ECOWAS and NPWJ organise Forum of First Ladies and Ministers to strengthen the political commitment in the fight against Female Genital Mutilation

5 Oct, 2017 | Press Releases

Niamey, Republic of Niger, 2-5 October 2017
On 2-5 October 2017, the forum of ECOWAS member countries’ First Ladies was held in Niamey, Niger, with the objective to strengthen the political commitment in the fight against female genital mutilation and other gender-based harmful practices such as child marriage and early or forced marriage, in the framework of the protection and promotion of women and children rights in the West African sub region.

This high-level meeting was held under the high patronage of H.E. Mister Mahamadou Issoufou, President of the Republic of Niger, and under the chairmanship of H.E Mister Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe, President of the Togolese Republic and incumbent Chairman of the ECOWAS Conference of Heads of State and Government. It was co-organised by ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) and No Peace Without Justice, with the support of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, UEMOA, UNFPA, UNHCDH, UNICEF, UNOWAS, the African Union,  the Islamic Development Bank, CARE INTERNATIONAL, CECI, the Inter-African Committee on Harmful Practices (IAC), FAO, Spanish Foundation for Women Africa ISS, NANYMA KEITA, REPSFECO, RFEFH, ROAJELF, Save the Children, Terre des Hommes, and Youth Bill International USA.

The Forum was structured into three phases: a meeting of the Experts and a meeting of the Ministers in charge of Gender, Child Protection and Health of the 15 ECOWAS member countries, held on 2-4 October 2017. On 5 October, the First Ladies of the ECOWAS Member countries endorsed and called for the implementation of the recommendations adopted by Ministerial Meeting which aimed at considering the following issues: a range of concrete and effective priority actions to be taken, by 2020,  by ECOWAS countries in the fight against female genital mutilation and other gender-based harmful practices such as child marriage and early or forced marriage; the ECOWAS Strategic Framework for strengthening Child Protection Systems (CPS) to respond to and prevent violence, abuse and exploitation and ensure the promotion of the Child Rights in the West African sub region; specific measures to ensure the elimination of all forms of obstetric fistula in West Africa.

Participants included the First Ladies from ECOWAS countries (Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Nigeria, Niger, Senegal) or their duly mandated representatives (Benin, Guinea, Sierra Leone) as well as from Chad, Comoros, Mauritania and Morocco; the Ministers in charge of Gender, Child Protection and Health of the 15 ECOWAS member countries and their experts; the President of the ECOWAS Commission H.E Mister Marcel Alain De Souza and representatives of the ECOWAS Parliament, GIABA, WAHO, the ECOWAS Special Representation in the Republic of Guinea Bissau and the Social Affairs and Gender Department;  representatives of the UN agencies, other international organisations and NGOs which have supported the Forum.


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