15 June 2017

West Africa: Ecowas Authority Trims Commission

Requests U.N. support to make Joint G5 Sahel Force operational Supports membership for Morocco; associate membership for Tunisia, Association Agreement with Mauritania

The 51st Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of States and Government has approved the recommendation for a reduction in the size of the commission from fifteen (15) to nine (9) and for the reduction of the number of Statutory Appointees to seventeen (17) in all Community Institutions as proposed by the Council of Ministers.

The authority called on the Ad hoc Ministerial Committee to ensure that each Member State gets at least one statutory position and instructed the President of the Commission to extend the reform to other Community Institutions and take necessary measures to finalize the process.

The authority endorsed the seven-member Ministerial Committee established by the council that will, with guidance from the commission, propose modalities for the allocation of statutory positions to the Member States based on a credible, equitable and rotational system, as well as existing Community Rules.

According to a Foreign Affairs Ministry release, these reforms were contained in the Final Communiqué at the end of the 51st Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of States and Government held at the Farmington Hotel in lower Margibi County recently.

The authority commended the Council of Ministers for its in-depth consideration of all the relevant reports and analyses provided in relation to the ECOWAS Institutional Reform, further underscoring that the core objectives of the reforms are directed at achieving cost efficiency, organizational effectiveness and most importantly, successful implementation of regional integration goals.

The authority commended the President of the Commission, Mr. Marcel Alain de Souza, for the steps taken to streamline institutional processes and procedures to guarantee optimal performance of the commission and all other institutions and restore the confidence of the various partners who are committed to working with the organization, and encouraged him to continue in that direction.

The authority reaffirmed the importance of peace, security, and stability in ECOWAS for the economic development of the region. It expressed its concern regarding the expansion of terrorist attacks in the region and reiterated its total solidarity with the countries affected by terrorism.

It reaffirmed its determination to relentlessly pursue the fight against terrorism and lauded the efforts by the Member States to address and prevent this scourge.

The authority applauded the constitution of a joint G5 Sahel Multi-National Force to combat terrorism in the Sahel and welcomed the decision of the African Union Peace and Security Council adopted at its 679th Session on April 13, 2013, which relates to the Concept of Operations of the Joint G5 Sahel Force.

The authority urged the United Nations Security Council to authorize the deployment of the force and requested for financial support from the United Nations and the international community to make the force operational.

Meanwhile the 51st Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government directed the ECOWAS Commission to further reflect on the implications of the request of the Kingdom of Morocco for ECOWAS membership considering the provisions of the Revised ECOWAS Treaty and to submit the conclusions at the 52nd Ordinary Session of the Authority in December this year.

The authority supports in principle the granting of membership to the Kingdom of Morocco, having noted the strong and multidimensional ties it has with the Member States as contained in the Final Communiqué at the end of the 51st Ordinary Session.

The authority considered the application for observer status from the Republic of Tunisia, as well as the request for Associate Membership from the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.

Regarding Mauritania, the authority noted that pursuant to the directives of the Yamoussoukro Summit held on March 29, 2014, the President of the Commission provided an update on the initialing of the Association Agreement between ECOWAS and the Islamic Republic of Mauritania in Nouakchott on May 5, 2017.

Taking note of the initialing, the summit called on the Member States to sign the Association Agreement and directed that Mauritania, being a former member of ECOWAS, should speed up the process for full membership to be able to enjoy all the rights and benefits of a Member State.

For Tunisia, the authority directed that the country must be granted an observer status to ECOWAS, but directs the commission to ensure that all necessary rules and procedures governing the granting of observer status to Community Institutions are in place. It directed the commission to present this matter at its next summit in Lomé, Togo.

West Africa

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