• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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BusinessDay

ECOWAS seeks special summit on regional integration to address challenges

ECOWAS tackles worsening humanitarian crisis in sub-region

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is set to hold a special summit focused on the future of regional integration to tackle the multifaceted challenges facing the subregion.

The announcement was made by Omar Touray, ECOWAS President during the 52nd Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council (MSC) in Abuja on Wednesday.

Touray highlighted that the summit was prompted by the development challenges and the rapidly evolving geo-strategic and geo-political environment, which complicate efforts towards regional cohesion and integration.

“As we commemorate the 49th anniversary of our collective regional integration project, our region is still confronted with multiple interlocking threats, including existential ones, posing significant challenges,” Touray said.

He pointed out that the Sahel region faces both climate and man-made crises, leading to terrorism and violent extremism, while the Gulf of Guinea is grappling with illegal fishing, drug trafficking, and the dumping of toxic waste, all of which adversely affect livelihoods.

Additionally, governance deficits and marginalization have strained social contracts, leading to political rivalries, resource competition, organized crime, and violence.

In response to these challenges, the ECOWAS Commission has initiated technical preparations for the inclusive Special Summit on the Future of Regional Integration in West Africa.

The announcement followed a meeting of ECOWAS ambassadors on June 29, 2024, at the MSC session to discuss the subregion’s security situation and the commission’s efforts in political, security, humanitarian, and preventive diplomacy areas.

The upcoming summit will consider the report of the 40th MSC at the Ambassadorial Level and memoranda on the political, peace, and security situations in the subregion.

It will also review the operationalization of the ECOWAS security architecture and the reports from meetings of ministers of finance and defence.

Touray expressed confidence that the summit’s deliberations would lead to informed conclusions and constructive recommendations for the consideration of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government.