ECOWAS Seeks Improved Collaboration to Curb Humanitarian Crisis in West Africa

Michael Olugbode in Abuja

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has called for improved collaboration among member states to help ease the suffering of persons displaced by worsening humanitarian crisis in West Africa.

The Commissioner, Human Development and Social Affairs, ECOWAS, Prof. Fatou Sarr, made the call  yesterday while addressing representatives of  member states at the opening of a  three day workshop on ECOWAS Response to Persons of Concern (PoCs-IDPs, Refugees, Returnees, Stateless People, Asylum Seekers and their Host Communities holding in Abuja

Sarr, who was represented by the Director Humanitarian and Social Affairs, Dr. Sintiki  Ugbe said, “In 2024, the data and information collated from the region, have shown that population displacement resulting from varied humanitarian events, especially conflicts, have contributed enormously to the worsening of the humanitarian situation.

“Key figures shared by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on displacement as of December 2023 show that 6,919,306 are forcibly displaced of which 6,284,384 are IDPs, 634,922 are Refugees & Asylums seekers. UNHCR 2024 report, has put the figures of stateless population in the region at over 931,000,” she said.

On the worsening situation, she said, “In response to the increasing humanitarian events in the region, the ECOWAS Commission has constantly developed and reviewed its strategies in collaboration with member states and relevant partners in line with its principal mandate of assisting member states to reduce the suffering of populations affected by humanitarian emergencies and affected communities.

“In this regard, the Humanitarian and Social Affairs Directorate has developed an inclusive strategy where member states and relevant partners determine the humanitarian needs of our populations as well as the affected communities.

“This gives ownership to the member states and affords ECOWAS the opportunity to coordinate and monitor the implementation of the assistance to the utmost benefit of the affected communities and populations.”

She also noted that, “the workshop will focus majorly on addressing the impact of displacement and related humanitarian events on refugees, IDPs, migrants, asylum seekers and stateless persons as well as host communities in 2024.”

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