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General News of Wednesday, 27 July 2016


National Election Early Warning and Response Group inaugurated

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The US Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with the National Peace Council, the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) officially launched the National Election Early Warning and Response Group (NEEWARG) on Tuesday, July 26 in Accra.

The primary objective of this Group is to discuss, develop and recommend strategies to mitigate threats to the peaceful conduct of the 2016 elections.

At the launch, U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Robert P. Jackson, Minister of Interior Prosper Bani, and UNDP Country Director Mr. Dominic Sam expressed commitment to support the Group’s efforts to strengthen early response to threats around the elections and reduce the potential for conflict.

The Group will convene stakeholders from around the country, including representatives from the National Peace Council and prominent persons from relevant state and non-state institutions to complement government efforts in the prevention and mitigation of election-related violence.

Through WANEP’S extensive network of civil society organizations and appointed community monitors across the country, the group will be better placed to identify potential risks of election violence.

If monitoring in a given area reveals a heightened risk of violence at any point in the election cycle, WANEP will develop recommendations on how it can be prevented, and will channel these recommendations to members of NEEWARG for immediate deliberation and action.

The eminent members of the Group will use their years of experience and influence to facilitate early response to conflict and early warning issues before they escalate into violence.

As part of a greater initiative, the U.S. government will provide grants to local civil society organizations to implement the early response options that will be recommended by members of the Group.

Speaking at the launch event, U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Robert P. Jackson praised Ghana for its strong democratic credentials and the National Peace Council for its efforts over the years to foster peace throughout the region.

“Indeed, Ghana is known as a beacon of peace, stability, and democracy. You deserve to be applauded for consistently holding peaceful elections, despite strong political competition. Many of you here today have played a significant role in ensuring peace in Ghana, but we must not be complacent. Democracy never reaches an age where it can survive on its own. We must nurture it today and every day, lest we wake up tomorrow, and find it gone.

“I know that if we work together, we will see more than just peaceful elections in Ghana. We will see a stronger, more inclusive, and more prosperous Ghana.”

The National Early Warning and Response Group will also be replicated at the regional level in the Northern and Ashanti regions.

The Regional Peace Council in each region will host the response group. These two Councils will represent the interests of the northern and southern Regional Peace Councils and ensure that electoral conflict threats at the grassroots level receive immediate attention and response at the regional level. Members of the Regional Councils will provide direct input into the National Peace Council’s activities.

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