Email us: communications@wanep.org

Category: News

News

REcAP Network Members Convene Regional Conference to Tackle Violent Extremism

Accra, Ghana – 5 December 2023: The Research and Action for Peace (REcAP) Network Consortium, comprising the West Africa
Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
(SIPRI), and with funding from the European Union (EU), convened experts from the REcAP Network specialised in peacebuilding,
conflict prevention and violent extremism, as well as representatives from international, regional, and national institutions for
a two day regional conference in Accra. The conference, themed “Unifying for Stability: Addressing Violent Extremism amidst Political
Uncertainties in West Africa and the Lake Chad Basin”, sought to provide opportunity and space for exchanges on innovative
ideas and best practices to influence regional and national policy decision-making in the face of weakening counter-terrorism
mechanisms and responses to conflicts and violent extremism in West Africa and the Lake Chad Basin.

 

During the opening session, Mrs. Levinia Addae-Mensah, WANEP’s Deputy Executive Director, delivered the welcome address in which
she emphasised the conference’s objective of fostering collaborative brainstorming, sharing expert knowledge, and discussing best
practices to collectively respond to violent extremism. Mrs. Addae-Mensah also highlighted the challenges in implementing existing
counterterrorism mechanisms and efforts in West Africa and the Lake Chad Basin, urging participants to pool their expertise for
effective solutions.

 

Building on this momentum, Mr. Luc Van de Goor, Director of Studies, Conflict, Peace, and Security at SIPRI, provided an opening
statement on behalf of his institution. Mr. Van de Goor reflected on the progress made since the launch of the RECAP network in
Dakar, Senegal, earlier in the year. He also stressed the importance of a holistic, evidence-based approach in understanding and
addressing security challenges. Mr. Van de Goor emphasised that the ensuing discussions would delve into the complexities contributing
to the rise of violent extremism, seeking viable solutions to ensure lasting stability.

 

Highlighting the collaborative imperative, Mr. Romain Sztark, Head of Multi-Country Operations at DRC, reminded that the escalating
violence being experienced in the various countries is causing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. He underscored the importance
of bringing together collective know-how, tools, and perspectives on emergencies to propose responses that are both adaptable and
sustainable. He highlighted that, as experts, all Network members have a role to play alongside regional institutions making
considerable efforts to restore peace.

 

Ms. Anna Lixi, First Counsellor and Head of Sector Governance and Security at the European Union Delegation to Ghana, highlighted the
conference’s unique opportunity for engagement on security and violent extremism and laid emphasis on complementarity with other
initiatives being funded by the European Union in Ghana.

 

The keynote address was delivered by His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, African Union High Representative of Silencing the
Guns and former Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the
Sahel. H.E. Dr. Chambas commended the organisers for their timely initiative in light of contemporary and emerging peace and security
dynamics in West Africa and the Lake Chad Basin. His address provided an insightful overview of the socio-political and security
context in West Africa and the Lake Chad Basin. He shared international and regional efforts underway to curb the menace and concluded
with concrete recommendations that resonated with the conference participants and other actors who graced the opening session.

 

The two-day conference was attended by participants drawn from various countries in West Africa and the Lake Chad Basin as well as
from civil society organisations in Europe. Representatives of key continental, regional and sub-regional peace, and security
institutions, namely UNOWAS, MNJTF, the Accra Initiative, and the AU/African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism
(ACSRT) also participated in the conference and delivered goodwill messages during the opening session. At the end of this session,
Consortium partners extended their deepest gratitude to the keynote speaker for his long-standing dedication and contribution to
peace and security in West Africa and the Lake Chad Basin. Appreciation was also expressed to the REcAP Network members for their
commitment. They were additionally implored to continue actively engaging in influencing the implementation of emerging recommendations
and corresponding actions resulting from the Regional Conference.