Two Track diplomacy and early warning: an overview of Governance styles in West Africa

AKINBOYE, S.O. ; SALAWU, M.L. (2014)

Article

The recognition accorded Track Two diplomacy, otherwise known as Non-governmental Organizations, is due to the waning impact of Track One diplomacy in satisfying the inevitable needs of salient diplomatic interaction. The resultant weakness of Track One diplomacy, which is restricted to the interaction between governments and predicated on rigid foreign policies of each nation-state, has created major problems concerning issuance of Early Warning to prevent conflict emergence. This is in spite of an avalanche of privileged information channels available to any government, such as the state or military intelligence services, diplomatic missions, the mass media and many others. This is a far-cry from the operations of Track Two, which are non-partisan and apolitical, an attribute that encourages freedom and non-adversarial interaction between feuding nations and communities. Besides, NGOs are a reservoir of privileged information concerning issues that often serve as catalyst to violence. The endemic catastrophe in the West Africa sub-region generally is due to the disdain and to ambivalence in decision taking which point to the need for embracing early warning signals by various non-governmental organizations in order to reduce the overall costs of intra-state conflicts. As it is cheaper and cost-effective to tackle any conflict before graduating into an armed conflict which is lacking in West Africa, this paper will examine the governance styles of some conflict prone West African States, taking into account the role of non-governmental organizations in areas of early warnings, with a view to recommending strategies for sustainable peace-building in West Africa.