ECOWAS-EU-UNODC Steering Committee : Enhanced resolve for impactful achievements

Abuja, 10 th July 2017 - The Project " Support to ECOWAS Regional Action Plan on drug trafficking, organized crime and drug abuse in West Africa" held its third Steering Committee Coordination meeting on the 10 th of July in the premises of the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja .

This activity was funded by the European Union

The meeting, jointly chaired by Dr. Sintiki Tarfa Ugbe, Director Gender, ECOWAS Commission, and Mr. Pierre Lapaque, UNODC Regional Representative for West and Central Africa, was attended by members of the ECOWAS Drug Unit, the UNODC project team, and representatives of the European Union Delegation in Nigeria. This project, fully funded by the European Union, aims to support ECOWAS Member States in their implementation of the ECOWAS 2016-2020 Regional Action Plan, and thus makes a tangible difference in the fight against illicit drug trafficking and organized crime across West Africa.

On behalf of Dr. Fatimata Dia Sow, Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender, Dr. Sintiki, Director for Gender, Youth, Sport, Civil Society Organizations, Employment and Drug Control, welcomed participants from EU and UNODC partnering organizations. She recalled the 2016-2020 Regional Action Plan adopted by the ECOWAS Council of Ministers in September 2016, and its crucial role as a vehicle for greater regional and national mobilization against the various illicit trafficking and transnational organized crime challenges affecting West Africa. Dr Sintiki expressed her sense of renewed optimism in witnessing the good progress recorded in the implementation of activities falling under that Regional Plan.

Mr. Pierre Lapaque echoed that sentiment, reaffirming the commitment of UNODC to provide cutting-edge expertise to ECOWAS Members States, and seek out even closer linkages with initiatives led by the ECOWAS Commission. He also welcomed the adoption of the 2016-2020 ECOWAS Regional Action Plan as a critical step for the sub-region, and presented the UNODC 2016-2020 Regional Programme as a unique catalyst for the provision of tailor-made assistance to ECOWAS Member States in their endeavour to translate the aspirations of that Plan into concrete, measurable results, both at regional and national levels.

   
Group photo of ECOWAS, EU and UNODC teams during the Third Steering Committee Coordination meeting in Abuja.  From left : Olubusayo, ECOWAS Project Officer, Daniel Amankwah ECOWAS Project Coordinator, Pierre Lapaque UNODC Regional Representative, Stefania Marone EU Head of Cooperation Section, Dr Sintiki Ugbe, Director of Gender, Cheikh Touré, UNODC Project Coordinator. ©UNODC/2017

Ms. Stefania Marrone, Head of the Regional Cooperation Section in the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, emphasized the importance of this fruitful, tripartite partnership, so crucial for the effectiveness of our joint fight against the scourge of illicit trafficking flows criss-crossing the sub-region. 

Mr. Daniel Amankwah, the ECOWAS Project Coordinator, presented the various activities and initiatives undertaken by his team, while Dr. Olubusayo Akinola, Drug Demand Reduction (DDR) Project Officer, offered an overview of the ECOWAS Drug Unit web portal, recently launched for the purpose of disseminating of information and good practices on drug-related issues.

Mr. Cheikh Touré, the UNODC Project Coordinator, and his team highlighted a selection of achievements registered thus far this year, among which a milestone regional conference on Drug Demand Reduction hosted by Côte d'Ivoire in February, during which high-calibre researchers and experts hailing from North America, Europe, and Africa were able to engage collectively around some of the most recent scientific developments registered in the field of drug addiction and treatment. The recommendations elicited by those deliberations will be most valuable in advancing the advocacy for drug users health care throughout West Africa.

ECOWAS and UNDOC teams attended the meeting and gave insightful information on achievements made on the ground: support to Civil society organizations, Media and Youth training workshop, West Africa Epidemiological Network (WENDU) meetings and Forensics country assessments. This joint stock-taking exercise provided a most encouraging picture of the achievements collectively secured by the ECOWAS Commission and UNODC over the past six months, for the benefit of ECOWAS Member States across the sub-region.

For more information:

UNODC action against drug trafficking in West Africa

Support Project to ECOWAS Regional Action Plan on illicit drug trafficking in West Africa

UNODC Regional Programme 2016-2020 

ECOWAS Drug Unit web portal