WANEP advocates early warning systems
Mr Emmanuel Bombande, Executive Director of West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP), has called on State institutions to partner Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to enforce early warning systems to prevent conflicts from escalating.
He said as a country, there was the need to prepare the public to make mitigating more easily should a problem arise.
Mr Bombande made the call when addressing a high level meeting on Early Warning Systems (EWS) in Accra on Thursday.
The meeting was to introduce participants to Ghana Early Warning Systems (GHANAWARN), being hosted by WANEP-Ghana.
It was on the theme: “Strengthening Relations between the State and Civil Society for Conflict Prevention through ‘GHANWARN’” and being attended by security agencies, CSOs and bilateral partners.
WANEP-Ghana is a non-profit making peace building NGO established in 2002 to prevent, resolve, and transform violent conflicts through collective and coordinated efforts of non-governmental institutions, organizations and individuals actively engaged in peace building practice in Ghana.
Mr Bombande said EWS required an extensive understanding and sustained interaction with local histories and realities.
He explained that the objective of people centred EWS was to empower individuals and communities threatened by violent conflicts.
Mr Bombande stressed the need for a sound scientific basis for predicting and forecasting violence, hazards and a reliable forecasting and warning systems that operates 24 hours daily.
He noted that early warning without early response could be counter- productive and therefore it was essential that communities understood their risk, respect the early warning and know how to react when such issues leading to violent erupt.
“We in WANEP believe that peace building should be locally generated and externally supported by bilateral partners,” he added.
Mr Justin Bayor, National Network Co-ordinator, WANEP-Ghana, said their vision was to ensure Ghana was characterised by a just and violent free society where people would co-exist in peace, unity and harmony.
In addition, the country would chart their own course while meeting their basic needs and contributing effectively to national development.
He said with support from Strengthening Transparency and Accountability Responsiveness in Ghana, an NGO, WANEP-Ghana was expanding into the Western Region this month to handle issues that might emerge in the region as a result of the oil find.
“We plan to also expand into the other regions before the end of the year,” he said.
Mr Bayor said with Election 2012 approaching, coupled with what “we are witnessing in the sub-region”, it was imperative that immediate measures were instituted to pick up early warning signals of election-related violence.
“Information provided by the system is showing clearly that the youth most of the time are the perpetrators of violence during election related violence. WANEP-Ghana has a plan aimed at reducing youth related violence in the country during Election 2012 in certain hot spots in Ghana,” he said.
Mr Bayor said it was abundantly clear to all that it was less costly to intervene in conflicts before they turn violent and stressed the need for various bodies to work together to make conflict prevention a worthwhile venture.