The Economic Community of West Africa State (ECOWAS), the United Nations Volunteers Program (UNV) and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), have ended a two-day joint retreat in Monrovia.
The retreat was was an exercise to revise the existing partnership agreement between ECOWAS Commission and the UNV, and to further propose a new agreement between these organizations.
It was the first between the ECOWAS Commission and the UNV since the partnership was signed in 2005, under the ECOWAS Volunteer Program (EVP), which was also initiated by the ECOWAS Commission on November 5, 2004.
ECOWAS Commissioner for Industry and Private Sector Mamadou Traore, informed participants that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and a cost–sharing agreement was signed between the UNV and ECOWAS Commission in 2005, but has not been re-commissioned to effectively establish the ECOWAS EVP with technical support, and funding from the UNV and the African Development Bank (ADB).
The retreat, Mr. Traore said, has provided framework that will formulate new ideas to mutually benefit the cooperation among the UNV, ECOWAS Commission and UNOSSC.
“We hope that this retreat will also provide the ground for heightening collaboration and development of new templates for a three–party South–South arrangement among UNV, ECOWAS Commission and the UNOSSC in the areas of youth migration, youth entrepreneurship, education, scholarships, gender development as well as volunteerism,” Traore said.
Benedict D. Roberts, Head of ECOWAS National Office and Chair of the ECOWAS Coordinating Council of EVP-Liberia, said that the single most important instrument in the MoU, which binds them together and determines the roles individuals play was a subject for discussion at the meeting.
Roberts cautioned participants to contribute to make their gathering achieve its objectives.
Deputy Youth and Sports Minister, Andy Quamie, expressed confidence that the meeting will help strengthen the existing partnership and also help Liberian youth, who are at a disadvantage.
The retreat was attended by representatives from the ECOWAS Commission, UNV program, and the UNOSSC, who discussed ways of strengthening the existing partnership among the three institutions to include Liberian youth.