By Binta Jaiteh
A joint Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Committee on Political Affairs, Peace, and Security meeting is currently underway at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Centre, Bijilo.
The five-day meeting under the theme centre on the community text relating to peace, security, and challenges in their implementation and oversight role for effectiveness within member states.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the meeting, Dr. Mamadou Tangara, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation commended the Joint Committee for its diligence in finding solutions to the most crucial challenges in the community.
The meeting is a worthwhile occasion permitting them to speed up the implementation and domestication of the texts that will serve as breviary in changing the prospects of their people and nations.
“By the same token, I am pleased with the impressive results, session after session, I can see that our plan of action and strategies are beginning to chalk up successes”, he noted. Also, the Gambia Government associates itself with all the decisions of this meeting and shares a great vision of the future for a progressive ECOWAS.
He, therefore, assured them of the forthright position and leadership of His Excellency President Adama Barrow and the commitment of The Gambia Government to the implementation and domestication of all the texts.
As nations sharing the same destiny, he said they have a moral obligation and collective responsibility to act swiftly to address all issues hampering the institutional advancement, the consolidation of peace, security, and the empowerment of women who are the driving forces of the region.
Minister Tangara declared that it is immensely gratifying to observe the overwhelming response of all partners and people of goodwill here present to affirm a faith in a common purpose, a common conviction, and a common devotion to the consolidation of Peace, Security, and Good Governance and other community achievements.
His Excellency, Sidie Mohamed Tunis, the speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament said this meeting held outside headquarters to ensure that the ECOWAS Parliament is present in every part of the region which is a great opportunity for the Parliament to interact with the citizenry and to experience the splendor and diversity in their community. Added that, The Gambia is known for its scenic views, exceptional culture, and the dedication of its people to democracy and justice.
However, he revealed that it is their responsibility to rebuild the trust between the people and governments and to ensure that their institutions work towards strengthening regional solidarity and promoting sustainable development in their communities.
Honourable Billay G. Tunkara, the Majority Leader of the National Assembly said the world is facing an unprecedented crisis and the ECOWAS Community is not an exception with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the emergence of new conflicts in the world have negatively affected the ECOWAS Community leading to the high cost of living in our member states and the consequences of climate change are posing risks to food security.
He also talked about the challenges of democracy in some of the member states and increased incidences of violent extremism demonstrating the relevance and urgency of this delocalized meeting.
“We are of course aware that progress is being made in detecting and monitoring early signs of conflict, and this is enhanced by local initiatives that facilitate ownership. Conflict-prevention mechanisms have been established which provide useful insights into potential crises,” he added.