Support to the ECOWAS Commission in the areas of peace and security

Project description

Title: Support to ECOWAS Peace and Security Architecture and Operations (EPSAO)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Co-funded by: European Union (EU)
Country: Various West African countries; based in Nigeria
Lead executing agency: The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); ECOWAS Commission
Overall term: 2019 to 2023



The West African region was at the centre of major armed conflicts in the 1990s and continues to struggle with old and new forms of armed conflict and insecurity, including violent extremism, organised crime, piracy, violent riots, farmer-herder conflicts, and election-related violence.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), alongside the African Union (AU), the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU), have initiated a series of protocols, policies and programmes in response to the security challenges in West Africa and Africa broadly. In spite of ECOWAS’s well-developed policy frameworks, appreciable levels of political will, and practical experiences in managing peace and security threats, it continues to face a number of challenges. These challenges cut across the regional level (ECOWAS institutions), Member States of ECOWAS, and civil society groups in West Africa. There are gaps in their institutional and operational capacity, including challenges regarding policy coherence, coordination and implementation, continued difficulties with linking early warning and response, sustainability of dialogue and mediation capacities, and lack of adequate resources to finance activities in the area of peace and security.

Despite sustained training efforts, practitioners from regional, national and civil society organisations still have specific knowledge requirements, which can be fulfilled by targeted needs-based training. Equally, there is a need for independent analysis and open exchange between academia, civil society and policy makers at different levels on regional peace and security issues. While much of the capacity building initiatives thus far have been concentrated at the regional level of the ECOWAS, the corresponding institutional capacity at the Member States level is often weak or lacking.


The ability of ECOWAS institutions, Member States, and civil society groups in West Africa to prevent and manage conflicts and security threats in West Africa is strengthened.



The project will support the ECOWAS Commission in its mandate to prevent and manage conflict and security threats in West Africa. The following three specific objectives will guide the envisaged support: 

  • Strengthen ECOWAS’ mechanisms to promote and maintain peace and stability and post crisis operations; 
  • Enable ECOWAS to manage emerging or existing conflicts; 
  • Contribute to the creation of a secure and safe post conflict environment. This will involve, among others, activities in the areas of conflict analysis, early warning, dialogue, mediation, peace support operations, reform of the security sector, and ultimately the Action will contribute to the implementation of the ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework (ECPF).

The Action will be jointly co-financed by the EU and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

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