Panafrican News Agency

Ghana: ECOWAS urged to review security architecture

Accra, Ghana (PANA) - ECOWAS has been urged to “re-look” at the region’s security architecture in response to new security challenges facing the region exemplified by the “dramatic “ increase in piracy and the growing activities of terrorists and religious extremists.

“Indeed, we need to place equal, if not more, emphasis on efforts at identifying threats to regional and national peace and security and nipping them in the bud,” The Chairperson of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council, Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Hannah Tetteh, said while opening a one-day meeting of the Council in Accra on Tuesday.

She told the meeting, being attended by ministers of foreign affairs and defence, that the gale of conflicts that had swept through the region for some years had not only been “undermining the forward march of our Community (but) also sapped our energies and scarce resources”.

The minister said that conflicts and instability did not augur well for economic and political development and manifested in economic disruptions, collapsed public infrastructures, attrition of state governing institutions, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, pervasive poverty, among others.

Mr Tetteh underscored the importance of the proposal by the ECOWAS Commission for the establishment of early warning mechanisms in Member States to the success of this new orientation and urged the security services not to see the mechanisms as threats to their traditional roles but rather avail themselves of the information to be generated through them for efficiency.

“Maintaining peace and security in our region is a collective task and the earlier we cooperate with each other in all matters of security, particularly in the intelligence and information gathering arena, the better it would be for us all,” the minister said.

The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr Kadré Desire Ouédraogo, cited the restoration of democratic governance in Guinea-Bissau, following successful legislative and presidential elections and the readiness of the Commission to work with Member States in addressing the recent security challenges, especially as they related to the activities of terrorists and pirates.

Ouédraogo will present a Memorandum on the security and political situations in Mali to the meeting, which will also be updated on the mediation efforts in that country and recent developments in Guinea Bissau, including the post-transition reforms.

The ministers will, during this 42nd session, also consider the report of Member States' Experts for the establishment of National Early Warning mechanisms at the national levels that will dovetail into the existing regional mechanism for a more holistic monitoring of crises and the promotion of regional peace and security.

The recommendations of the ministers will be considered by Heads of State and Government during their 45th ordinary summit which opens in Accra on 10 July.
-0- PANA MA 8July2014