print
Wednesday, 23 October 2019

UN General Assembly side event \ Countering Illicit Weapons and Ammunition Trafficking in Africa

BICC together with the AU, ECOWAS, RECSA, and the German Federal Foreign Office invited to a joint side event at the 64th Session of the UN General Assembly First Committee on 23 October in New York.

BICC Technical Advisor Nikhil Acharya presenting his photos about SALW control at the side event. All photos: BICC\ M. Bercks

It has long been recognised that countering the illicit trade in small arms requires regional  action. The 2001 UN Programme of Action highlighted the role of regional organisations in  small arms and light weapons (SALW) control, calling on states to take action at the national,  regional and global levels.

Regional Economic Communities and regional bodies are an integral part of the  African Union’s Silencing the Guns Plan of Action (STG-PoA). “The African Union’s plan aims to contribute to the reduction of violent conflicts by small arms control”, explains Dr Jürgen Brandsch, BICC Project Leader in the field of SALW control. Drafted in 2017 within the  framework of the AU­-Germany project, the STG-PoA is designed to support the  implementation of the Master Roadmap of Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa by  2020. 

“Due to the conflicts in Yemen in particular, but also the unstable situation in Sudan, South Sudan and the Sahel, flows of weapons are constantly evolving in East Africa”, Dr Brandsch underlines. The side event put the STG-PoA into perspective by  focussing on strengthening cross-continental cooperation to counter illicit SALW  trafficking. It further showcased a range of activities and resources that have been undertaken  and developed in regard to SALW management and control across the African continent in  support of the STG-PoA by the African Union, RECSA ( Regional Centre on Small Arms) and ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States).

The BICC photo exhibition “‘Safety First’--Cross-border arms control for at-risk communities” and the video “Keep the Safety on” added an audio-visual frontline perspective on cross-border arms control to the UN General Assembly side event.

Press release „Begleitveranstaltung zur UN-Generalversammlung \ Den illegalen Waffen- und Munitionshandel in Afrika bekämpfen“ (in German)

Participants discussing at the side event