18 Oct 2012
ECOWAS Regional Policy Forum, June 2012
On 11 and 12 June 2012 the Global Centre and ECOWAS jointly convened a successful Regional Policy Forum on R2P in Abuja, Nigeria. At the meeting ECOWAS affirmed its commitment to R2P and called upon its members to appoint national Focal Points for atrocity prevention.
Opened by the Nigerian Foreign Minister, H.E. Olugbenga Ashiru, the Regional Policy Forum brought together ECOWAS Ambassadors and senior government officials, the ECOWAS Commission, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), UN officials as well as West African civil society representatives and leading African experts on conflict prevention. Responding to Foreign Minister Ashiru's call for action, participants discussed strategies to strengthen early warning, encourage political will among member states, and develop mechanisms to better protect populations from mass atrocity crimes.
The Regional Policy Forum was successful in raising awareness and enhancing the understanding of R2P within the ECOWAS Commission and with ECOWAS member states. Multiple ECOWAS member states expressed support for the R2P Focal Points Initiative. The Forum allowed for greater sensitization about the nuances inherent in the implementation of R2P.
The Regional Policy Forum attracted significant media attention in Nigeria. The Foreign Minister's keynote address was televised on the evening news for two consecutive days and covered extensively in the print media. The Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, Dr. Simon Adams, was invited for an interview on a morning TV show on NTV, Nigeria's national TV station. The governments of Nigeria, Ghana and Liberia issued press releases regarding the Forum.