5. ECOWAS-ASEAN Exchange

Strengthen learning both within the West African sub-region, as well as between the West African and South-East Asian regions

All regional organisations are facing challenges of long term changes in the international system, including the rise of fluid multipolarity, economic and technological interdependence, greater state competition for influence, and the difficulty of balancing the interests of unequal states with changing influence and fragility. In recognition of the unique challenges and opportunities surrounding the role of regional organisations in long-term humanitarian planning, HFP, King’s College London, has sought to facilitate an exchange of learning between West Africa and Southeast Asia on how different regional organisations are managing these long term changes and challenges. Significant steps have been made to build an innovative and valuable relationship between ECOWAS and the Association of South-Eastern Asian Nations (ASEAN), including two initial planning meetings in London in 2012 and 2014.

In April 2014, the first leg of the exchange programme took place, with a visit by an ECOWAS delegation to Jakarta, Indonesia. The trip involved meetings with representatives of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Department of the ASEAN Secretariat  and ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Centre), and discussions on the structures of each organisation, their role in regional disaster risk reduction and management, and potential areas for future collaboration between the two regional bodies. The trip also included meetings with academics, local government, and NGOs in the Yogyakarta area to build understanding of the work of various actors to the persistent disaster risks in the area. The delegation was also briefed by the World Bank on the Jakarta Urgent Flood Mitigation Project which it supports. A report on this leg of the ECOWAS-ASEAN exchange programme can be found here.