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|ECOWAS Depicts Poverty As Major Threat To Peace -Launches Regional PRS|
|Published on April 28, 2011||Email To Friend Print Version
The Communications Director at the Planning Ministry Sidiki Trawally and Christopher Wallace, Director of Liberia Microeconomic Unit are attending said the ECOWAS PRS Confab in Darkar, Senegal
ECOWAS has identified poverty as a major threat to peace and stability in the sub-region.
The regional body also named high demographic growth and migration as part of the challenges bonded with poverty.
The regional body also acknowledged that poverty in all its manifestations continues to undermine the development of the region due to its overpowering and crippling burden.
Poverty hampers every effort, and thwarts every hope for a better region. Meanwhile, poverty constitutes a real concern for the member states.
In November 2006, ECOWAS and authorities of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) jointly adopted a West Africa Regional Poverty Reduction Strategy, an initiative inspired by the awareness of member states of the weakness of their national poverty reduction policies, especially in light of the transnational nature of most of the issues and constraints that underlie sustainable development.
The focus of the RPRS-WA is to operate a common mechanism through concerted endeavors and combined efforts to monitor and evaluate the implementation of this strategy, a mechanism relayed to member states through national units.
The ECOWAS strategic benchmark framework for poverty reduction aims at achieving better structuring of, and greater synergy between, regional development programs and national programs, and at giving the various poverty reduction initiatives, greater coherence, more effectiveness and increased visibility.
The framework is also intended to explore salutary ways and means of achieving economic growth and social progress.
At the launch of the Regional Poverty Reduction Strategy in Ghana recently, the group identified challenges associated with poverty as sluggish economic growth, crisis and conflicts.
The body also called on member states to work towards the implementation of the Regional PRS with the ratification of all ECOWAS protocols being the first step.
ECOWAS clarified the RPRS is meant to complement and not to substitute the national PRS designed by member states. It however said the Regional PRS would help bridge major gaps in the national PRS that do not consider certain dimensions to the fight against poverty.
ECOWAS said those gaps point to cross border issues for which the group would provide an integrated approach to better handle the regional dimensions of poverty.
ECOWAS said the Regional PRS will complement the national strategies, and has attracted the wide participation of member states.
It is this context and the bid to attain the objectives of the RPRSP-WA that underpin the formulation and implementation of a communication strategy.
Meanwhile, two Ministry of Planning staff are attending an ECOWAS strategic session in Dakar, Senegal to structure a communications and resource mobilization strategy.
The week-long conference convening at the HOTEL NGOR DIRAMA officially started Monday, April 25, 2011.
The Ministry's Communications Director, Sidiki Trawally, and Christopher Wallace, Director of Microeconomic Unit, LIMPAC, said the ECOWAS PRS has four major pillows including conflicts, promotion of democracy and good governance.
Other pillars of the Regional PRS are deepening of economic integration, development and interconnection of infrastructures, improved human capital and facilitation of mobility in the region.
The decision of ECOWAS Commission to initiate the formulation and implementation of a communication strategy is a reflection of its will to create the conditions for real ownership of the West Africa Regional Poverty Reduction Strategy (RPRS-WA) by all the stakeholders.
The RPRSP aims to generate a range of medium-term priority activities and programs likely to backstop the national poverty reduction strategies implemented by the States of the region. Besides, given the fact that poverty reduction is the primordial objective of national policies, regional level communication should be a priority.
In most ECOWAS countries, access to quality information capable of impacting on and influencing positively the living conditions of the people is highly unbalanced between urban and rural areas This disparity between areas may be explained by a number of reasons, inadequacy of resources, the quality and inadequacy of the communication initiatives undertaken in the rural areas, especially the less privileged areas which host the majority of the population.
Besides, access of poor people to the various channels of communication, particularly modern communication, that help to enhance their level of technical and strategic knowledge, has remained limited.
It was in the bid to take on board all the shortcomings observed in the implementation of the RPRSP-WA, particularly in the sphere of communication, and consolidate the gains achieved, that ECOWAS deemed it necessary to formulate and implement a medium and long-term communication strategy.
Participants at the conference are cognizant that the success of the actions set out in the RPRSP-WA largely depends on resource availability, ownership of the project at all levels, the commitment of the key players and the existence of a conducive environment, both at regional level and in the States.
Formulation of a medium and long-term communication strategy is intended to endow ECOWAS Commission with an information strategy suited to the existing context and capable of generating the participation of all the stakeholders.
More specifically, the communication strategy will aim to evaluate the communication capacity of ECOWAS Commission; assess the strengths and weaknesses of the communication tools and actions; come up with a communication strategy that enables the stakeholders to maintain interaction on permanent basis and enlighten the key players and the people on, and foster their participation in, the RPRS/WA.
The strategy will also seek to promote dialogue for the effective implementation of RPRS/WA; determine the nature of the messages according the target groups, as well as appropriate channels and tools; identify and plan the communication actions that need to be undertaken; backstop the poverty reduction process in the Community and promote the participation of the people in poverty reduction and development actions.
It will enhance free expression of the people on poverty reduction and development issues; rationalize the tools and channels in the area of communication for poverty reduction; democratize the access to the major poverty reduction information and communication tools; put in place a poverty information and awareness-raising system through the formulation of multi-media sectoral communication strategies as part of implementation of the RPRS/WA and foster the technical capacities of the communication strategy role players.