Bissau, 24 November, 2016. The African Union (AU) and the Government of Guinea Bissau concluded a planning workshop on the on-going national Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) and Security Sector Reform (SSR) processes. The workshop was conducted in Bissau over a 3-day period from 22 to 24 November 2016 and was convened at the request of the Government of Guinea Bissau, to reinforce the capacities of actors and focal points responsible for DDR and SSR in Guinea Bissau.

This workshop, which was a follow up to the joint SSR needs assessment mission that was undertaken by the AU and partners in March 2015, was opened by the Minister of National Defense and National Liberation Ex-combatants, Dr. Eduardo Costa Sanha. The workshop was attended by high level government officials, senior security officers, representatives of the AU, ECOWAS, UN, EU, and civil society organizations. 

In his opening remarks, the Minister of National Defense and National Liberation Ex-combatants, stated that he was attending the meeting on behalf of the Prime Minister and pointed out that there is national consensus for the implementation of DDR and SSR in Guinea Bissau. He further encouraged members of the security sector to take advantage of the presence of the partners and experts from other Member States present such as Liberia and Madagascar, to learn as much as possible on how to implement these two processes.

Speaking at the same occasion, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission (SRCC) to Guinea Bissau, H.E. Ambassador Ovidio Pequeno highlighted the importance of strong national ownership for the successful implementation of DDR and SSR in Guinea Bissau. On behalf of the AU Commission, the Head of the Defense and Security Division of the AU Peace and Security Department, Dr. Tarek A. Sharif, highlighted the commitment of the AU to assist the government and people of Guinea Bissau, and commended the important role played by international partners such as ECOWAS, the UN, EU and the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP).

The workshop received a summary of the report on the AU-led Joint Assessment Mission conducted in March 2015, an update on developments in the national DDR and SSR processes, a reminder of DDR principles on national ownership, highlights of the AU Policy Framework on SSR and presentations on the DDR and SSR experiences of Madagascar and Liberia. The workshop further received an update from partners on their support to the DDR and SSR process in Guinea Bissau by ECOWAS, the UN, and the EU.

As a way forward, the ideas generated at the workshop will assist the Government of Guinea Bissau in mapping priority activities, as they continue to implement their SSR and DDR programs. The AU Commission will continue to work with the AU Liaison Office in Bissau to strengthen their capacity, particularly as they engage with ECOWAS and the strategic committee that is leading the development and implementation of the DDR and SSR national strategic framework.

Posted by Limi Mohammed
Last updated by Abraham Kebede

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