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ECOWAS-AU calls for innovative ways of delivering humanitarian action

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ecowasThe ECOWAS-African Union (AU) consultative Meeting on humanitarian effectiveness has called for the adoption of more innovative ways in organising

and delivering humanitarian action in Africa.

[Cover picture: L-R Dr. Mehari Maru Member High Level Advisory Group and Amb. Akisanya Olusegun D.G. NEMA]

The final report of the three-day meeting which ended in Abuja on the 28th of August 2015 said this has become necessary in order to deliver a timely, impactful and efficient humanitarian assistance in order also for the continent to be able to speak with one voice during the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit, taking place in Istanbul, Turkey in 2016.

Stressing that there is now a great need for improved coordination in providing humanitarian assistance at all levels, the assembly was of the view that a fundamental reform is required after Istanbul in order to increase the level of coordination among African states and regions vis-à-vis the rest of the world. 

Participants at the meeting acknowledge that Africa states and the AU has adopted a number of legal instruments as well as Policy frameworks but affirmed that while the norm setting part is developed enough at the regional and continental levels, domestication and implementation of various instruments still require awareness, advocacy and assistance to enable States to implement their obligations under the various Instruments.

Cross Section of country representatives

They called on Member States to build their capabilities to predict, prevent, and respond to humanitarian crises, as well as to adapt its humanitarian intervention to emerging issues, according to their needs. In this connection, there is a need for States to define their respective capacity requirements.

The meeting also emphasized that the role of the State is to support and complement the intervention by local communities, which are the first responders in providing humanitarian assistance. In this regard, the meeting called for measures towards strengthening the capacity of local communities and traditional systems along the lines of African shared values.

Acknowledging that the issue of migration should be given due attention, in particular in light of recent migration trends in the Mediterranean and elsewhere, the consultative forum underscored the importance of developing a continental humanitarian roster for emergency response during humanitarian crisis.

This, according to the forum should have strong linkages to regional initiatives drawing and building on such models as the ECOWAS Emergency Response Team programme.

The Regional Meeting in collaboration with the West Africa region was the third of its kind taking place as part of a road map to prepare a Common African Position (CAP) to be submitted to the AU policy Organs for approval and later to be presented to the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) to be held in Istanbul, from the 26th to 27th of May 2016.

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