Parliaments have a critical role to play in crisis prevention and recovery. Legitimately elected parliaments provide a forum for the concerns of diverse societal groups (including women and minority groups) to be aired and incorporated in processes of dialogue, reconstruction and conflict resolution. In crisis and conflict situations, parliaments’ central and potentially transformative role in dialogue and reconciliation processes creates an enabling environment for community security. The challenges of drug trafficking, small arms proliferation, political violence and instability in West Africa call for an increased attention to parliaments as peace building and conflict prevention institutions. Therefore, UNDP, in close consultation with key actors and UNDP’s partners in the West Africa region, launched a dedicated initiative and strategy towards empowering parliaments as actors in violence and crisis prevention and post-conflict recovery through a series of activities in West Africa with the financial support of the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.