UNODC Global Firearms Programme Regional meeting on contribution to Silencing the Guns in West Africa
From 22 to 24 June 2021, the UNODC Global Firearms Programme and the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) co-organised a regional meeting in Dakar, Senegal, which gathered representatives from the fifteen ECOWAS Member States plus Chad and Mauritania. One of the key objectives of the meeting was to identify the way forward to improve the criminal justice response of countries in the sub-region to the illicit firearms trafficking problem. In particular, taking into account the Regional Chapter for West Africa -developed by ECOWAS and its Member States- supporting the regional strategy for Silencing the Guns, as well as planning in the sub region to support the fight against the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.
During the three-day meeting participants had the opportunity to discuss, inter alia, about ECOWAS’s priorities in the fight against illicit firearms trafficking; ongoing efforts to better understand the links between illicit firearms trafficking and organized crime and terrorism; the importance of identifying technical assistance needs at the national level in a bottom-up approach; and practical ways of strengthening the criminal justice response to the firearms problem through: support to investigations, mentoring in firearms related investigations and prosecution, organization of law enforcement operations and its follow up (such as recent UNODC-INTERPOL KAFO Operations) and the need to strengthen national forensic institutions.
UNODC Global Firearms Programme is committed to promoting the synergy of efforts in the fight against illicit firearms trafficking and expressed its commitment of working with key partners in the region to identify complementarities in the implementation of actions contributing to the ECOWAS strategy against the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, as well as to other existing initiatives in the sub region, including the efforts of the G5 Sahel. These efforts are part of UNODC’s Strategic Vision for Africa 2030. This conference was made possible thanks to the contributions from Germany and France.