Sub-regional organizations' conflict early warning and response mechanisms in Africa: a case study of ECOWARN and CEWARN
Iya, Jillo G
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Conflict early warning and response has lately emerged as an important and critical field in conflict studies. Conflict early warning and response mechanisms are designed and created to forewarn various stakeholders of potential conflicts so that proactive measures are taken to prevent them from escalating into actual violence. Many sub-regional organizafions in Africa have instituted conflict early warning and response mechanisms for these very reasons. This study explores conflict early warning and response in the African context, taking ECOWARN and CEWARN as case studies. This study adopted a conceptual framework anchored on the concepts of hard early warning (HEW), and soft early warning (SEW). HEW is associated with the traditional intelligence system, which is characterized by top-down decision making process and secrecy. The SEW concept, on the other hand, is premised on bottom-up decision making process and normally involves a wide range of actors in conflict early warning and response. This study employed both qualitative and quantitative methods of analysis, involving both primary and secondary data. Several personal interviews were undertaken with a view to sourcing opinions and views of experts and practitioners in the field of conflict early warning and response. The findings of this study revealed that most sub-regional organizations in Africa have made efforts towards creating conflict early warning and response mechanisms. The most developed of these mechanisms are ECOWARN and CEWARN. The study found that ECOWARN is informed by the concept of hard early warning while CEWARN is anchored on the SEWA comparative analysis of the two organizations indicated that both can claim a certain measure of success in meeting their mandates.