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Weekly Spotlight: 29 October 2023

1.      Guyana Calls for Greater Regional Collaboration in Combatting Caribbean Water Insecurity

While hosting the annual Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association Conference and Exhibition in Georgetown, Guyanese Prime Minister Mark Phillip issued a statement demanding increased collaboration between private and public sector actors to achieve greater regional water security within the Caribbean. The conference, hosted from 23-27 October under the theme of “Accelerating Change in the Water, Wastewater, and Solid Waste Sector”, aimed to generate new ideas for sustainable water management practices amongst the event’s 500 attendees. During his address, Prime Minister Phillip cited policies such as public education campaigns, installing smart metres, and establishing regional data exchange platforms as potential solutions to the water insecurity facing the Caribbean. The importance of finding joint solutions to these challenges is critical given the widespread effects of climate change and, in the more immediate term, the onset of the El Nino weather phenomenon on the region’s water supplies.

2.      Togo Hosts Inaugural ECOWAS Peace and Security Forum

From 20-22 October, the Togolese government hosted delegates from across the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) at the inaugural Lome Peace and Security Forum (LPSF), where issues regarding the future of the region’s long-term security landscape were discussed. The forum was inaugurated by Togolese Prime Minister Victoire Tomegah Dogbé, who praised its potential to “facilitate exchanges, discussions, and the sharing of experiences on peace, security, and the future of Africa.” This year’s forum, whose chosen theme was “How to strengthen political transitions towards democratic governance in Africa,” focused primarily on working towards a diplomatic solution regarding the coup d’état in Niger, and involved delegates from across the Sahel including from Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger itself. The production of the Lome Declaration on 22 October, which outlined a blueprint for transitioning to civilian rule following a coup d’état, demonstrates both the skill of the Togolese government in moderating effective discussions between ECOWAS and the Nigerien junta, and the importance of regional dialogues more generally in ensuring that democratic institutions are maintained and upheld.


3.      Seven Cabo Delgado Border Crossings Reopened between Tanzania and Mozambique

Improvements to the security stability of Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado region have been such that as of 25 October, seven out of the nine border crossing linking the region with Tanzania have reportedly been reopened, according to the country’s National Migration Service (SENAMI). Ivo Sampanha, a SENAMI spokesperson, reported that the crossings, located in the Mueda, Nangade, Palma, and Mocímboa da Praia districts, have commenced operations after approximately two years of closure, which were initially enforced in 2021 due to Islamist insurgents posing significant security threats in the region. Mr Sampanha further elaborated that new control border measures, designed jointly by the security forces of Tanzania and Mozambique, have provided effective methods of reducing both illegal migration and insurgent activity.

4.      Milipol India Exhibition Fosters Partnerships Between Public and Private Internal Security Stakeholders

From 26-28 October, Delhi hosted the inaugural “Milpol India” conference, at which internal security experts from across the Indo-Pacific and beyond met to showcase the sector’s latest technological and discuss options for increasing regional security collaboration. Representatives from public institutions such as the Hyderabad, Bangladesh, and Maldives police departments were able to meet with private sector counterparts to discuss diverse topics including urban security management, prison security, and cybercrime. Rajan Sharma, Managing Director of the InterAds Exhibition, aptly described the event as an ”opportunity for providers to access the rapidly expanding Indian market for defence and security technologies, and also a global platform for bilateral collaborations, networking, and exposure.”


5.      Vanuatu and Solomon Islands Suffer Widespread Damage from Cyclone Lola

Cyclone Lola, a category five tropical storm, unleashed devastating damage upon communities in both the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu from 24-25 October. Government representatives from the Solomon Islands Disaster Office confirmed that the island of Tikopia had been badly affected, with homes, water infrastructure, and communication towers all reportedly suffering severe damage. Furthermore, Tikopia’s remote location means that emergency relief will take at least two weeks to arrive via ship from the capital of Honiara, leaving these communities especially vulnerable to delays in aid shipments. While yet unconfirmed, it is expected that security forces from across the Pacific Islands region will be rallied to deliver humanitarian aid to affected communities.  


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