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Towards a Common ECOWAS Agenda on Security Sector Reform




This paper considers the role of ECOWAS in security governance as a basis fordiscerning a common SSR agenda, including and particularly a common SSRconcept. Within the context of West Africa’s security dynamics, the paperdiscusses the rationale, opportunities and challenges of a common ECOWAS SSRagenda. In the ensuing discussion, it is assumed and argued that a commonECOWAS SSR agenda is imperative, as it would contribute positively toaddressing both donor coherence and coordination on the one hand, andenhancing ownership and accountability by recipient states on the other. Eventhough ECOWAS has been and remains engaged in several activities which fallunder the umbrella of security sector governance, there remains a wide gapbetween the organization’s normative prescriptions anchored on democraticcontrol, and actual practice of public security provision characterized by a series ofoperational and governance deficits. Encapsulating the experiences andperspectives of a region where SSR support is consumed, a common ECOWASSSR agenda and concept would serve as valuable input into the on-going dialogueon a common understanding of SSR within the United Nations.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. West African Security Challenges and the ECOWAS Peace and Security Architecture

3. The Rationale and Signposts of a Common ECOWAS SSR Agenda
3.1. Rationale for a common ECOWAS SSR Concept
3.2. Signposts for a Common ECOWAS SSR Concept

4. Opportunities and Challenges for an ECOWASSecurity Governance Agenda
4.1. Opportunities
4.2. Challenges and Constraints

5. Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
5.1. Conclusion
5.2. Recommendations
Annex I

Annex II