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CSOs capacitated on Conflict Prevention

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CSOs capacitated on Conflict Prevention

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The Economic Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC), the civil society policy organ of the African Union, has in collaboration with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) capacitated civil society organizations in the sub-region with the necessary skills to systematically collect, analyze, and disseminate accurate and timely information on conflict prevention.

The Training of Trainers on the Structural Vulnerability Assessment on Conflict Prevention for the ECOSOCC Peace and Security Cluster Members and National Chapters in West Africa was held at the New Brookfields Hotel in Freetown on 22nd to 24th March, 2024.

The training, under the auspices of the EU-APSA IV Programme, brought together participants from the West African sub-region including Sierra Leone, Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria with the aimed of sensitizing them with the necessary knowledge and skills for early warning, enabling them to advocate for its importance within their respective member states to contribute to effective conflict prevention.

In his welcoming address, Head of ECOSOCC Secretariat, Mr. William Carew said “As we gather here in Freetown, Sierra Leone, we are confronted with the realities of our region, where challenges to peace and security persist.

He said the West African region faces multifaceted threats that demand proactive and collaborative responses, citing unconstitutional changes of government, violent conflicts and the threat of terrorism.

He stated that the training was not only to equip CSOs with essential skills and knowledge but to also reaffirm their commitment to the principles of conflict prevention, peacebuilding, and stability.

“Through our collective efforts, we aim to contribute meaningfully to the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and the Continental Early Warning System (CEWS), critical frameworks for promoting peace and security on our continent,” Mr. Carew noted.

He urged participants to not only enhance their individual capacities but also strengthened the collective resolve of the ECOSOCC Peace and Security Cluster in advancing shared goals of peace, security, and prosperity for the region and continent as a whole.

The Presiding Officer of ECOSOCC, Mr. Khalid Boudali said the training underscored the collective commitment of participants to addressing the pressing challenges facing the region, which threaten the peace, security, and stability of communities.

“We convene here not merely as individuals, but as representatives of a shared vision – a vision of a peaceful and prosperous Africa. It is a vision anchored in the principles of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), with its cornerstone being the Continental Early Warning System (CEWS). Through our collective efforts, we strive to strengthen the CEWS, fortifying its capacity to identify and respond to potential conflict triggers swiftly and effectively,” he said.

He said the outcome of the training session resonate across communities, thereby shaping the narratives of peace and security in our region.

In his keynote address, Minister of Political Affairs and Public Administration, Mr. Amara Kallon stated that in recent times, the West African region has faced numerous challenges, ranging from unconstitutional changes of government and violent conflicts to epidemics which have significantly jeopardize the peace, security, and stability in the region.

“As much as Sierra-Leone is not a member of COMESA, we are delighted to see the interest of COMESA to capacitate our local and international CSOs on Structural Vulnerability Assessment on Conflict Prevention,” he said and added that training will enhance the capacities of CSOs to actively participate in conflict prevention, early warning and peacebuilding efforts throughout Africa.

According to him, structural vulnerability assessments help in understanding the interconnected nature of conflicts and the need for comprehensive and holistic approaches to peacebuilding.

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