OPENING CEREMONY OF THE WEST AFRICA PEACE AND SECURITY INNOVATION (WAPSI) FORUM
Wednesday 9th March 2022, Abuja, Nigeria
Speaking Points – German Embassy
President of the ECOWAS Commission,
Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission,
Head of delegation of the EU,
Commissioners of various divisions of ECOWAS,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Representatives from civil society,
Members of the Private and Business Sector,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
All protocol observed.
I am delighted and honored to welcome you all today, on the occasion of the maiden edition of the West Africa Peace and Security Innovation (WAPSI) Forum. This year’s forum is accompanied by the launch of a peace and security research report aligned to the thematic focus of the forum on public health, peace and security. Let me quickly begin by commending the ECOWAS Commission for hosting this important event.
For the German Government multi-stakeholder and multi-level approaches are at the core of strengthening conflict prevention capacities in West Africa. It is also against this background that jointly with the European union, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development partnered with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), for the implementation of the ECOWAS Peace and Security Architecture and Operations (EPSAO) Project with the support of GIZ.
The project is a response to the challenges of various forms of armed conflict and insecurity in West Africa, institutions and ECOWAS member states.
Distinguished guests, over the years, pandemics and epidemics like Ebola, HIV-Aids, Malaria and others have been known to impact greatly on various aspects of humanity including public health, livelihoods. Two years into the pandemic, we all recognize that COVID-19 has exacerbated existing inequalities by disrupting global economies and leaving especially the most vulnerable behind: women, youth, displace populations and those depending on a daily income for food.
With this the pandemic has reminded us of the link between health infrastructures and and human security with the attendant ripple effects on governance, as was seen in the reversal of some of the democratic gains made over in the past few years.
In view of the foregoing, the WAPSI Forum can provide a platform for this evolving post-pandemic conversation and much needed inter-disciplinary exchanges between critical stakeholders (the expert community, high level decisionmakers, donors, think tanks, academia, civil society, the private sector and the media). We have the chance here to build bridges between the disciplinary silos around public health and human security, to learn from each other for more comprehensive interventions,
This event could not have been more rightly timed. The inclusion of the response mechanisms, including the tech-based responses, adopted by citizens, CSOs, ECOWAS and its member states, and the AU to mitigate the impact of the pandemic in the report, enriches the discourse and presents valuable lessons for future interventions. The examination of ECOWAS’s institutional capacity to respond to the emerging threats to human security, especially the implementation of the ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework (ECPF) as was done in the report is equally apt in view of its strategic functions.
Let me end by imploring all distinguished participants to leverage the availability of the cluster of sessions on offer on this interactive forum to freely engage and share of knowledge as you devise creative solutions to adapt in fostering peace and security on the region.
I wish you all fruitful engagements. Welcome.