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Key Stakeholders Affirm WANEP’s Expertise in Early Warning and Conflict Prevention

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Major partners and key stakeholders have once again endorsed the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) for its professionalism and expertise in early warning and conflict prevention. The affirmation was contained in goodwill messages delivered at the official launch of the “National Election Early Warning and Response Group” (NEEWARG) on July 26, 2016 in Accra - Ghana. NEEWARG is an initiative of the National Peace Council (NPC) in collaboration with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and WANEP. It was launched by Honorable Prosper Bani, Ghana’s Minister for Interior with the primary objective to discuss, develop, and recommend strategies to mitigate threats to the peaceful conduct of the Ghana 2016 elections.

 In a goodwill message at the occasion, Rev Prof Emmanuel Asante, Chair of the National Peace Council (NPC), said that despite Ghana’s reputation as a peaceful and stable democracy, the country is still bedeviled by a myriad of problems including more than 200 internal conflicts arising from natural resources, chieftaincy tussles and land matters among others. He said the NPC has a mandate to work with other stakeholders in managing conflicts in the country to prevent escalation and re-occurrence. He reiterated the NPC’s commitment to work with WANEP and other CSOs to promote peace and stability, especially in the upcoming elections, adding; “I am optimistic that the December 7 elections will be peaceful!”

 Honorable Prosper Bani, in his keynote address commended the partners for their initiative and expressed confidence that with the right mix of personalities in NEEWARG, the Group is well positioned to deliver on its mandate. The Minister said he was excited with the caliber of the partnership of NPC, USAID, UNDP and WANEP saying “this kind of collaboration builds confidence and trust!” Honorable Bani advised that for the success of the Group, WANEP should continue to build their capacity on prevention, dialogue and mediation and institute a feedback mechanism to ensure coordination and synergy. He said his Ministry is taking steps to address some of the identified threats in the upcoming elections and called on the citizens to have confidence in existing institutions for the sustenance of peace adding, “We are all partners in progress!”

 Other speakers at the occasion including the US Ambassador to Ghana, His Excellency Robert P. Jackson, UNDP-Ghana Country Director, Mr. Dominic Sam and the Deputy Electoral Commissioner of Ghana Mr. Amadu Sulley, all reiterated the need to consolidate Ghana’s peaceful democracy. Ambassador Jackson emphasized that “Ghana has strong democratic credentials; however, we must not be complacent, but remain vigilant of the risks of instability in the upcoming elections.”

 Part of the responsibilities of the Group as delivered by Mrs. Levinia Addae-Mensah, Program Director of WANEP is to convene stakeholders from around the country, including representatives from the National Peace Council as well as eminent persons from relevant state and non-state institutions to complement government efforts in the prevention and mitigation of election-related violence. Through WANEP’S extensive expertise in early warning and relying on its network of civil society organizations and appointed community monitors across the country, the Group will be better placed to identify potential risks of electoral violence. The eminent members will also deploy their experience and influence to facilitate early response to conflict and early warning issues before they escalate into violence. NEEWARG will be replicated at the regional level in the Northern and Ashanti Regions.