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Oluwafisan Bankale, Programme Officer, ECOWAS Commission | Nigeria


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"Problems of small arms and light weapons in the ECOWAS region"
Regional Review Conference on the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development
Nairobi, Kenya | 26-27 November 2014

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Oluwafisan Bankale, Programme Officer, ECOWAS Commission | Nigeria

  1. 1. 1 ECONOMIC COMMUNITY OF WEST AFRICAN STATES (ECOWAS) Directorate for Peacekeeping and Regional Security Abuja – Nigeria
  2. 2. 2 PROBLEMS OF SMALL ARMS AND LIGHT WEAPONS IN THE ECOWAS REGION Presentation at the Geneva Declaration Regional Review Conference in Nairobi, 26 – 27 November 2014
  3. 3. 3 Overview of Presentation • Introduction • Problems of SALW • ECOWAS spectrum of interventions • Highlights of the Convention • Towards Implementation of the Convention and soon the ATT • Elements of the Priority Activities Plan • Conclusion
  4. 4. 4 Introduction • The Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) is one of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) that make up the Africa Union • Its members include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo
  5. 5. 5 Introduction cont • As one of the pillars of the AU, ECOWAS works within the frame of the Africa Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) • APSA is focused on Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution side by side with promotion of Good Governance to secure Peace and Security • By extension elements of The Geneva Declaration especially Goal 16
  6. 6. 6 Introduction cont • ECOWAS aims at integration of the peoples of the for development • Identifies proliferation of SALW as a challenge in this process and so • ECOWAS has adopted a holistic approach based on the ‘security first’ paradigm and the promotion of a ‘culture of peace’ which seeks to enthrone peace and security as sine qua non for Development in the region
  7. 7. 7 Problems of SALW Political Level Illicit Proliferation, Crisis, Conflicts, Human Security, Transfer, Manufacture, Transparency, Corruption, Policy/Legislative Frameworks, Funding Technical/Operational • Capacity for Border control/Management, Stockpile Management/Armouries, Diversion, Marking • In-sufficient Information, Knowledge sharing and knowledge application
  8. 8. 8 ECOWAS Spectrum of Responses • ECOWAS responds to these problems and their causes at the political level through a number of political decisions and at the technical level with strategies and interventions: e.g • Protocol Relating to The Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security of Dec 1999 The first of its 6 principles says ‘that economic and social development and the security of peoples and States are inextricably linked’ Articles 50 and 51 provides the legal basis for control of SALW • The Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance in Dec 2001
  9. 9. 9 ECOWAS Responses on SALW • 1998 Moratorium on Small Arms and Its Code of Conduct: Demonstration of strong political will • 1999 Decision on the Establishment of NatComs • ECOSAP now with a Pilot Arms for Development Project funded by the EU • Adoption of the ECOWAS Convention on SALW on the 14th June 2006 ( which entered into force on the 29th September 2009) • Adoption of a Plan of Action for the Implementation of the Convention and a Five Year Priority Activities Plan in March 2011 • Active participation in ATT negotiations, ratification by 6 MS
  10. 10. 10 Highlights of the Convention Preamble It refers to some fundamental principles, notably the right of legitimate defence, the principle of non-intervention in internal affairs of another State, and prohibition to recourse to the threat or use of force in relation with States. It recalls relevant legally-binding instruments of ECOWAS, in particular, the ECOWAS Protocol relating to the Conflict Prevention, Managment and Resolution, Peace-keeping and Security
  11. 11. 11 Preamble (sequel) : In this section, Member States express concerns related to the consequences of SALW proliferation as a threat to: – Stability of Member States – Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law – Human Security – Efforts for reconciliation and peace They also reaffirm their determination to build on the gains of the Moratorium and to reinforce the capacity of the ECOWAS Commission to combat illicit SALW.
  12. 12. 12 Highlights of the Convention cont Chapter I – Definitions and Objectives Allow a common understanding of the Convention based on existing accepted definitions at the global level. Set the following objectives: - Prevent and combat excessive accumulation of SALW - Perpetuate the fight for the control of SALW within ECOWAS - Consolidate the gains of the Moratorium
