Final Communiqué: Joint Summit of ECOWAS and ECCAS Heads of State and Government
Peace, Security, Stability and the Fight Against Terrorism and Violent Extremism
- The Joint Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) was held on 30th July 2018 in Lomé, Togolese Republic. The Summit was jointly chaired by their Excellencies Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe, President of the Togolese Republic and Chair of ECOWAS and Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of the Republic of Gabon and Chair of ECCAS.
The aim of the Joint Summit was to create conditions for sustainable peace and a secured environment in the common area of the two regions.
The Heads of State and Government or the duly mandated representatives of the following countries took part in the Joint Summit:
Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe and Chad.
The President of the ECOWAS Commission and Secretary General of ECCAS also participated in the Joint Summit, along with the following personalities:
Chairperson of the African Union Commission;
Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS);
Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Office for Central Africa (UNOCA);
Representative of the European Union;
President of the UEMOA Commission;
President of CEMAC Commission; and
Secretary General of CEN-SAD.
- The Heads of State and Government considered the overall security situation in West and Central Africa. They took note of the risks created by the increased number of security challenges, particularly terrorism, human, drugs and arms trafficking, money laundering and cybercrime.
- The Heads of State and Government underscored the significant achievements from the already existing cooperation between ECOWAS and ECCAS, in the area of maritime security and safety, in particular within the framework of the Interregional Coordination Centre (ICC) following the conclusions of the ECOWAS-ECCAS Joint Summit held on 25th June 2013 in Yaoundé, Republic of Cameroon.
- In order to better and collectively respond to the security challenges, the Heads of State and Government stressed the need for a more enhanced and effective cooperation between the two Communities.
- In this context, the Heads of State and Government decided to adopt a shared view of the threats and a common approach to the solutions to be provided. Accordingly, they adopted the Lomé Declaration on peace, security, stability and the fight against terrorism and violent extremism in the ECOWAS-ECCAS space.
- On the promotion of peace and stability, the Heads of State and Government commit to cooperate in conflict prevention, promotion of peace and stability in the two regions, particularly through the establishment and strengthening of early warning and rapid response to crises mechanisms at the national and regional levels, which involve civil society, opinion leaders, women, young people and state actors. They condemn the violent acts perpetrated particularly during internal crises aimed at destabilising States and calling into question national borders. The Heads of State and Government also undertake to adopt, at their next Summit, a regional framework on the convergence of constitutional principles in ECOWAS and ECCAS.
- The Heads of State and Government express solidarity with the legitimate authorities and people of Central Africa and support the initiative for peace and reconciliation in the country. They urge the African Union to seek, together with the United Nations, ways to lift the arms embargo imposed on the government of Central African Republic.
- The Heads of State and Government reaffirm their commitment and that of all stakeholders to respect the Agreement of 31 December 2016, the only consensual and inclusive framework capable of leading to transparent and peaceful elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They laud the efforts of the government to implement the electoral process in accordance with the timetable of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
- On security, the Heads of State and Government commit to strengthen cooperation in order to effectively check all forms of insecurity. To this end, they instruct the President of the ECOWAS Commission and the Secretary General of ECCAS to immediately open negotiations among Member States of the two regions, to conclude and implement procedures on mutual legal assistance and judicial cooperation. In that regard, a Cooperation Agreement on criminal police matters should be signed by the designated Ministers of West and Central African countries before the end of 2018.
- Seriously concerned by the upsurge in and spread of violent conflicts between herders and farmers due particularly to the adverse effects of climate change, the Heads of State and Government instruct the Ministers responsible for agriculture, livestock and security of the two regions, to hold regular consultations, with the participation of herder and farmer organisations, in order to identify measures for the prevention and peaceful management of these conflicts.
- The Heads of State and Government express deep concern at the instability prevailing in Libya and its impact on the security situation in ECOWAS and ECCAS Member States. They call on the international community to work towards a quick resolution to the crisis in the country, with the active involvement of countries of the region. In this regard, they express their support to the African mediation led by the President of the Republic of Congo, H.E. Mr Sassou Nguesso
- Furthermore, the Heads of State and Government instruct their relevant Ministers to consider issues relating to migration and climate change in their common space and submit a report in that regard at their next Summit.
- On the prevention and fight against terrorism and violent extremism, the Heads of State and Government strongly condemn the attacks by terrorist groups against civilians, defence and security forces, regional and international forces. They also condemn all kinds of illicit activities and trafficking from terrorist and mercenary groups operating in the Sahel from southern Libya.
- They welcome the commitment of member countries of the Multinational Joint Task Force of the Lake Chad Basin and G5 Sahel Joint Force to the fight against terrorism. To this end, they call on all Member States of the two Communities to provide, in a spirit of inter-Community solidarity, material, financial, technical and intelligence support to Member States’ armed forces in the fight against terrorism in the Lake Chad Basin and the Sahel. They further request the United Nations Security Council to place the G5 Sahel Force under Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter, to provide it with sustainable and multilateral funding.
- Furthermore, the Heads of State and Government reaffirm their determination to prevent and combat terrorism and violent extremism notably through the involvement of religious and community leaders, women, youth, educational stakeholders, and other relevant civil society groups in the development and implementation of de-radicalization, rehabilitation and reintegration, as well as reconciliation programmes.
- They encourage the appropriate security services of their respective countries to exchange relevant information and intelligence and instruct the Ministers responsible for Security of ECOWAS and ECCAS Member States to propose to the ECOWAS Commission President and the ECCAS Secretary General, before their next Summit, the most suitable mechanisms and procedures for secured intelligence and information sharing among the countries.
- They pledge to mutually reinforce the capabilities of their Defence and Security Forces in the areas of personnel training, joint exercise, intelligence and respect for human rights and international humanitarian law.
- They commit to implement public policies and development programmes in the areas affected by terrorist activities, particularly through the creation of growth and development clusters resulting in income creation for young people. They equally commit to support public and private investment in all productive sectors for inclusive growth, in order to reduce poverty.
- The Heads of State and Government decide to put in place a Ministerial Monitoring Committee for the implementation of the decisions of the joint Summit which shall meet once every year. They instruct the President of ECOWAS Commission and the Secretary General of ECCAS to take necessary measures in that respect, to translate the commitments into concrete actions.
- The Joint Summit calls upon Member States, African Union, United Nations, bilateral and multilateral partners and the entire international community to support the implementation of the decisions thus adopted.
- The Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS and ECCAS decide to meet every two years alternately in the two Communities, to review implementation of the decisions contained in the Lomé Declaration adopted at the Joint Summit. However, they agree to hold consultations in the margins of the ordinary summit of the African Union of January. They decide to convene their next Joint Summit in Ndjamena, Republic of Chad in 2020.
Done at Lomé, this 30th day of July 2018