Scholars, political actors & others discuss ‘building resilient peace’ in West Africa

A group picture of some researchers of the Resilient Peace Network and participants

More than 60 scholars, researchers, political and security actors in West Africa, Europe and Australia who met in Accra to discuss issues of peace building in the sub region, have proposed some key recommendations geared towards building resilient peace in West Africa.

They underscored the need for West African states to be strengthened to be able to prevent and manage conflict while providing interventions that deals with poverty, joblessness, and marginalization.

The participants also want peace building bodies such as the National Peace Council in Ghana, be created in other West African countries and adequately resourced to be able to carry out peace building functions.

“There must be a conscious effort to strengthen regional bodies such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to make them proactive in intervening to ensure peace among member countries,” they recommended.

Further, they want the Security Sector of West African countries to be reformed and allowed to operate proactively and professionally without partisan political interferences.

The workshop, which was organised by the Centre for European Studies (CES) in collaboration with the Resilient Peace Network based in the University of Bristol, UK and had “Building Resilient Peace in West Africa” as the theme.

Research papers on the theme were presented by Prof Jonathan Joseph, University of Sheffield, Dr. Ryerson Christie, University of Bristol, Dr. Gilberto Algar-Faria, University of Bristol, Dr. David Mickler, University of Western Australia, and Dr. Mohammed Dan Suleiman, University of Western Australia.

Director of the CES, Prof Ransford Gyampo, noted the Centre CES has since its establishment successfully organized research-based lecture series on topical issues about Europe and Africa, and that it has collaborated with other reputable bodies and academic networks in undertaking such evidence-based research.

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Prof. Gyampo

One of such collaborations, he said, has been with the Resilient Peace Worldwide Universities Network, which consists of a consortium of institutions working together within the areas of peacebuilding in West Africa.

“We want to use this opportunity for intensive brainstorming, facilitating meaningful interactions between academia and policymakers, as well as presenting findings of some work carried out by some researchers in the Network within the area of building resilient peace in West Africa.  This is also an opportunity to build relations between project members, scholars, civil society and local policymakers,” Prof. Gyampo said.

He called on faculty members of the University of Ghana and the Centre for European Studies to use the opportunity to build networks and to strengthen research collaboration ties.Chairperson for the event, Dr. Ana Juncos of the University of Bristol, commended the Centre for European Studies for its strong collaboration with the Resilient Peace Network and for hosting the event.

Dr. Peace Medie of the Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy (LECIAD) served as the discussant of the papers, critically interrogated the issues of peacebuilding in West Africa raised by the presenters and generated intense discussions and insightful contributions from other panelists.The panelists included Prof Esi Sutherland-Addy (FAWE), University of Ghana, Mrs Levinia Addai-Mensah, WANEP, Dr. Festus Aubyn, KAIPTC, and Commissioner of Police Dr. George Akuffo Dampare, Ghana Police and Brigadier Nicholas Peter Andoh, Ghana Armed Forces.