ECOWAS defence chiefs to meet over Mali


Desmond Utomwen/Abuja

West Africa’s defence chiefs will hold an extraordinary session in Abidjan from 14 September 2012 to finalise the road map for the deployment of the ECOWAS Mission in Mali (MICEMA).

The two-day meeting of the ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff (CCDS) comes in the wake of the invitation to ECOWAS by the Government of Mali for the deployment of MICEMA.

A sub-committee of the CCDS met with Mali’s military mid-August 2012 in order to ensure the convergence of views with ECOWAS on the first phase of the MICEMA mission, which is to provide security for the authorities and transition institutions.

The August 2012 meeting also agreed on the harmonisation of ECOWAS and Malian positions on the second and third phases of the MICEMA mission. Specifically, it involves the contribution of MICEMA to capacity building of Mali’s defence and security forces by reorganising and training them as well as supporting the forces to retake Northern Mali currently occupied by an Islamist rebel group.

The forthcoming extraordinary session of the CCDS will also review the concept of operation for MICEMA whose deployment will contribute to the resolution of the crisis in that country.

Meanwhile ministers in charge of security in ECOWAS Member States are to meet on Saturday, 15
September 2012 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire to review the security situation and make recommendations for crime control and ensure security in the region.

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This 9th Meeting of the Forum of Ministers will be preceded by the 13th Annual General Assembly of the West African Police Chiefs Committee (WAPCCO) on Thursday, 13
September, and the Meeting of the ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Security Services (CCSS), on Friday, 14
September, 2012.

Kicking off the gatherings at a time of heightened security challenges in the region, will be the 8th Annual Meeting of the West Africa National Central Bureau of INTERPOL on Wednesday, 12 September, 2012, all in the Ivorian capital.

The ministerial forum will consider and adopt the reports of the WAPCCO and CCSS meetings.

The WAPCCO was created as a mechanism to reinforce intra-community police cooperation and information exchange to collectively combat crime in order to promote regional security.

The WAPCCO Annual General Assembly brings together the National Police of ECOWAS Member States, the INTERPOL, the CCSS and Ministers in Charge of Security to be updated and discuss issues that border on crime control and regional security.

The various security meetings serve as a platform to monitor and measure the status of the implementation of recommendations made at WAPCCO preparatory meetings, identify challenges, security trends in the region and proffer concrete actions to be taken.

The Regional Security Division of the ECOWAS Commission, which serves as the WAPCCO Permanent Secretariat, is charged with organising and coordinating the different levels of annual meetings with a view to bringing together the relevant stakeholders to report, discuss, analyse, strategise and make recommendations in line with international best practices on crime trends and police collaboration in the region.

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