During the official kick-off ceremony of the project, the European Ambassador and Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Senegal, H. E. Ms MINGASSON, thanked la Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) for their initiative regarding the project. She emphasized the importance of civil societies’ participation in Security Sector Governance and Reform (SSG /R) processes for each country of the region. As multiple crises, conflicts and multiform violence causes a lot of suffering in the region, she calls the EU and other stakeholders to work together to impede violence and to create stability in the region. H. E. Ms MINGASSON reminded that the EU is dedicated to the engagement for peace since its foundation and that insecurity is a challenge that should be addressed. Furthermore, she emphasized the EU's ambition to work for an Africa of peace and security by recalling its respective inclusive approach that is dedicated to achieving inclusive and effective security policy. She ensured that the EU will establish more systematic partnerships on the ground with regional and international organisations, bilateral partners and civil society and will seek closer collaboration at regional and international level.
The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Dakar, H.E. Mr. Stephan RӦKEN noted that Germany has become more active in Africa and especially in West Africa in recent years, particularly because of its military involvement in Mali. He outlined that the German foreign policies follow a holistic approach concerning security challenges in West Africa as conflicts in the region cannot be resolved through a military approach alone. Therefore, Germany adopts an approach that takes strengthening of the military as well as human rights and development into account. In this context, he commends the project as an important contribution. H. E. Mr RÖKEN also pointed to the fact that violent extremism and terrorism are always over-emphasized concerning security challenges in West Africa what triggers negligence of other security issues and root causes like state weakness that is exploited by armed groups. He concluded that Germany’s support of the professionalization of the army and security forces therefore is important but that this needs to be accompanied by the involvement of civil society organizations in order to break the circle of violence and endorsed the referring approach of FES and its partners.
Participants agreed that security sector reform needs to be understood as a long-term process and strengthened by the legitimacy of actors, accountability, trust and professionalism. This needs to be initiated by actors at the local level rather than resulting from the outside. The international community's tendency to favour quick impact measures such as the provision of infrastructure or equipment for security actors was criticized and the importance to accompany those short-termed measures by long-termed measures in order to ensure sustainability was emphasized. Therefore, the project will for example initiate open dialogues between government security actors and civil society organizations and the public.
The project’s transnational and multi-level approach was presented: Dialogue formats as well as consultations and research will be done on the regional, national and local level to ensure that regionalized problems will be responded through regional answers while considering national debates and local challenges. Through this, the overall objective
to contribute to actions and institutions that ensure a more accountable, responsive and equitable security provision regarding the security needs of the population,
shall be obtained. Therefore, CSOs shall more and more inform decision-making processes and contribute to agenda setting, public oversight as well as public debate in the field of security sector reform processes. Activities for establishing dialogue platforms and knowledge-exchange, for building mutual trust, cooperation and the building of alliances as well as capacity development, policy advice, research and awareness rising will contribute to these objectives. Participants agreed on the importance to combine a human security approach with the idea of collective security.
FES’ partners for the project, namely the Centre des Hautes Etudes de Défense et de Sécurité (CHEDS), Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Réseau des Défenseurs des Droits Humains en Afrique Centrale (REDHAC) and Union Nationale des Travailleurs du Mali (UNTM), analysed the current security challenges in Cameroon, Mali, Nigeria and the wider ECOWAS region. For Mali, the slow implementation of the peace agreement was outlined as well as the importance to include civil society in this stage of peace process in order to ensure the sustainability of measures for peace and stability. For Nigeria, the need for an improvement of civil-military relation for a durable answer to the various security threats in the country was claimed. As well, the socio-political crisis in the anglophone regions of North-West and South-West Cameroon needs a solution that is derived from an inclusive process.
This subsite was created and maintained with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the FES Peace and Security Centre of Competence Sub-Saharan Africa and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Euoropean Union.