Emma Wilson
Tue, Sep 12, 2023 6:50 PM

West Africa Civil Society Week 2023: Building a Path to Peace and Prosperity

Top NewsEarn Max 30 Coins💰 Get coins immediately after reading this article

West Africa Civil Society Week 2023: Building a Path to Peace and Prosperity
Civil society organizations from across West Africa and partners from East and Southern Africa convened in Lagos, Nigeria, for the maiden West Africa Civil Society Week 2023. The meeting focused on addressing the challenges of democratic recession, growing authoritarianism, and shrinking civic space in the region. They stressed the importance of non-military interventions, protecting civic space, and the moral authority of ECOWAS to restore constitutional order and advance democratic governance for peace and prosperity.

The West Africa Civil Society Week 2023, which took place in Lagos, marked a significant milestone for civil society organizations from West Africa and their partners from East and Southern Africa. Over 100 organizations gathered to deliberate on critical issues affecting democracy, peace, and prosperity in the region.

The participants recognized the alarming democratic recession, growing authoritarianism, and shrinking civic space in West Africa. They expressed their unequivocal opposition to coups and military interventions as solutions to governance challenges, emphasizing the importance of citizens' voices being heard and their concerns being addressed through peaceful and democratic means.

The meeting strongly denounced the coups d'état that have recently taken place in the region, including the military coup in Gabon. They condemned all forms of unconstitutional changes of government and manipulated tenure elongation that undermine democratic principles. The participants expressed deep concern over the recession in democratic practices and values, reaffirming their commitment to democratic governance, constitutional rule, and democratic electoral practices as fundamental principles for sustainable development and peace.

The resolutions reached during the West Africa Civil Society Week 2023 reflect the collective determination to promote peace and prosperity in the region:

1. Non-Military Interventions: The participants called upon the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to prioritize peaceful approaches in responding to governance crises. They urged caution against military interventions in Niger or any other part of the region that could further destabilize the area. They advocated for the restoration of constitutional order through dialogue and negotiation in line with democratic principles and the interests of the people.

2. Protecting Civic Space and Inclusive Development: The participants emphasized the importance of protecting and expanding civic space to enable civil society organizations to effectively contribute to democratic governance and regional development. They rejected any attempts to curtail freedom of expression, association, and assembly, identifying these as fundamental to a vibrant civil society. They also called on governments to uphold human rights and ensure the safety of civil society actors.

3. Moral Authority of ECOWAS: The participants urged ECOWAS to regain the trust of its citizens and translate the "ECOWAS of the People" mantra into tangible commitments for the well-being of West Africans. They advocated for the operationalization of the ECOWAS Social and Economic Council (ECOSOCC) to enhance collaboration between ECOWAS and civil society.

4. Adoption of Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance: ECOWAS was appealed to adopt the revised supplementary protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, as well as commit to a uniform application of its provisions in response to unconstitutional changes of government.

5. Civil Society Solidarity: The participants highlighted the importance of unity among civil society organizations. They recognized that amplifying their impact and contributions to democracy, peace, and prosperity requires collective action.

6. Amplifying Youth Agency: The participants stressed the need to support and empower young people, providing them with platforms, training, and resources. They emphasized the importance of genuinely considering youth voices in the civic space.

7. Peace and Prosperity through Collaboration: The participants acknowledged that achieving lasting peace and prosperity in West Africa requires multi-stakeholder efforts. They urged governments, ECOWAS, and development partners to prioritize the well-being of citizens over political interests. Civil society plays a crucial role in advocating for the rights and welfare of the people, and the participants committed to sustained engagement, collaborative action, and innovative approaches to advance these goals.

8. Inclusive Actions for Progress: The participants emphasized the principle of leaving no voices behind and called on state and non-state actors to prioritize inclusion, particularly youth and women, in all actions aimed at regional progress.

The West Africa Civil Society Week 2023 provided a pivotal moment for dialogue and reflection in the face of the challenges facing the region. The participants emerged with a renewed commitment to defend democracy, promote peace, and ensure the prosperity of West Africa. They called on governments, ECOWAS, and development partners to join them in these efforts.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-09-12 News

More detailed, more comprehensive, fresher news, please visit OOO NEWS.

Share content to earn coins