Managing National Commissions for Small Arms and Light Weapons Control in West Africa
The proliferation and the abuse of small arms and light weapons (SALW) contributes to the deterioration of physical security, degrades access to and availability of social services and eventually undermines development. In West Africa, although the protracted civil wars in some countries have ended, the availability of SALW to militant groups, armed robbers and kidnappers is causing fear and insecurity in many states. Addressing the proliferation and illicit trafficking of SALW requires a wide range of measures supported by legislation. Thus the United Nations Programme of Action (UNPoA), adopted in 2001, which is one of the global frameworks for addressing SALW issues, enjoins all member states to establish appropriate national coordination agencies or bodies responsible for policy guidance, research and monitoring efforts to prevent and eradicate the illicit trade in SALW. This is echoed in a number of SALW regional agreements, such as the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Protocol , and the Nairobi Protocol.