The Second Annual Retreat for Special Envoys of Regional Economic Communities and High Representatives, on Constitutional transitions as well as unconstitutional changes of Governments in Africa held in Abuja, Nigeria from 24th to 25th October 2023. The theme for this year’s Annual Retreat was on “Inclusive Constitutional Transitions after Unconstitutional Changes of Governments.”
In his keynote address, Ambassador Dr. Abdel-Fatau Musah, the Commissioner of Political Affairs, Peace and Security of the ECOWAS Commission bemoaned the increasing trends of coups in the region. These trends he said are taking place in a complex and dynamic international landscape, marked by an unprecedented convergence of geopolitical and geostrategic shifts, impacts of health pandemic, economic challenges, digital advancements, climate and environmental concerns, as well as socio-cultural dynamics.
The Commissioner further reiterated how reassuring and instructive a recent Afrobarometer survey (2022) on democratization trends in Africa suggests that, generally, support for democracy and democratic norms remains high across most of the continent, even though the levels of support differ from country to country.
The second Annual Retreat built on the lessons learned from the first Annual Retreat for Special Envoys and High Representatives that was held in Banjul (The Gambia) in October 2022. The various panels at the Retreat assessed the principles, functions, design and operational modalities of a regional mechanism/facility that can be used as a vehicle for rapid deployment of technical support for regional interventions to strengthen inclusive constitutional transitions.
Furthermore, the retreat presented a platform for reflecting and exchanging experiences and lessons learnt among RECs Special Envoys, High Officials as well as other participants on building an inclusive and legitimate democratic framework during constitutional transitions and post transitions phases.
Among the speakers and special guests were H.E. Goodluck E. Jonathan, Former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Former President of the ECOWAS Commission and currently the African Union Envoy on Silencing the Guns and H.E. Ambassador Plomp, Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS.
Prior to the Retreat, the Secretary General of International IDEA and Former Vice President of Costa Rica, Dr. Kevin Casas-Zamora, paid a courtesy call on Amb. Dr. Abdel-Fatau Musah on 23rd October 2023, to discuss areas of collaboration especially on Democracy, Good Governance and Electoral affairs. The two institutions also discussed the possibility of developing a Memorandum of Understanding to guide and strengthen their partnership.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).