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Int’l IDEA, ECOWAS Host Special Envoys Annual Retreat

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 has been concluded in Abuja, Nigeria.

The theme for this year’s Annual Retreat held from October 24-25, 2023 was on “Inclusive Constitutional Transitions after Unconstitutional Changes of Governments.”

In his keynote address, the Commissioner of Political Affairs, Peace and Security of the ECOWAS Commission, Abdel-Fatau Musah, 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, former President of Nigeria, Goodluck E. Jonathan, former president of the ECOWAS Commission and currently the African Union Envoy, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, on Silencing the Guns and Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ambassador Plomp.

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