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SOUNDBITE (English) Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA):
The third main element, and one that would prove especially sensitive for national diplomats, was to "rationalize the Department's presence in the field through the establishment of a small network of regional offices that would assist Member States and regional organizations with their preventive diplomacy efforts." (31) These offices, modeled on UNOWA, would provide "a forward and more agile platform to support preventive diplomacy."
(As of late 2011, UNOWA had 24 international staff and UNRCCA just 8.) (34) Moreover, the regional approach to conflict prevention diverged from national diplomacy's emphasis on state-to-state relations.
Although UNOWA has had to deal with frequent coups and crises across West Africa, its main test came in Guinea.
(60.) ECOWAS, "ECOWAS UNOWA Plan Strategies for Peace Security and Development in West Africa," 31 May 2004, http://www.sec.ecowas.int/presse/en/presseshow.php?nb=44& lang=en&annee=2004
Other highlights of the month, he said, included briefings followed by consultations concerning: the United Nations Operation in Ivory Coast (UNOCI) on 17 January; the United Nations Office in Burundi on 24 January; the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA) on 25 January; and the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) on 29 January.
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