ECOWAS Commission reviews draft action plan for Integrated Maritime Strategy

By Laudia Sawer

Tema, March 26, GNA – The ECOWAS Commission has reviewed its draft Integrated Maritime Strategy (EIMS) action plan to help it achieve the objectives of the strategy.

The Commission held an interdepartmental meeting to review the draft Action Plan of the EIMS between March 20 and 22, 2024, at Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

The meeting was organised by the ECOWAS-SWAIMS project and ECOWAS partners, including the European Union and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC).

This was in a statement issued by its Directorate of Communication and copied to the Ghana News Agency (GNA).

The EIMS is a legal instrument that provides a comprehensive reference framework for actions to be taken by the various stakeholders at national and regional levels.

It was noted that the general objective of the meeting, which brought together different ECOWAS departments, representatives of ECOWAS Regional Fisheries Centres, ECOWAS institutions and agencies, and West African Fisheries Commissions, was to make sure that the technical departments adopted the SMIC Action Plan to ensure integrated and coordinated implementation in line with the mission of the ECOWAS Commission.

“The specific objective is to ensure that the priorities and actions set out in the Action Plan are in line with the 4X4 objectives of the Commission’s management at the level of sectoral policies (food and nutritional security, marine biodiversity, blue economy, etc.”

The statement noted that Commodore Richard Maru Shammah, Director of CRESMAO, recalled the multilateral aspect of the challenges related to the maritime sector, hence the need for a good adoption of the Action Plan as well as a good implementation on the part of the ECOWAS Commission.

Mr. Cheikh Toure, the Country Director of UNODC in Côte d’Ivoire, noted that some of the ECOWAS initiatives implemented in West Africa with the support of UNODC were in line with the ECOWAS Integrated Maritime Strategy., which he said included the EU-funded ECOWAS SWAIMS project.

He further commended ECOWAS for its efforts to strengthen maritime safety and security and underscored the need for states to address specific challenges to combat maritime pollution and illegal exploitation of West African maritime zones.

He also stressed the need for ECOWAS Member States to work together to ensure peace and stability in the region.

Mrs. Fanta CISSE, the Resident Representative of ECOWAS in Côte d’Ivoire, pointed out that the multidisciplinary nature of the maritime sector was of concern to all the stakeholders present at the meeting.

The statement quoted her as saying that “this strategy, which is the Community’s framework document for a response to the proper management and exploitation of the maritime domain, is based on inter-agency cooperation at national and regional levels.

Its management must include, inter alia, political decisions, legal issues, regional security and defence, security forces, and maritime and port administration.”