The ECOWAS Commission through the Directorate of Humanitarian and Social Affairs has organized a high-level retreat on advancing child rights in West Africa from October 10-13, 2023, in Lagos, Nigeria. The objective of the retreat was to develop an ECOWAS Inter-Sectoral Strategic Plan for the promotion and protection of child rights in the sub-region towards enhancing their safety and well-being.
At the opening session, the Director for Humanitarian and Social Affairs, ECOWAS Commission, Dr Sintiki Tarfa Ugbe, who was represented by Mr Daniel A. Amankwaah, Principal Project Officer Drug Control, stated that the retreat marks a significant milestone in the region’s commitment to child rights, as exemplified by the revised ECOWAS Child Policy, adopted by Heads of States in 2019; and the ECOWAS Child Protection Strategic Framework adopted earlier by the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government in December 2017.
The Director, of ECOWAS Youth and Sports Development Centre, Mr. Francis Chuks Njoaguani, in his contributions, highlighted the important connection and transition from childhood to youth status and the need to ensure the promotion of children’s rights with a view to their future participation in society as productive self-fulfilled individuals. This is of critical importance to the prospects of the ECOWAS region.
During the retreat, the Strategic Framework for Strengthening National Child Protection Systems was considered as a basis for integrated programming by ECOWAS Departments, Directorates and Divisions as well as other ECOWAS Institutions. The Strategic Framework is read as an adjunct to the ECOWAS Child Policy and Plan of Action (2019–2030), which serves as the overarching policy framework, guiding the work of the ECOWAS Commission in ensuring all relevant Departments and other structures of ECOWAS integrate child rights programming and priorities. This is geared towards improving the achievement of results in the areas of child survival, development, protection and participation.
The event demonstrates ECOWAS’s ongoing commitment to promoting child rights in West Africa. The strategy adheres to both international and regional frameworks, with an emphasis on supporting integrated development, peace, and security. Furthermore, it underlines the crucial importance of youth in advocating for children’s rights, emphasizing their huge impact on shaping the future of the ECOWAS region.
Participants at the retreat include key ECOWAS Directorates with relevance to the realization of the rights of the child and partner organizations, including UNICEF, the ILO, UNESCO and IOM.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).