Making conflict prevention the rule, not the exception


It remains a key challenge of conflict prevention systems to make early warnings operational. This study focuses on a literature review and a series of interviews conducted in Cotonou, Lomé and Abuja in March and June 2018, to examine conflict prevention and early warnings. It examines how the ECOWAS Early Warning and Response Network (ECOWARN) contributes to conflict prevention in West Africa, and underscores its persistent gap between early warnings and timely responses. ECOWARN might be the best-developed early warning system on the African continent and it is important to understand its strengths and weaknesses. Beyond the technical, financial and institutional difficulties, the early warning deficits and response times, which are often too long, the key problems result from a culture of prevention that is still very “theoretical.” This study offers food for thought and proposes some actions to allow for a better operationalisation of early warning systems. The recently signed co-operation agreement between UEMOA and ECOWAS is a positive step towards building synergy between different early warning systems.


Read the study (French)