Sustainable peace: Driving the African Peace and Security Architecture through ECOWAS

This paper looks at the best practices and lessons learned from ECOWAS’ peace and security efforts.

The African Union (AU) has prioritised its relationships with regional economic communities (RECs) in order to implement the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). Yet a lack of clarity remains over roles and responsibilities. One such REC – the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) – has been at the forefront of West African peace and security efforts. Although these efforts have proved challenging, the organisation has gone to great lengths to become more effective in dealing with the wide array of peace and security challenges in the region. This paper looks at the best practices and lessons learned from ECOWAS’ peace and security efforts and how it can enhance its implementation of the APSA. It draws on academic and policy literature, as well as ECOWAS reports and frameworks. It also bases its recommendations on the findings of field research conducted in August 2016 with 18 stakeholders. It focuses in particular on ECOWAS’ efforts to sustain peace (i.e. going beyond peacekeeping, and focusing on conflict prevention and peacebuilding).

About the authors

Amanda Lucey is a senior researcher in the Peace Operations and Peacebuilding Division of the ISS. With nine years of experience in the field, her areas of focus include peacebuilding, South–South cooperation and South African foreign policy. Amanda worked with MONUSCO as a political affairs officer in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and with the UNDP in South Sudan as a rule of law officer. She holds an MPhil in Justice and Transformation from the University of Cape Town.

Moyosore Arewa is a researcher interested in peacebuilding, access to justice and governance. He serves as a Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of International Law and International Relations, and is a junior fellow at Massey College. A 2016 Open Society fellow on rights and governance, he is currently completing a master’s degree in global affairs from the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.

Click here to watch 'Collaboration for better peacebuilding'

Development partners
Research for this paper was supported in part by the Open Society Internship for Rights and Governance, which is funded and administered by the Open Society Institute (OSI). The ISS also is grateful for support from the members of the ISS Partnership Forum: the Hanns Seidel Foundation and the governments of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the USA.
Related content