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Research Report

Project Conflict Prevention in West Africa (CPWA)

Clingendael Institute
Copyright Date: Dec. 1, 1998
Published by: Clingendael Institute
Pages: 17

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. 2-2)
  2. (pp. 3-3)
  3. (pp. 5-6)

    The Project ›Conflict Prevention in West Africa= (CPWA) was carried out by the Netherlands Institute of International Relations ›Clingendael= from 1 October 1997 until 31 October 1998. It was funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs¹ and carried out in collaboration with the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) in Dakar, Senegal, and the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress in San José, Costa Rica.

    The objective of the CPWA project was to investigate the needs and requirements felt in the West African region with regard to the containment and prevention of conflicts....

  4. (pp. 8-12)

    The survey by Biaya is based on primary documents and interviews. It reveals that different actors and institutions other than ECOWAS are active in the field of conflict containment and prevention B at both the sub-state, state and regional levels. The study presents cases from all these levels: the civil war in Liberia and the role of civil society in attempts to settle this intra-state conflict; the inter-state conflict between Mauritania and Senegal; the Touareg rebellion in northern Mali; and the Casamance conflict in Senegal. We will first present a short overview of the different actors involved in mediating these...

  5. (pp. 14-19)

    One important aspect of the controversy surrounding the ECOWAS/ECOMOG intervention in Liberia was the lack of consensus on certain basic norms in West Africa=s inter-state relations. Thus, member states unashamedly intervened and tried to subvert regimes in other countries. This was, in turn, facilitated by the absence of basic norms to which regimes had to conform with regard to their domestic political orders, such as human rights, the treatment of minorities and, more generally, good governance. Moreover, while the region possesses, in the Economic Community of West African States, a forum for regular dialogue, the consultative opportunities this provides to...

  6. (pp. 20-21)

    Several policy relevant conclusions could be drawn from the above, some of which were (also) articulated at the international conference held in Senegal (October 1998) to discuss, among others,⁶ the findings of the CPWA studies. Here only some of the key points will be mentioned, while for more detailed aspects one should refer to the four studies in question.

    What springs to mind immediately if one looks at the regional dimensions of conflict prevention and conflict management in West Africa is the absence and/or deficient functioning of consultation procedures between the region=s political elites. As compared to practices in the...