The Heads of ECOWAS Centres of Excellence for training in Peace Support Operations (PSO) have agreed to make sexual exploitation and abuse a priority in their training.

This would enable the personnel of the regional standby force to receive a two-year training on the subject matter, a statement by the commission?s Spokesman, Mr Sunny Ugoh, said on Sunday in Abuja.

According to the statement, the Regional Training Centres of Excellence (TCEs) and Training Institutions (TIs) at the end of their meeting in Abuja said the training would equip the force.

It said that the training would be mainly in the area of having a requisite knowledge and respect for international standards on the subject matter.

It said the meeting also discussed ways of enhancing technical and operational cooperation between the ECOWAS Commission, the TCEs and selected PSO Training Institutions.

“The meeting also agreed to support civilian participation in the joint ECOWAS/US AFRICOM training, code named ?Exercise Western ACCORD14? to be held in Senegal in June.??

The statement said the participants noted that civilian participation in that exercise would help improve the multidisciplinary skills of the ECOWAS Standby Force (ESF).

It also said that civilian participation in the African Union field training ?Exercise AMANI AFRICA II? coming up in Lesotho in October and November would also help improve the ESF.

It said that the participants also urged ECOWAS and the training centres to ensure gender balance in the distribution of slots for courses in line with the UN Security Council Resolution 1325.

According to it the meeting equally highlighted the need to standardise and harmonise course syllabus to avoid duplication of training and called on ECOWAS to institutionalise the ECOWAS Standby Day.

The statement quoted ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Mrs. Salamatu Suleiman, as commending the TCEs/TIs for contributing to the success of Exercise Western ACCORD12 and 13.

 It said that Suleiman also commended various courses conducted in 2012 and 2013 in support of the ESF.


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