ECOWAS and ECCAS ADVANCE INTER REGIONAL COOPERATION IN GENDER, SOCIAL AFFAIRS AND HEALTH
March 16, 2021
Abuja March 11 to 16, 2021. The Commission of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) undertook a mission to the ECOWAS Commission headquarters in Abuja, in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in furtherance of the official letters exchanged in January 2021 between their Excellences the Chairperson of the Commission of ECCAS, His Excellency Ambassador Gilberto DA PIEDADE VERISSIMO and His Excellency the President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, His Excellency Jean-Claude KASSI BROU.
The ECCAS mission in Abuja is led by Her Excellency Ms. Kapinga-Yvette NGANDU, Commissioner in charge of the Department of Gender Promotion and Human and Social Development, who was received by her ECOWAS counterpart, Her Excellency Dr. Siga Fatima JAGNE, Commissioner of Social Affairs and Gender, and the Director General of the West African Health Organization (WAHO), His Excellency Professor Stanley OKOLO.
In parallel to Madame Ngandu’s mission to Abuja, a technical delegation from her ECCAS team, composed of the Health Service and Experts of the Coordination and Management Unit of the Project to Strengthen Regional and National Disease Surveillance Systems, fourth phase (REDISSE IV), based in the Department for Gender Promotion, Human and Social Development, within ECCAS, concluded a three (3) day exchange trip to the West African Health Organization (WAHO) in Bobo-Dioulasso in Burkina Faso.
The mission of Ms. Ngandu to Abuja is in the spirit of Inter REC (Regional Economic Community) cooperation and aims to initiate exchange with her counterparts in charge of the Department of Social Affairs and Gender and Director General of WAHO to advance ECOWAS and ECCAS relationship. The mission is specifically aimed at ECCAS learning from the experience of ECOWAS on themes such as: sub-regional integration, the promotion of gender, the development of regional sectoral centers (youth and sport, civil society integration, culture of peace, health, women, peace and security), and the role that ECOWAS plays through its health institution, WAHO in supporting the Member States in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic in West Africa.
The ECCAS Commissioner and DG of WAHO had a very productive exchange given that both Regional Economic Communities are beneficiaries of a grant from the World Bank (WB) for the implementation of the Regional Project for the Strengthening of Disease Surveillance Systems (REDISSE), namely respectively: REDISSE III ( ECOWAS) and REDISSE IV (ECCAS). The discussion covered the experience of ECOWAS in the context of the interaction between the Department of Social Affairs and Gender with WAHO and the supervision of the activities of REDISSE; the experience of the establishment of WAHO, the relationship between West Africa Regional Centre for Disease Control (RCDC) and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the REDISSE project, including good practices and lessons learned from implementation.
The highlight of the mission was an hybrid meeting of the two Commissioners and the DG of WAHO on Friday 12th March 2021 at the Headquarters of the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja; and with Director of the ECOWAS Youth and Sports Development Centre, the Acting Director of the ECOWAS Gender Development Centre, some staff of WAHO and some members of the ECCAS Delegation to WAHO joining virtually from WAHO Headquarters Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso.
At the end of the mission, the three senior officials (ECCAS, ECOWAS Commission, and WAHO) agreed on several areas of cooperation and concrete actions, such as technical support that WAHO will provide very quickly to ECCAS for the effective establishment of the Central African Health Organization (OSAC), collaboration with the Directorate of Humanitarian and Social Affairs, the ECOWAS Youth and Sports Development Centre, as well as the ECOWAS Gender Development Centre, among others.