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By Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS)
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ABUJA, Nigeria, March 21, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The ECOWAS Commission has launched preparations for its five year medium term strategic plan ( 2016-2020) with an inaugural consultative meeting in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

Stakeholders at the meeting included representatives of Member States, development partners, the media and Community citizens who during the meeting identified gaps in the design and development of the strategic documents, undertook a mid-term review and revalidated the framework used in developing the 2016-2020 Regional Strategic Plan.

The Director of the Strategic Planning Unit of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Essien Abel Essien described“2013 as the year to take stock of the progress of the implementation of this strategic plan and commence preparations for the next plan”.

He told the forum that in line with the bottom up approach of involving community citizens in the spirit of the ECOWAS vision 2020 for a people centred Community, the Commission has decided that “preparations for the next strategic plan should also be people centered”.

Participants reviewed the six strategic priorities embedded in the 2011-2015 Strategic Planning Document; which outlines a strategic roadmap for regional economic integration, and expressed their aspirations for the 2016-2020 strategic plan in areas including internal governance, institutional capacity, civil society and private sector involvement, crises management and prevention, policy harmonization, and regional security cooperation.

The exercise was intended to harvest the views and comments of the Community entities and citizens to facilitate the design for the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan. Similar consultative sessions will be conducted in all other Member States over two years.