Abuja, 2nd October 2018. Participants at the technical meeting on the operationalization of the Child Protection Framework of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have called for effective collaboration and networking among all stakeholders.
Other recommendations of the meeting which ended on the 27th of September 2018 at the ECOWAS Commission Headquarters, Abuja, Nigeria, bordered on the need for a harmonized research and data collection, using reliable and validated instruments to plan for and solve problems relating to child protection.
Noting that continuous dialogue and engagement of all stakeholders on Child Protection have become necessary, participants further recommended a regime of resource distribution, accountability and good governance.
In addition to this, they maintained that focus should be on effective community engagement on the five priorities outlined in the regional child protection framework.
Having deliberated on the thematic presentations at length, relevant child protection issues were identified by the experts and representatives of ECOWAS Partners on child protection.
Some of the issues included peace education, child education in emergencies, food nutrition issues such as School Feeding, Child Labour in Agriculture as well as protection issues in the Social Media.
Before their recommendations were arrived at, an overview of the “ECOWAS Strategic Framework for Strengthening National Child Protection Systems to prevent and respond to Violence, abuse and exploitation against children in West Africa” was given.
There were also presentations on the situational analysis of child protection system in West Africa.
Issues of relevant and up-to date data, legal framework, resource mobilization as well as the appropriate communication strategy on child protection were also examined.
The report adopted at the end of the Two-Day meeting highlighted the gaps in the political commitment of Member States towards the implementation of international and regional legal frameworks.
Closing the meeting on behalf of the Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender – Dr. Fatima Siga Jagne, the Principal Programme Officer for Gender and Child Dr. Bolanle Adetoun, thanked all the participants for their valuable interventions and inputs.
Stressing the need for the continuous mainstreaming of child protection issues in their work, she noted that being a cross-cutting theme involving many professionals and subject areas, an effective child-protection system, calls for action from all segments of society and governments.
In December, 2017 the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government approved the ECOWAS Strategic Framework for Strengthening National Child Protection Systems to prevent and respond to violence, abuse and exploitation against children in the region.