The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in collaboration with the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), has held a 2023 Regional Disarmament Seminar in Accra.
The theme for the seminar is “Gender Perspectives on Arms Control and Disarmament for its member states.
The three-day seminar aims to raise member nations’ awareness of their responsibility to uphold disarmament agreements while providing a forum for discussion and the sharing of best practices.
Additionally, the seminar will create a platform for bridging gaps in understanding and promoting a culture of disarmament, gender equality, non-proliferation and arms control across the ECOWAS region.
The Chief Director of the Ministry of the Interior, Mrs Adelaide Anno-Kumi, urged ECOWAS members to support national efforts to effectively monitor and control border areas by supplying sufficient equipment to meet the demands of communities along the borders.
According to her, the illegal trafficking of conventional weapons is still a problem in many parts of Africa and a threat to the security of the populations, institutional strength, upholding the rule of law, as well as national, regional and global peace and development.
The Chief Director emphasized that the proliferation of conventional weapons that have occurred in West Africa should be seen as one facet of a complex phenomenon that also includes crime, competition for resources, tensions and violence within communities and outcomes such as underdevelopment, poverty and political instability.
Mrs Anno-Kumi urged member states to take the necessary steps to improve stockpile management capabilities and the physical security of conventional weapons and ammunition to reduce the danger of diversion.
She asked them to establish complete and comprehensive state-owned weapon labelling programmes, including systems for registering weapons and ammunition.
The Chief Director added that West African nations should continue to make use of weapon marking systems to create thorough inventories and database systems to advance the agenda for arms control and disarmament.
Dzifa Hukporti, ISD