ECOWAS, others hold workshop on arms’ control


Director, United Nations Regional Centre for Disarmament Affairs, Mrs. Adetokunbo Ige (second right); Director of Peacekeeping and Regional Security, ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Cyriaque Agnekethom, H.E Ambassador, Emmanuel Imohe; Manager, ECOWAS-EU Small Arms Project, Mr. Fred Ampiah and other participants at the workshop

DELEGATES from Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Member-States have urged the ECOWAS Commission to put in place a group of experts to develop modalities for the institutional arrangements necessary for the implementation of the ATT and other related arms control instruments.

The delegates also stressed the importance of enriching on-going Study on Synergies and Complementarities between the ATT, the ECOWAS Convention on SALW, the UNPoA and other Related Instruments and underscored the need for cooperation in the implementation of the various instruments at every level.

They identified coordination within and among stakeholders as a key input into the process. These were the major highlights and recommendations of a two-day meeting held in the ECOWAS Commission, Abuja last week entitled: “Workshop on the Synergies and Complementarities between the Arms Trade Treaty, the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons, the United Nations Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons and other related instruments.”

The entry into force of the ATT on December 24, 2014, laid the foundation for a global framework for the control of international transfers of conventional arms, including small arms and light weapons (SALW).

The universal ratification and accession to the treaty and its consistent and effective implementation by States Parties constitute essential conditions for the realisation of its main goals.

The goals are, contributing to international and regional peace, security and stability, reducing human suffering and promoting cooperation, transparency and responsible action by States Parties in the international trade of conventional arms.

The workshop is part of the assistance of the ECOWAS Commission and UNREC to the understanding of the ATT in order to promote the ratification or accession to the treaty.

The workshop’s main objective is improving the understanding of the provisions of the ATT through the presentation and discussion of a study on synergies and complementarities between the ATT, the ECOWAS Convention on SALW, the United Nations Programme of Action on SALW and other related instruments.

The workshop also provided opportunities to discuss the harmonisation of institutional arrangements required by the various disarmament instruments, benefits and modalities of adjusting the ECOWAS Convention on SALW, as well as potential benefits and ways to update the Guide for the harmonisation of national SALW legislation in West Africa.

Till date, the ATT has been ratified by 69 United Nations member-states, including 10 African states, out of which eight are ECOWAS member-states. In addition, the ATT has been signed by 27 African states.

The workshop was organised jointly by the Commission of ECOWAS and the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs through its Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC) and funded through the United Nations Trust Facility Supporting Cooperation on Arms Regulation (UNSCAR), a multi-donor voluntary trust fund.

Participants were also drawn from partner organisations including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the UNDP and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

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