ECOWAS - Peace, Security, Stability and Governance

The Treaty of Lagos from 1975 did not contain components relating to the issues of peace, security, stability and governance. The maintenance of regional peace, stability and security through the promotion and strengthening of good neighborliness was therefore incorporated to the Revised Treaty of ECOWAS in 1993 as one of the fundamental principles outlined in Article (4). However, due to the regional instability in the ECOWAS region, member States adopted the Protocol on Non-Aggression in 1978. The Protocol was enriched and in May 1981, ECOWAS member States signed the Protocol on Mutual Assistance Defense for mutual assistance in defense against any armed threat or aggression on a member State. The Defense Committee and Council as well as the Allied Armed Force of the Community were both created to serve the stated purpose. With growing tensions in the West African region, a coalition of Anglophone member States decided to establish a multilateral armed force in 1990 to maintain peace and security, known as the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group. The Monitoring Group intervened in, among others, Liberia in 1990, Sierra Leone in 1997 and in Guinea-Bissau in 1999. 

The Protocol Relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peace Keeping and Security was adopted in December 1999 and is arguably the most comprehensive protocol relating to peace and security in the region. It addresses peacekeeping, humanitarian support and peace building capabilities as well as the issue of cross border crime. Moreover, ECOWAS member States also adopted the Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance in 2001 as an instrument to promote peace and security in West Africa.

In this context, ECOWAS has established institutions, and programmes in order to realize the commitments of the abovementioned protocols, including: The Mediation and Security Council, Early Warning and Response Network, ECOWAS Standby Force, the ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework and the ECOWAS and Civil Society.