The illicit proliferation, circulation and trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) in the Sahel region and neighboring countries constitutes a threat to peace and security. This phenomenon has not only increased the impact and intensity of armed conflicts, but also led to a generalized insecurity hindering the economic, social and political development of countries in the region.
In order to bring a common and concrete response to address these challenges, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Sub Regional Platform for West and Central Africa organised a sub-regional symposium for the adoption of an Action Plan to fight against the proliferation of SALW in the Sahel region, which took place from 6 to 7 September 2017 in Abuja, Nigeria.
The symposium is the last step of the regional project «Assessment Survey on Small Arms in the Sahel Region and Neighbouring Countries», which was implemented in nine countries and financed by the Government of Japan.
For two days, the workshop gathered thirty representatives from National Commissions for the fight against the proliferation of SALW, Civil Society Organizations as well as national experts of the nine countries, namely Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal.
During the meeting, participants analyzed the results of the country-by-country survey, developed a common strategy to fight against the proliferation of SALW in the Sahel and formulated recommendations for the implementation of the Regional Action Plan on SALW control.
The establishment of this Regional Action Plan will make it possible to fill the regulatory, institutional and infrastructural deficiencies in the field revealed by the surveys. Through the implementation of this strategy, the countries concerned will continue their efforts in the fight against the illicit proliferation of SALW, in accordance with the relevant disarmament and legislative instruments, such as the United Nations Programme of Action Combating and Eradicating the Illicit Trade in SALW in All Its Aspects, the African Union Strategy on the Control of Illicit Proliferation, Circulation and Trafficking of SALW andAgenda 2063, which is the strategic vision for a prosperous and peaceful Africa, the ECOWAS and ECCAS conventions on SALW, among others.