The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for West Africa and Sahel (UNOWAS), Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, has praised efforts of ECOWAS to modernize institutions of democratic governance aimed at reflecting the will of their people.
Dr. Chambas said there is also the need for ECOWAS leaders to promote improved transparent governance, inclusive development, infrastructure, while catering to the basic needs of the ordinary people, including health and education.
He urged the efforts of countries across the region to modernize the institutions of governance, reflect the aspirations of the people as well as strengthen the foundations for democratic cohesive and resilient societies.
Chambas was speaking at the 51st Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government convened Sunday in lower Margibi County, Liberia, according to a Foreign Ministry release.
Touching on the recent situation in Cote d’Ivoire, Dr. Chambas proposed that political leadership, national reconciliation and the fight against impunity and security sector reform must go hand in hand.
“We all agree that bringing the security sector under full democratic control must be a priority. With ECOWAS, the African Union, and the European Union, we have recently concluded a tripartite mission to The Gambia and stand ready to provide assistance to the full operationalization of the ECOWAS Framework on Security Sector Reform and Governance,” he reported.
For her part, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission, Ms. Federica Mogherini, said ECOWAS is a force of hope for Africa and the world.
However, she said “we live in a complicated moment, when security, fundamental freedom and human rights are under attack in many parts of the globe.”
“It is not only the suffering that unites us, but also the common determination to fight terrorism and prevent radicalism. We are united in a global challenge that requires strong institutions and open societies,” she said.
Touching on democracy across the sub-region, Ms. Mogherini said free elections have become a common feature while peaceful transition of power is not an exception anymore, while democracy has taken root among the people of West Africa.
She touched on events in The Gambia which have given all hope, stressing that democracy can win and can win with peaceful means; but warned that we need to support this success story if we want it to consolidate.
The EU official emphasized that multilateralism and regional integration can be a credibly powerful driver of peace and development.
“Your example here in West Africa demonstrates what we have experienced in Europe is also valid in other parts of the world,” she said.
Meanwhile, on the sidelines of the 51st Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority, the leaders of Cote d’Ivoire, the Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Senegal signed the Dakar-Abidjan Highway Treaty, followed by the groundbreaking ceremony of the Regional Electricity Energy Project by Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
Later, the Standard Bearers of Liberian political parties contesting the upcoming presidential and legislative elections signed the Farmington Declaration committing to the process of free, fair and peaceful elections in October this year.