A Call for Appointment of ECOWAS Special Envoy on Ebola

ECOWAS Heads of States

In light of the current epidemic of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in West Africa, we the undersigned civil society organizations call on ECOWAS member states to appoint a leading, influential, strong and knowledgeable West African physician or health professional as ECOWAS Special Envoy on Ebola.

The current epidemic, which has been characterized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the deadliest Ebola outbreak since this virus was discovered in 1976, has claimed the lives of at least 1,552 people in West Africa including many health personnel. We applaud and support the brave work of the health personnel who continue to put their lives at risk in the care of victims of Ebola despite very difficult working environment. We stand in solidarity with our brothers, sisters, families, and communities who are battling for their lives and struggling to care for loved ones.

West African economies are feeling the impact of the world’s worst outbreak of Ebola. Travel and trade restrictions are limiting the deployment of medical personnel, equipment and commodities adding to the deadly risk that the EVD already poses to the communities and the economies of the affected countries and the region. This epidemic has exposed the challenges of our public health systems and our governance institutions.

The recently released WHO roadmap predicts that 20,000 people may ultimately be infected in this outbreak. Therefore, the challenge ahead is steep and a lot of work has to be done urgently to stem this dangerous situation and avoid an even greater catastrophe.

Cross-border coordination and collaboration necessary to stem the spread of Ebola has been haphazard and chaotic. While closure of borders may provide short term relief, it is not proving an effective way of controlling the virus and is also an impediment to cross-border technical support and humanitarian assistance, giving rise to new food security challenges.

The challenge of the current epidemic calls for urgent, unified and concerted efforts by ECOWAS and the international community. Since regional collaboration and coordination have been the main impediments in the management of this epidemic, we particularly appreciate and welcome the decision of ECOWAS to put in place a regional monitoring mechanism composed of two entities: the ministerial coordination group chaired by the Ghanaian health minister and a technical monitoring workgroup with members such as WHO Afro and the West African Health Organization (WAHO).

The work of this monitoring mechanism should continue even in the post-Ebola period given the negative impact that the epidemic is having on health systems, on economies, and on social ties and community relations.

For these reasons, we urge the appointment of the ECOWAS Special Envoy on Ebola. Such an envoy will complement the efforts of WHO’s envoy Dr David Nabarro, help draw attention to the public health and humanitarian challenges posed by Ebola and become a regional voice and leader for a regional response plan led by African and international contributors. The Envoy could also be the voice calling for effective management and coordination of cross-border transportation and logistics. The challenge we face is extraordinary and ECOWAS needs to create a specialized platform to address this.

We urge all ECOWAS member States to push for this resolution and to develop a concrete plan for operationalizing effective coordination. We call on the international community to provide needed assistance in ensuring that the response to Ebola in the region is effective, humane and sustainable.

We acknowledge that the efforts of ECOWAS and the international community can only yield results if residents of the region do their part. Hence, we also urge the populations and all civil society organizations to show more solidarity by providing support to populations that are affected by EVD and be cautious by observing the preventive and protective measures identified by the WHO.

Organisations de la société civile signataires/Under-signed CSOs:

