Coordinating civil society for Coastal West Africa consultation

Constituency members of the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding came together last week during the IDPS Regional Dialogue on Coastal West Africa. The meeting was organised with the aim of reflecting on current trends and recent developments in the West-African region in order to foster innovative approaches and local initiatives in prevention, peacebuilding and resilience-building., 

The dialogue brought together a diversity of peacebuilding stakeholders from across the region in Accra, Ghana, from the 25th to the 26th of March. Participants included civil society organisations, international financial institutions, regional organisations, national authorities and development partners.

The IDPS Regional Dialogue on Coastal West Africa aimed at promoting prevention, resilience and peacebuilding in Coastal West Africa, by prioritising and encouraging local approaches and solutions. During this two-day event, participants were able to take part in cross-learning exchanges to reflect on different topics while bringing in their own knowledge and experiences as CSPPS member representative for Voz di Paz, Seco Sori Camarà [Guinea Bissau] stated:

« I think the forum and the level of discussion was interesting. But I think we should sometimes bring in local people to hear first-hand their versions and perspectives on their problems. »

In context of this dialogue, several CSPPS members were present: AJCAD [Mali], Forum National sur la Dette et la Pauvreté [Côte-d'Ivoire], Association Floraison [Togo], YPPD and AWLN [Sierra Leone], ODDI Guinee [Guinee Conakry], Voz di Paz [Guinea Bissau], REPAOC [Senegal],  and Messenger of Peace [Liberia]. Moreover, CSPPS made concerted  efforts to establish cross linkages with the Just Future programme it is engaging in - by inviting and involving representatives from ASSN and WANEP in the conference. The CSPPS Secretariat also took part in the dialogue with coordinator Peter Van Sluijs, moderating the session on prevention and resilience-building in Coastal West Africa, and being part of the panel in the discussion on Climate, Peace and Security.

This regional dialogue was also an opportunity for CSPPS members to connect with each other, with the Secretariat and discuss potential new partnership prospects. As a global network of civil society organisations, CSPPS’ participation in the event underlined the pivotal role played by CSOs and the challenges they continue to face in their commitment towards peaceful, just and inclusive societies in Coastal West Africa, as mentioned by Diakalia Ouattara - FNDP Côte-d'Ivoire, who stressed the importance of:

« Support for civil society in terms of technical, logistical and financial capacity building to exercise citizen control over public action and providing support for grassroots communities, especially in cross-border areas. »

As situations are constantly evolving in fragile and conflict-affected countries, prevention efforts and peacebuilding solutions must take greater account of the local context and the local dynamics, as argued by CSPPS Focal Point representative from AJCAD-Mali, Ousmane Maiga:

« It is important for the coastal countries of West Africa to learn from the current security situation in the region and take preventive measures across different strata of society through inclusive governance. »  

While Coastal West Africa is facing  many challenges as a result of conflicts and instability, the region has also shown great resilience. During the two-day meeting participants engaged in wide-ranging dialogues - from climate security to the engagement of youth and women, to the financing of resilience.

Among the takeaways from the event, participants emphasised the necessity to enhance responsive governance systems and increase political commitment and investment to address the multiple peace and resilience challenges, while including civil society as partners in addressing these challenges. In addition, multi-stakeholder approaches were  encouraged to support and empower local actors and locally-led approaches, recalling that peace and resilience can best be achieved through collaborative work, as our member in Guinee Conakry Danso Camara underscores. 

« The meeting highlighted the need for a collaborative regional approach to conflict prevention and peace-building in the coastal countries of West Africa, as countries in the region can benefit from cooperation in the fight against transnational threats such as terrorism, drug trafficking, piracy and organised crime. » 

As a global civil society network, CSPPS and its members stand ready to contribute to the further promotion and strengthening of regional cooperation on issues of prevention, peacebuilding and resilience-building in the Coastal West Africa region, acting as a link between local actors and authorities. Gathering representatives from various constituencies, and having inclusive dialogues during IDPS Dialogue on Coastal West Africa enabled civil society actors to have their voices heard and to actively discuss and contribute to exploring solutions to some of the obstacles to peace.



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