  13. 13. 13 Highlights cont Chapter II : Transfer of SALW Article 3 establishes basic principles on SALW transfers: 1. Member States shall ban the transfer of SALW and their manufacturing materials into and from/through their nationals borders 2. Member States shall ban, without exception, transfers of SALW to Non-State Actors that are not authorised by the importing State. 3. SALW, as defined in this Convention, shall not be deemed to be goods for the purpose of Article 45 of ECOWAS Revised Treaty of 1993.
  14. 14. 14 • Highlights cont • Chapter II : Transfer of SALW (sequel) • Art.4 sets the conditions for an exemption to the principle of prohibition of SALW transfer: • 1. Legitimate Defense and Security needs • 2. Participation in Peace Support Operations • Art.5 describes the procedure for a request of an exemption • Art.6 clearly states the case for denial of exemption • The aim of Art.4, 5 and 6: • 1. permit Member States, in particular conditions to request for exemption to the principle of prohibition – 2. provide the ECOWAS Commission with relevant elements to analyse the request for exemption – 3. specify procedures that should be followed by Member States.
  15. 15. 15 Highlights cont Chapter III : Manufacture Articles 7 and 8 establish the principle of strict control of SALW manufacture by: 1. regulating activities of local manufacturers 2. establishing an obligation to transmit information on industrial manufacturing, where it exists 3. subjecting the activity of manufacturing SALW to the provision of key information to the ECOWAS Commission
  16. 16. 16 Highlights cont Chapter IV : Transparency and Exchange of Information The Convention establishes means and tools to promote transparency and confidence among Member States by: 1. Setting up arms registers and databases: national (Art 9), subregional (Art 10) and peace operations (Art 11) registers 2. Establishing dialogue with manufacturers & suppliers (Art 12) 3. Combating corruption (Art 13)
  17. 17. 17 Chapter V : Operational Mechanisms This Chapter sets up activities to be conducted for an effective fight against the proliferation of SALW: 1. Control of civilian Possession (Art.14) 2. Visitors’ Certificates (Art.15) 3. Management and security of stockpiles (Art.16) 4. Collection and destruction programmes (Art.17) 5. Marking and Tracing (Art.18 et 19) 6. Regulation of brokering (Art.20) 7. Harmonisation of legislative procedures(Art.21) 8. Strenghtening of border controls (Art.22) 9. Public education and awarness programmes (Art.23)
  18. 18. 18 Chapter VI : Institutional and Implementation Arrangements Institutionalisation of certains actors and mechanisms for the implementation and evaluation of the Convention. 1. Member States (Art.24) Effective National Commissions National Action Plans 2. ECOWAS Commission (Art.25) Support and supervision of the implementation of the Convention Development of the Plan of Action for the implementation of the Convention 3. Establishment of a Group of Independent Experts to support the ECOWAS Commission in Monitoring and Evaluating the Convention ( Art.28)
  19. 19. 19 Chapter VII : General and Final Provisions This places emphasis on: 1. Principle of sanctions if a Member State violates provisions of this Convention, by bringing the case to the ECOWAS Court of Justice (in application of the Art. 77 of hte ECOWAS revised Treaty that foresees community sanctions) 2. Entering into force on the date of the deposit of the 9th instrument of ratification
  20. 20. 20 Towards Implementation of the Convention Ecowas Commission facilitated • Development of a strategy (sensitisation/advocacy, policy and legal frames, capacity building, partnerships development, monitoring and evaluation; identifies actors and roles for the implementation of the ECOWAS Convention on SALW • Development of Five Year Priority Activities Plan: A “road map” for the implementation of the ECOWAS Convention on SALW
  21. 21. 21 Elements of the Priority Activities Plan for Implementation of the Convention • Build or Strengthen Capacity of National Commissions – Small Arms Division - CSOs • Manage & Monitor the Exemption Procedure • Develop and Harmonize Legal and Regulatory Frameworks • Effectively Manage and Secure Stockpile • Border Control
  22. 22. 22 Elements of the priority activities plan cont • Conduct Sensitization and Public Awareness Activities • Control Local Manufacture of SALW • Establish and Manage National SALW Databases and Registers • Establish and Manage a Regional SALW Database and a Database for Peace Support Operations • Build Partnership and Mobilize Resources • Monitor & Evaluate the Implementation
  23. 23. 23 Conclusion • Ab initio, the ECOWAS Commission identified the illicit proliferation of SALW as a challenge to peace and security and then to development • It has therefore put decisions, strategy and structure in place to halt and reverse the problems through a holistic approach by resolving the causes of illicit proliferation and mitigating its impact • Participation at this summit is sign of ECOWAS commitment to remain engaged with stakeholders on elements of Goal 16
  24. 24. 24 Conclusion ECOWAS Commission and MS have enjoyed great working relationship with partners from CSO, such as WAANSA, donors such as the UNDP, CIDA, Japan, Switzerland, EU and bilaterally with its MS e.g GIZ, Small Arms Survey