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11.03.2009 Social News

Involve civil society in conflict prevention– Governance expert

By gna

A governance expert on Tuesday urged policy makers in the West African sub-region to involve civil society organizations in the peace and conflict resolution efforts of their various countries.

He also highlighted the need for sub-regional

actors to assume ownership of the various initiatives

and programmes designed to bring peace and development

to the area.
Mr Massaer Diallo, Head of Governance and Security Unit of the Sahel and West African Club (SWAC), was speaking at the opening of a three-day regional workshop on Conflict Prevention in West Africa.

The meeting in Accra is to enable various stakeholders to validate the “Saly Action Plan” which

was initiated in Senegal in October, 2007 and define

its operational modes with a view to its implementation at the regional and national levels.

Mr Diallo said the role of civil society, women and youth organizations would be essential as it would be their responsibility to relay the information to other civil society organizations which were not directly involved by the action.

He said the action plan would aim at enhancing the information and involvement of Parliamentarians in West Africa who did not have information to legislate under the best condition.

Mr Diallo also called for the involvement of the media in the dissemination of knowledge through radio

and TV programmes as well as traditional and religious leaders who were important in West African societies.

Mr Augustin Sagna of the ECOWAS Secretariat stressed the need for the new Action Plan to provide responses in terms of the mobilization of actors and their appropriation of instruments in order to reduce violence and conflict factors such as circulation of small arms and political violence.

He said these types of responses would lead to coordinated results at the national and regional levels through actions such as advocacy, capacity building and mediation, dialogue facilitation, monitoring and follow-up and training.

Mr Sagna also called for an important section of the media to be devoted to information in support of conflict prevention through an operational database with data provided by ECOWAS as well as other national media organizations.

Mr Kevin Sharp of US Agency for International development (USAID) said the US government would continue to support programmes and initiatives which would promote peace and conflict prevention in the sub-region.

He said the US government had over the years committed a lot of resources towards peace, development and security, and would ensure that the new Action Plan went a long way to complement various efforts to bring peace and stability to the sub-region.