  1. Action Aid Liberia
  1. Action Aid Nigeria
  1. African Artists’ Foundation
  1. Alliance des femmes pour l’Egalité et le Genre en Guinée (AFEGGUI)
  1. Alliance for Credible Elections (ACE)
  1. Association des Femmes Journalistes de Guinée (AFJ/Guinée)
  1. Association des Juristes Sénégalaises (AJS)
  1. Association Mains Solidaires (AMAS)
  1. Association of Community Radio Stations (ALICOR)
  1. Avocats pour les Droits de l’Homme – Guinee (ADHG)
  1. Avocats Sans Frontières Guinée
  1. Bassa Women Development Association
  1. Bassa Youth Caucus
  1. Brekete Family Empowerment Project
  1. Campaign for Good Governance
  1. CAUSE-Africa
  1. CDD Ghana
  1. Center for Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL) – Sierra Leone
  1. Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD)
  1. Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) Nigeria
  1. Center for Justice and Peace Studies
  1. Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD)
  1. Center for Media Studies and Peace Building
  1. Center for Social Justice (Censoj)
  1. Center for Transparency and Accountability
  1. Centre LSD
  1. Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)
  1. Community Development and Research Agency
  1. Community Life Project – Nigeria
  1. Conseil National des Organisations de la Société Civile de Guinée (CNOSCG)
  1. Council for the Development of Research in Social Sciences in Africa (CODESRIA)
  1. Creative Media Centre For Development
  1. CSO Ebola Response Taskforce – Liberia
  1. Décentralisation Droits Humains Développement Local (ONG 3D)
  1. Development & Integrity Intervention Goal Foundation (DIG Nigeria)
  1. Development Education Network Liberia
  1. EARS for the Masses
  1. Elections Coordinating Committee
  1. ENDA Tiers Monde
  1. Forum Civil – Sénégal
  1. Gender Peace Network
  1. Human Development Initiatives – Nigeria
  1. IBIS
  1. IMANI
  1. Initiative for Positive Change
  1. Institute for Research and Democratic Development
  1. Institute of Governance Reform – Sierra Leone
  1. Integrity Organization Ltd (GTE)
  1. International Centre for Sexual Reproductive Rights
  1. International Peace and Civic Responsibility Centre (IPCRC)
  1. L’Association Béninoise de Droit Constitutionnel (ABDC)
  1. Liberia Feminist Forum
  1. Liberia Media and Democratic Initiative
  1. Liberia Media Center
  1. Liberia Women Media Action Committee
  1. MacJim Foundation
  1. Maison de la Presse Guinee
  1. Mano River Women Peace Network
  1. Media Rights Agenda – Nigeria
  1. Meme Droits pour Tous Guinee
  1. National Civil Society Association of Liberia
  1. National Civil Society Council of Liberia
  1. National Youth Movement for Transparent Elections (NAYMOTE)
  1. Natural Resource Management Consortium
  1. Network Movement for Democracy and Human Rights (NMDHR)
  1. Network of National Human Rights Institutions in West Africa (NNHRI-WA)
  1. New African Research Development Agency
  1. Next Generation Youth Initiative International (Negyii)
  1. ONG SOS-Civisme/Niger
  1. Organisation Catholique pour la Promotion Humaine – Guinée
  1. Partners for Electoral Reforms
  1. Plateforme des Acteurs Non Etatiques pour le suivi des accords de Cotonou (ANE/PF)
  1. Platform for Dialogue and Peace
  1. Policy and Legislative Advocacy Center (PLAC)
  1. Press Union of Liberia
  1. Public and Private Development Centre
  1. Public Health Initiative
  1. Réseau Ouest Africain des Défenseurs des Droits de l’Homme – Guinée
  1. Responsible Citizenship and Human Development Initiative
  1. Rights & Rice Foundation
  1. Save Nigeria Group (SNG)
  1. Say No Campaign (SNC) Nigeria
  1. Search for Common Ground
  1. Security Sector Working Group
  1. Social Watch Benin
  1. Socio Economic Rights Initiative
  1. Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP)
  1. Special Emergency to Restore Children Hope
  1. Support Initiative for Sustainable Development (SISDEV)
  1. The Centre for Democracy and Development (Nigeria)
  1. TrustAfrica
  1. Union des Radios Associatives et Communautaires du Sénégal (URAC)
  1. UPMB-Benin
  1. WACAM – Ghana
  1. WANEP -Benin
  1. West Africa Civil Society Forum (WACSOF)
  1. West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI)
  1. West African Network for Peace Building
  1. Women NGO Secretariat of Liberia
  1. Yen a marre
  1. Young Men Christian Association of Liberia
  1. Young Women Christian Association
  1. Youth in Technology and Arts Network
  1. Youth Initiative for Growth and Advancement (YIAGA)
  1. Zorzor Women Development Association
  1. Open Society Initiative for West Africa

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