Implementing the Southern Africa Firearms Protocol Identifying Challenges and Priorities

"This paper briefly describes the historical development of the SADC Protocol as a regional instrument to increase control over the proliferation of small arms in Southern Africa. It places the Protocol within the context of other international and continental agreements, outlines its main provisions and provides an analysis of the implementation challenges that it poses for SADC member states. The paper describes the efforts that have so far been taken to implement the SADC Protocol by member states in the region and concludes with some thoughts on the way forward in terms of assessing its effectiveness and, more importantly, its potential long-term impact.The SADC Protocol on the Control of Firearms, Ammunition and other Related Materials’ major objective is to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade of firearms, ammunition and other related materials in the Southern African region through the mobilization of a regional commitment to policy and practice. The implementation of its comprehensive provisions presents enormous challenges for member states. However, if viewed as a framework through which regional initiatives can be carried out cooperatively to deal with the problem of firearms and related materials, then its impact on reducing small arms and light weapons in the region and its contribution to greater stability and development can be more effectively measured."