SRSG calls on Bissau-Guinean authorities to endorse ECOWAS-CPLP road map

10 Dec 2010

SRSG calls on Bissau-Guinean authorities to endorse ECOWAS-CPLP road map

10 December 2010 - The Special Representative of the Secretary-General today exhorted Bissau-Guinean authorities to endorse the road map of priorities for effective implementation of the reform of the Defence and Security sector (SSR).

The roadmap was jointly prepared by ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) and CPLP (Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries - currently chaired by Angola) during rounds of meetings held in Bissau in August and September this year and involving also the technical participation of officials of Guinea-Bissau defence and security forces.

"The coming days and weeks will be essential for Guinea-Bissau civilian and military authorities to express their determination and commitment by clearly endorsing the ECOWAS-CPLP roadmap", Joseph Mutaboba emphasized during a meeting of the Security Sector Reform (SSR) Steering Committee, a monitoring body of the SSR process, comprising Guinea-Bissau authorities and representatives of international partners.

ECOWAS (Economic Community of West Africa States) and CPLP (Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries) road map aims to support Guinea-Bissau SSR.

The ECOWAS-CPLP road map was adopted during a meeting on 24 November in Abuja (Nigeria) of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council (Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Interior), following technical preparatory meetings held on 22-23 November by ECOWAS Chiefs of Defence Staff and ECOWAS Chiefs of Security Services. Budgeted at US$95m, the roadmap provides for the implementation of priority or quick-impact programmes in the Defence and Security sector which would help galvanize the overall reforms in future. Such priorities include, among others, rehabilitation and equipping the infrastructure and installations of the defence and security services; operationalizing the pension fund for defence and security personnel; DDR; and, recruitment, training and equipping of personnel, including security protection units for State institutions.

Both ECOWAS and the CPLP commited to mobilize the financial and technical resources required for the implementation of the roadmap.

In order to take advantage of this "chance that cannot be missed", SRSG Mutaboba invited Guinea-Bissau civilian and military authorities to adopt three measures namely "the official endorsement of the roadmap at national level by the authorities, before the next summit in December of ECOWAS Head of States and Government"; "the drafting, in partnership with ECOWAS and CPLP, of a chronogramme of activities with clear indicators and benchmarks of the roadmap that could allow partners to monitor its implementation by Bissau-Guinean authorities" and "more regular meetings" of the SSR Steering Committee and adoption of strong functioning mechanisms to help improve coordination of partners.

"At the end of January or mid-February, I will be presenting to the Security Council a progress update on the preparation and implementation of the ECOWAS-CPLP roadmap. The Council support will depend on the presentation of an acceptable chronogramme and benchmarks, credible implementation mechanisms and measurable indicators, Mutaboba said.

"Progress should be noticed without delays", SRSG Mutaboba added, while expressing UNIOGBIS support through its SSR section to help Guinea-Bissau in this process as well as mobilizing international support for other SSR areas.
Today's SSR Steering Committee meeting was chaired by Minister of Defence, Aristides Ocante da Silva, who considered the Security Sector Reform "the only way for the country's stability".
The meeting brought together Bissau-Guinean institutions as well as multilateral and bilateral partners.