve African people and resources in the development of the subregion.

The meeting called on ECOWAS to:
* Deepen the participation of the civil society in its activities and programmes
* Publicise and make available to CSOs the criteria and procedures for CSO accreditation to ECOWAS

The meeting called on Civil Society Organisations to:
* Build the capacity of CSOs to engage in regional integration issues.
* Mobilise local resources to promote self-reliance and independence in their work.
* Network and synergise the regional integration activities and programmes.
* Rise up to the challenges of working in the West African sub-region, which include Anglophone/Francophone divide, complexities of negotiating funding for multi-country work, finding the right partners and forging genuine partnerships.

The meeting called on ActionAid International to:
* Further enhance support for a coherent programme for the West African sub region focusing on Education, HIV/AIDS, Conflict Management and Peace Building and Trade, Food and Hunger with Gender  & Women's Rights and Governance as a cross cutting themes.
* Build on its competencies, mobilize resources, partners with other stakeholders and fill the gap in the civil society response to the issues of regional integration in West Africa.




Charles Abani Frema Osei-Opare  Musa Fouye
Country Director Regional Co-ordinator, CountryCo-ordinator
Nigeria Internationalisation ActionAid Senegal

Sam Musa Yahya Sanyang Leonard Okello
Country Director Country Director SIPAA Director
Sierra leone The Gambia


Anna Antwi Miata Jambawe Diallo Moktar
AA Ghana AA Liberia AA Guinea

F. Vernguy Stella Amadi Chals Wontewe
AA cameroun CDD Lagos AA Ghana

Gorgui Sow Kunle Fagbemi Tope Soremi
ANCEFA WAPNET WANGONET

Olumide Ajayi Ken Ukwoha Aaron Gana
ALF NTN Afrigov


A. Diallo Chibuzor
Mano River Union PPRW

 

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