Controlling small arms: Practical lessons in civilian disarmament and anti-trafficking

Release date: 2018-10

This Knowledge Note is an outcome of a practitioners’ workshop held at the German Federal Foreign Office in Berlin on 26/27 February 2018. Among its 29 participants were 19 practitioners from West and southern Africa, United Nations organizations, European Union institutions and EU member states as well as 10 leading researchers and consultants. The present publication aims to identify practical lessons learned in civilian disarmament and cooperation across borders to stop trafficking in firearms. It draws on the knowledge and experience of practitioners at the Berlin workshop in order to help other practitioners. Its intended audience consists of people who plan, design and manage projects to control small arms, as well as officials involved in making policy.

Bearing this audience in mind, this Knowledge Note begins with the lessons learned in civilian disarmament and the trafficking in small arms and light weapons (sections 2 and 3). It then focusses on points raised during the workshop that illustrate the lessons or adds to them (section 4). Section 5 reflects on the difference between gun control and arms control.

In its conclusions (section 6), the Knowledge Note shows that lessons learned will only make a real difference if they are widely shared, taught and applied.