The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Economic Commission of West Africa States (ECOWAS) has commenced a six-day training of their staff to improve humanitarian response in the region.
The Emergency Management Training (EMT) of UNHCR staff and the ECOWAS Emergency Response Team (EERT) is being held at the Martin Luther Agwai Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre, Jaji, Kaduna State.
On Monday that the training was also being carried out in collaboration with the Nigerian Army.
Dr Fatima Jagne, Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender, ECOWAS Commission said that the training was important to equip staff and the EERT on best ways to respond to diverse humanitarian challenges in the region.
She said that the conflict of the past decade in the ECOWAS region has resulted in the loss of human lives, destruction of properties and the displacement of millions of citizens.
She stressed the need to improve humanitarian response to help cater for the emergency victims and protect displaced persons.
Jagne said that the ECOWAS Emergency Response Team (EERT) was established as the regional tool for humanitarian intervention in the region.
“Since 2005, the Directorate of Humanitarian and Social Affairs have been organising training programmes for the EERT members as one of the ways for capacities enhancement of the region to better face humanitarian challenges.
“The EMT is structured to equip trainees with multiple skills to prepare for and manage and respond to diverse humanitarian emergencies including with simulations around real emergencies situation.
“The EMT is to build and improve the capacities of trainees to prepare for, manage and respond to emergencies in the region.
“Participants, therefore, are urged to take this training seriously, bearing in mind that the region requires effective and management of humanitarian emergencies to save lives and restore dignity to our populations.
“Accordingly, this training ultimately prepares you to meet the challenges of our population during emergencies.
“In this regards you are encouraged to learn new approaches during this training as you might be called upon for ECOWAS humanitarian mission in members states where the need arises’’ Jagne said.
Also speaking, Mr Roger Hollo, Senior Liaison Officer of UNHCR to ECOWAS said that the partnership was very important for the UNHCR to boost humanitarian response of its staff and the EERT in the sub region.
He said that the partnership clearly shows UNHCR interest to partner with important actors in the sub region to create protective environment for people of concern.
Hollo said that the Persons of Concerns to the UNHCR included Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), Refugees, Stateless Persons and Migrants.
He disclosed that the UNHCR was discussing with ECOWAS to also address issues concerning irregular migration.
“We are also looking at drawing particular issues concerning our sub region, the conflict between herders and farmer.
“It is something that UNHCR is looking at and also within the framework of our partnership with ECOWAS.
“Participants should take advantage of this training and make sure that in whatever we do, we think of people who are really in need of attention and our support.
“This attention cannot be provided if you are not really equipped and we believe that within this five days you will be equipped with the necessary skills’’ Hollo said.
In his remarks, Maj.-Gen. Usman Yakubu, Commandant of the Martin Luther Agwai Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre said that the training will improve the capacity of ECOWAS Member States on humanitarian response and management.
He urged participants to be focused and avoid any form of distractions in other to achieve the objective of training.