Supporting small arms and light weapons (SALW) control in Africa
- Militarization and arms control
This project continues the work undertaken in previous projects:
Capacity development and advice on SALW control in Africa (August 2018 - March 2021)
Physical security and stockpile management (PSSM), capacity development and technical advice in West Africa (January 2016 - July 2018)
Physical security and stockpile management (PSSM), capacity development and technical advice in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa (January 2016 - July 2018)
Our work is based on a multi-level approach: It links strategic, regulatory and technical measures at the international, regional, national and local levels.
On the strategic level, BICC is working with the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Regional Centre on Small Arms (RECSA) and the Khartoum-based Sub-Regional Small Arms Control Mechanism (SARCOM) as well as some of their member states to support the implementation of international small arms control instruments such as the United Nations Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (UN PoA) and the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). Additionally, BICC engages with its partners in the framework of their regional small arm control instruments, including the African Union Silencing the Guns Plan of Action, the Nairobi Protocol and the ECOWAS Convention. For instance, BICC has advised ECOWAS on the development of a five-year Regional Plan of Action to practically implement the ECOWAS Convention through small arms control initiatives, mobilise funds for these, and measure its regional progress.
BICC’s regulatory support is geared towards harmonising national legislation and guidelines in small arms control with international and regional instruments as well as associated standards. For example, in Ethiopia, BICC supported the drafting of a law on civilian weapons ownership and the subordinate regulations for the authorities.
On the technical level, BICC supports building capacities along the whole spectrum of weapons and ammunition management by covering the full lifecycle of both arms and ammunition. This includes marking, record-keeping, tracing and the destruction of weapons and ammunition, as well as physical security and stockpile management (PSSM). Within our PSSM capacity-building efforts, ECOWAS, RECSA and BICC follow a sustainable training approach. Regional train-the-trainer courses generate a steadily growing pool of experts. Upon completion of the train-the-trainer course, graduates are able to run PSSM training activities independently, while senior instructors are ultimately qualified to certify new PSSM trainers.
These capacity-building efforts are complemented by our development of practical resources that capture operational guidance and best practices for practitioners on the ground. Examples are Operational Guidance Notes for PSSM practitioners or the SALW Guide, which provides information on the global distribution of small arms and light weapons and how to identify the most commonly used.
Cross-border cooperation on small arms control is another focus of BICC’s work. Together with our focus countries Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, as well as RECSA and SARCOM, we are working to bring together relevant government agencies and civil society organisations to strengthen cooperation mechanisms that stem illicit cross-border flows of weapons and ammunition. In international and regional fora, we support the coordination of small arms control initiatives. For instance, together with the African Union, we have developed a database that maps existing activities and projects in the realm of SALW control across the continent.