Stakeholders at the end of a consultative meeting with traditional and religious leaders on ECOWAS Vision 2050, has called on the ECOWAS Commission to establish a permanent Consultative Forum for Traditional and Religious Leaders of member States.
The meeting was held from February 25 to 26 at the Ofori Panin Palace at Kyebi in the Eastern Region.
A communique issued at the end of meeting recommended that the group met at least once a year, with standing executives to manage the affairs of the Forum, within the framework of implementation of Vision 2050.
It applauded efforts made by the ECOWAS Commission to address the developmental challenges faced by the region.
“We pledge our support to work together with the ECOWAS Commission to facilitate the achievements of the goals and programmes of the new Community’s Vision 2050,” it said.
The participants pledged to work in the areas of peacebuilding, conflict resolution and mediation as enshrined in the peace and security architecture of the ECOWAS.
Others are cultural exchanges, sporting activities, arts exhibitions, and community enlightenment.
The rest are encouraging the youth to participate in agricultural programmes, environmental protection, promoting inter-religious harmony, border security and prevention of cross border criminality and citizen identification.
The communique commended the ECOWAS Commission for the holistic, inclusive and innovative approach to the analysis of the region’s development challenges and economic policy formulation.
It underlined the unique role of traditional and religious authorities for stability and peace, especially in rural areas, and communities with a weak presence of defense and security forces.
It invited the ECOWAS Commission to pay particular attention to issues related to the expansion of agriculture and agribusiness in the Vision, given the great potential of the sector to providing employment for the youth and ensuring food security.
The communique said those efforts should take into account the importance of the livestock sub-sector for the rural areas and lead to mechanisms for the prevention and resolution of conflicts between herders and farmers.
There was the need to pay greater attention to education and health issues so as not to exclude anyone in the fight against poverty, hence, vulnerable groups including the handicapped, children and women must be prioritized, it said.
It said improving governance and fighting corruption would increase the impact and quality of Member States’ development efforts and suggested an improvement in the implementation of already adopted Community policies.