ECOWAS Commission Vice President Toga McIntosh has underscored the need for the ECOWAS peace and security mechanisms to respond rapidly and effectively to the crises in the region, drawing lessons from the recent crisis in Mali.
“We cannot continue to do the same thing year in year out, there has to be a reference point,” Dr. McIntosh said at Monday’s opening in Accra, Ghana, of the Joint Meeting of regional Ambassadors accredited to ECOWAS and the Technical Committee on Political Affairs to validate the Report of the Mali After-Action Review.
The Vice President recalled the achievements and challenges of ECOWAS’ multi-faceted interventions in Mali, and noted: “Today, Mali is once again on a democratic path, and is embarking on national reconciliation, reconstruction and development.”
He therefore charged the Accra meeting, which is considering the Consolidated Report of the Internal Review Session held last November in Lagos and the Report of the just-ended Experts’ Workshop detailing the analysis of the challenges, achievements and lessons learned from the Mali interventions, to come up with consolidated recommendations for consideration and adoption by the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council (MSC) for onward submission to regional leaders.
In her keynote address, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman said the reports under consideration were a product of “a series of retrospective analyses of the circumstances leading to the outbreak of the multidimensional crises in Mali; the actions or inactions of the Community and its diverse partners in their collective efforts to assist Mali in surmounting the crises and the pertinent recommendations emanating thereof.”
She urged the participants to “concentrate on the bigger picture, and be guided by their determination to ensure that the Region is endowed with an early warning, preventive diplomacy, conflict management and peace-building mechanisms that are predictable, efficient, and capable of rapid and effective response to current and future threats to regional peace and security.”
According to the ECOWAS Commission, ECOWAS Director of Political Affairs Abdel-Fatau Musah later set the tone for the discussions with a presentation on the background to the Malian crisis, the achievements and challenges of the ECOWAS intervention in collaboration with the rest of the international community, and the lessons and recommendations therefrom.