The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has officially acknowledged the key role the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) plays as a partner in implementing its Integrated Maritime Strategy (EIMS). The ISS wrote the EIMS for ECOWAS, which was adopted on 29 March 2014. The two organisations prepared a draft priority plan of action for implementing the EIMS, which ECOWAS experts validated at a meeting from 27 – 28 July in Abuja, Nigeria this year.
‘On behalf of ECOWAS Commissioner for Peace, Security and Political Affairs, I welcome the Institute for Security Studies, which helped us draft this priority plan of action’, said Cyriaque Agnekethom, Director of Peacekeeping and Regional Security.
During the meeting, the 15 ECOWAS member states adopted 20 priority activities to be implemented between 2016 and 2020. These relate to maritime security and key objectives of the maritime strategy including governance, the environment, the economy, research and training.
‘Validation of these 20 priority activities is a huge step forward in putting the EIMS into practice and will help strengthen collaboration between ECOWAS and ISS’, says Annette Leijenaar, head of Conflict Management and Peacebuilding division at the ISS.
The ISS is seen as a key partner regarding maritime issues in West Africa, and will continue to offer its research, policy, technical and training expertise to ECOWAS to ensure the draft priority action plan is implemented. The plan awaits approval by the ECOWAS council of ministers and will then become effective and mandatory.
Support from the ISS will be crucial to carry out key action plan activities in the region such as an evaluation of national legal maritime frameworks, an assessment of port security systems and the development of a regional maritime code. In partnership with ECOWAS, the ISS is also well placed to provide support to other regional maritime actors.