The European Union (EU) and the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) have resolved to jointly endeavour
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The European Union (EU) and the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) have resolved to jointly endeavour to address issues of insecurity in the West African subregion.

This happened when the Commandant of KAIPTC – Major General (Maj Gen) Richard Addo Gyane, led his Executive Management Committee on Tuesday 20 June 2023, as part of a visit to Nigeria to foster cooperation with key stakeholders in the security architecture in West Africa, to pay a courtesy call on the European Union office in Abuja, Nigeria.

Acknowledging the enormous support of the EU over the years in the promotion of peace and security, General Gyane said closer cooperation would yield greater results, and that ECOWAS – a key actor in the restoration of peace and security in the sub-region – continues to collaborate with selected Training Centres of Excellence (TCE) like the KAIPTC, to deliver on its mandate through the support of partners like the EU.

The Commandant assured the EU of the TCE’s commitment in ensuring the full implementation of all components in the ECOWAS Peace and Security Architecture and Operations (EPSAO) project, which is aimed at supporting the ECOWAS Commission to prevent and manage conflict and security threats in West Africa.

Maj Gen Gyane added that the EPSAO project also envisions to strengthen women’s participation in peace and security activities in Africa: an agenda which the KAIPTC champions through its Women Youth Peace and Security Institute (WYPSI).

EPSAO is co-funded by the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

Mr Ruben Alba Aguilera – Acting Head of Cooperation, EU, who assured the EU’s five-year support for the KAIPTC, said the German Government has planned to mobilise some £10 million for the Phase II of the EPSAO Project. He furthered that France was considering a funding support of £1 million, with the Spanish Government adding some funding, while the EU also considers an amount in the region of £10 million.

The Acting Head of Cooperation said the European Union continues to work closely with the ECOWAS Commission in peace building activities and strategies for managing conflicts in the West African sub-region.

Mr Aguilera, who doubles as Team Leader and Head of Section, Democracy, Governance and Migration of EU, said the enhanced collaboration with KAIPTC would require the strengthening of existing structure and a shared understanding of the importance of collective work.

Ms. Horname Noagbesenu – Director, Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, KAIPTC, giving an update on the first phase of the EPSOA project said, as part of the cooperation framework of the project, ECOWAS sees training and capacity building as a key component, after a Training Needs Assessment was conducted in 2019 to suit needs. She said KAIPTC, as part of its broader strategy, was focused on bridging the gap between policy and practice.

Professor (Prof) Kwesi Aning – Director, Faculty of Academic Affairs and Research, KAIPTC, said the strategic plan of the Centre for 2024/2028 would take into consideration the issues that continue to pose threats to Africa and Europe.

He said, “We need to tell our story in a manner that we understand, and that speaks to our experiences. That means that in setting the context for the next strategic plan, we are asking ourselves, what are the shifts. We are looking at climate variability, leading to threatened livelihoods and massive movement of people (migration). That creates new forms of tensions in communities that are already under stress”.

“How do women and the youth fit into this mix that is explosive and ever shifting and increasingly dangerous,” he questioned, and said there was exploitation of those issues by violent extremist groups – a narrative that was increasingly perceived to be fascinating and speaks to people’s experiences.

Prof Aning, therefore, hinted that the KAIPTC plans to work effectively with the Accra Initiative and ECOWAS (two synergistic and collaborative institutions) to provide training and technical support, backed by research and policy.

The ECOWAS region is deemed a focal point of old and new forms of armed conflict, including violent extremism, transnational organised crime, piracy, unrest due to social inequality, land use conflicts, and election-related violence. The regional body faces profound problems in managing threats to peace and security, despite its good political framework documents, existing political efforts, and practical experience.