..By Paul Ejime
The ECOWAS flagship peace and security project, supported by the European Union and other development partners has come to a close with stakeholders calling for the consolidation and sustainability of the project’s remarkable gains and support for successor programmes.
The Euro 29-million European Union Support to ECOWAS Regional Peace, Security and Stability Mandate Programme (ECOWAS-EU PSS Project), which was co-funded by the EU under its Regional Indicative Programme (RIP 10th EDF) and ECOWAS to the tune of Euro 27 million and Euro 2.33 million, respectively, recorded remarkable achievements both at the ECOWAS Commission and the member States levels.
“Apart from laying a solid foundation for its successor ECOWAS Peace and Security Architecture and Operations (EPSAO) programme, the PSS Project also built synergy with the African Union’s Peace and Security Architecture, member States and also provided linkages with other Regional Economic Communities (RECs),” Dr Sintiki Ugbe, ECOWAS Director of Humanitarian and Social Affairs, said at the end-of-project workshop in Abuja at the weekend.
Noting that the PSS Project had cut across various directorates, including political affairs; social affairs and gender; monitoring and evaluation, finance and human resources, peacekeeping and peace building, among others, she thanked the EU, UNDP, Lite Africa civil society organizations, especially the West Africa Network for Peace building (WANEP), and the media for supporting the successful implementation of the PSS project.
Dr Sintiki also commended the project teams at the ECOWAS and EU levels for their diligence and dedication to duty.
In the same vein, Dr Dieudonne Nikiema, Manager ECOWAS Peace Fund and ECOWAS Coordinator of the PSS Project, stressed the need for structured consolidation of the achievements of the project and the sustainability of its gains.
In her remarks, Mrs Eno Moma of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS said the 13-year project underscored the benefits of partnership cooperation between ECOWAS and the EU.
She said some lessons had been learnt and expressed optimism that the EPSAO programme would continue from where the PSS project left off toward deepening and broadening the excellent relations between the two regional organizations.
Dr Nikiema summarized the achievements, sustainability roadmap and the next steps post-PSS Project, while Mr Vincent Okeke, Team Leader and Institutional Development Specialist outlined the challenges, impact and recommendations for the way forward.
There was also presentation of a condensed documentary on the project achievements.
Among the attendees were Mr Philippe de Hollain, the EU Finance and Procurement Specialist for the project, as well as officials from the various ECOWAS directorates involved in the implementation of the project, which officially closes on 22nd November 2021, having substantially delivered its key objectives.