Lagos - Nigeria — The ECOWAS Commission is in the process of establishing a Mediation Facilitation Division (MFD) within its Directorate of Political Affairs, as part of its determined effort to strengthen its mediation architecture for the sustenance of peace and security in the region. To this end, the Commission, with the support of the United Nations and other partners, is organizing a three-day needs assessment workshop in Lagos, Nigeria from Tuesday 30th October 2012, for stakeholders to fine-tune the concept, mandate, structure and requirements of the Division.
The workshop will also assist in elaborating the human capacity, technical and financial requirements for the Division in the short to medium term, and propose a resource mobilization strategy. The participants will include officials of the technical Directorates of the ECOWAS Commission, technical partners including the African Union, United Nations, Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Geneva-based Center for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD Center), German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), West African Network for Peace building (WANEP), West African Civil Society Forum (WACSOF), Mano River Women’s Peace building Network (MARWOPNET), and, as well as mediation experts drawn from the region and beyond. ECOWAS’ main objective is to raise the standards of living and ensure the wellbeing, economic development and integration, security and dignity of citizens of its 15 Member States.
However, in the last two decades, the Organization has been preoccupied more by peace and security matters, arising from perennial conflicts and instability in the region. This has necessitated the development of a mediation architecture within ECOWAS, underpinned by the ECOWAS Mechanismand the Conflict Prevention Framework. The idea to set up the Mediation Facilitation Division is premised on the need to establish such a facility in order to promote preventive diplomacy interventions through competence and skills enhancement of mediators, information sharing and logistical support, as well as to mainstream national and local mediation efforts into the ECOWAS architecture. Thus, the objectives of the Mediation Facilitation Division include, providing operational support, such as backup to mediation and shuttle diplomacy activities undertaken by the ECOWAS Commission President, ECOWAS-designated Mediators and Facilitators, the Council of the Wise and Special Representatives/Envoys, and also national and civil society actors, as well as monitoring and evaluation service, and providing guidance, background information, analysis and best practice from ECOWAS normative frameworks and experiences from the region and beyond.
The Division is also expected to establish a Mediation Resource Centre and ensure capacity building in mediation including by facilitating the creation of a database of resource persons and issues in mediation, developing modules for mediation training, organizing workshops/seminars/conferences for mediations resources and facilitating exchange programmes under the mediation resources. The Office of the ECOWAS Commissioner in charge of Political Affairs, Peace and Security, draws its mandate from the provisions of the Revised ECOWAS Treaty (1993) and its derivative Protocols, in particular, the Protocol on Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security also known as the Mechanism (1999)