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Peacekeeping in a bad neighbourhood: The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in peace and security in West Africa

DJ Francis


Is there any role for regional organisations in the maintenance of international peace and security and if so, how effective are they? This question has polarised the debate on the role and potential contribution of regional intergovernmental collective security organisations in the maintenance of international peace and security in the post-Cold War period. Some scholars argue that regional organisations play only a limited role and that even when they do so, it is often in pursuit of their political or strategic self-interests. On the other hand, some academics and policy practitioners are of the view that regional organisations not only have a role to play but have emerged as a viable framework for the maintenance of regional peace and security. In the process, they have ‘rescued’ the global institution, the United Nations, in its mandate to maintain international peace and security. The case of the West African peacekeeping and conflict stabilisation interventions and regional deployments have been cited as a reflection of this development, despite its many problems and challenges. If this is the case, what has been the role and contribution of ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States) integration in regional peace, security, conflict prevention, management and resolution?

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eISSN: 1562-6997