22 May 2013

ECOWAS Seeks Greater Collaboration With UNFPA On Humanitarian Issues

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Abuja - Nigeria — ECOWAS has called for more support from the UN Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) for effective implementation of the region's gender, child and humanitarian policies.

The Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Toga McIntosh told a visiting delegation led by the fund's Regional Director for West and Central Africa Mr. Benot Kalasa, that the organization "is desirous of working with you in this area and facilitating project implementation and coordination for greater impact."

He regretted that political crises have overshadowed economic development in the region, but assured that the present management at the Commission was focusing on the organization's core mandate of promoting the region's socio- economic development for the benefit of its citizens.

The Vice President applauded the mutual decision by both organizations to deepen cooperation for improved effectiveness in delivering on their common mandate including an agreement to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for the realization of this objective.

The Health Adviser to the President of the Commission, Dr. Mariane Ngoulla, who attended the meeting, briefed the visitors on efforts by ECOWAS to revitalize its intervention to reduce child and maternal deaths from malaria through the strengthening of the vector control component of a multi-sectoral strategy for malaria elimination in the region.

Cuba is providing the technology for the programme while Venezuela is providing the funds for the construction of three factories for the production of biolarvicides against malaria in Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria, all of which are expected to be operational within two years.

The ECOWAS Malaria Elimination programme is in four phases with the active participation of community citizens including the armed forces of Member States.

Mr. Kalasa stressed the need to develop an advocacy tool for the implementation of existing regional instruments as well as a follow up mechanism for monitoring application in Member States.

He said both organizations should also identify areas of cooperation to improve synergy and effectiveness.

On his delegation was the Resident Representative of the UNFPA, Ms. Victoria Akyeampong, who explained that the visit was meant to encourage West Africa to develop common positions on population, health and development issues ahead of forthcoming meetings on the post-Millennium Development Goals agenda later this year, in Addis Abba and New York.

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