ECOWAS to deploy humanitarian support team to Mali

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ECOWAS is to deploy twenty (20) members of its Emergency Response Team (EERT) to Mali within the framework of a regional Humanitarian Assistance for the country which exiting political and security crises.

Four of the ECOWAS EERT members being deployed will be seconded to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR to support its voluntary repatriation and reintegration programme in Mali.

The field deployment for three months beginning from 18th November 2013 would be preceded by a four-day Pre-Deployment Training (PDT) in the Malian capital, Bamako.

The PDT is being supported by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), which is funding the training and also providing all-round flight tickets for the selected ECOWAS EERT members from their respective countries.

The Malian Minister of Labour, Social and Humanitarian Affairs is to inaugurate the EERT deployment, while an ECOWAS delegation to be led by the Commissioner for Human Development and Gender, Dr. Adrienne Diop would discuss the modalities and way forward on the ECOWAS humanitarian support with Malian authorities.

Following the military coup in Mali in 2012 and the separatist insurgency in the north of the country, ECOWAS led efforts in mobilizing an African-led support mission, AFISMA, which transformed into a UN mission, MINUSMA last July as part of international initiatives to resolve the Malian crises.

The restoration of relative peace paved the way for the holding of successful Presidential elections in Mali in July/August 2013, monitored by ECOWAS and other International Observers.

Municipal polls are expected to follow later this month in the country, which still faces some humanitarian challenges.