Monday, November 18, 2013

ECOWAS sends humanitarian support to Mali

ECOWAS sends humanitarian support to Mali

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is to deploy 20 members of its Emergency Response Team (EERT) to Mali within the framework of a regional humanitarian assistance for the country, just emerging from political and security crises.

The three-month field deployment, which begins today, beginning from 18 November, 2013; would be preceded by a four-day pre-Deployment Training (PDT) in Bamako, Malian capital. The PDT is being supported by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), which is funding the training as well as all-round flight tickets for the selected ECOWAS EERT members from their respective countries.

According to a release, reference No 321/2013 and dated 18 November; sent to mauricearchibongtravels, from the secretariat of the regional body; “Four of the ECOWAS EERT members being deployed will be seconded to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR to support its voluntary repatriation and reintegration programme in Mail.

The Malian minister of labour, social and humanitarian affairs is to inaugurate the EERT deployment, while an ECOWAS delegation to be led by the Commissioner for Human Development and Gender, Dr. Adrienne Diop, would discuss with Malian authorities, the modalities and way forward on the humanitarian support.

Following the 2012 military coup in Mali and the separatist insurgency in the north of the country, ECOWAS led efforts in mobilising an African-led support mission, AFISMA, which last July transformed into a UN mission, MINUSMA as part of international initiatives to resolve the Malian crises.
The restoration of relative peace paved the way for the holding of successful presidential election in Mali in July/August 2013, monitored by ECOWAS and other international observers. Municipal polls are expected to follow later this month in the country, still battling some humanitarian challenges.

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