Abuja - Nigeria — ECOWAS and its development partners have reached an agreement on a three-tier mechanism for coordinating their joint activities for greater effectiveness. Under the agreement reached at the end of the ninth annual ECOWAS-Development Partners coordination conference which ended on Wednesday, 10th April 2013, both parties agreed to institute at thematic group meetings at the operational that will constitute the initial level.
This will be followed at the intermediate level by bi-annual meetings while the third and strategic level will be done through annual coordination meetings such as the just-concluded conference. The meeting, which reiterated the importance of capacity building and its necessity to boost institutional, managerial and operational performance of the ECOWAS Commission, also adopted the main areas of the Commission's interim capacity building needs for the short term.
These are in the areas of institutional reform, leadership and team-building, performance management, monitoring and evaluation, as well as filling the identified capacity building gaps all of which should be addressed in an interim plan to be finalized by the Commission. Participants at the three-day conference also agreed on the relevance of a Joint Financing Agreement as a means of enhancing donor coordination and which will also serve as a mechanism for ensuring programme effectiveness and programming mechanism, harmonized procedures and efficiency gains.
The meeting discussed specific thematic issues on the status of advancement of the integration process in West Africa: challenges and perspectives; institutional reforms for deepening the regional integration process; administrative and financial reforms processes; as well as financial performances of ECOWAS institutions: challenges and perspectives. Also discussed were coordination and aid effectiveness for the implementation of ECOWAS programmes: institutional coordination mechanism and capacity building.
In closing the meeting, the Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Toga Gayewea McIntosh, spoke of the critical importance of coordination and explained that participants reached a consensus on different coordinators for each mechanism for both parties.
He expressed delight over “the new momentum that has emerged, and which will contribute to reinforce the effective implementation of our coordination platform”. Dr. McIntosh said the Commission valued the conference from the perspectives that it would “further improve our programmes, processes and procedures and build the confidence and respectability in our partnership”. He therefore pledged strict adherence to the different roadmaps agreed upon during the thematic sessions at the meeting.
In his remarks, the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Daouda Toure, said it was re- assuring that the Commission had sustained its engagement with its development partners in a “focused manner” to address both regional and national issues that are critical to the deepening of the process of integration and also in addressing development and security challenges within the region.
“I am convinced that the confidence of development partners in ECOWAS largely derives from the modest success it has accomplished over the years and the potential to accelerate the economic emancipation of West Africa through economic integration”. Mr. Toure said. The Minister Counsellor and Head of Operations of the European delegation to Nigeria, Mr. Pierre Philippe, also stressed the need for proper coordination between ECOWAS and its development partners.