Regional Centre on Small Arms and Light Weapons programme
What the project is about
Kenya is part of the regional and international initiatives for the reduction and control of the proliferation of SALW. These include the UN Programme of Action on SALW, the Geneva Declaration on SALW; the Nairobi Protocal and Declaration on SALW among other legal instruments. Kenya currently hosts the Regional Centre on Small Arms (RECSA) which is an intergovernmental body supporting members states. The Kenya National Focal Point for SALW is responsible for issues of SALW.
The lack of regional standards on armed groups’ disarmament has hindered the cooperation of regional government to undertake joint disarmament operations. This is due to legal and policy divergence among them and yet the proliferation of arms is not limited to national borders. There is therefore need for a regional approach to the challenges of SALW.
The Nairobi Protocol for Control and Reduction of SALW in the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa provides a great opportunity to initiate this process. The Protocol provides for: establishment of Best Practice Guidelines on stockpile management; harmonization of legislation at regional level, public awareness and advocacy campaign on the dangers of SALW, and the destruction of illicit SALW. Whereas progress has been made in implementing provisions of the Protocol, there are no guidelines on the crucial aspect of practical disarmament for the region.
To address the prevailing situation; this project has three objectives namely: strengthening existing institutions in the fight against illicit proliferation of small arms and light weapons; effective stockpile management; and effective generation and provision of information on practical disarmament.
The Project Outputs and Activities
The overall objective of the Project is to enhance human security in the Great Lakes Region and Horn of Africa by preventing proliferation of illicit small arms through practical disarmament. In order to achieve this objective, the project will seek to address and realise key results under the following outputs, namely:
1) Existing institutions in the fight against the proliferation of illicit SALW strengthened.
This output responds to the challenges of the weak and budding institutions in each of the member states mandated to reduce proliferation of SALW. Under the Nairobi Protocol National Focal Points on SALW have been established and in some states, the National Action Plans for SALW have been finalised and implemented to varying degrees. The Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) will also be critical partners in addressing the challenges of SALW. It is expected therefore that the capacities for the National Focal Points and some CSOs would be enhanced through training, information sharing on best practices and guidelines for disarmament, and baseline surveys on SALW in the regions. They will also benefit from the development of customised software for the effective management of SALW.
2) Stockpile management enhanced
The RECSA and member states have committed themselves to undertake disarmament and destruction of illicit SALW in the region. This will require cooperation and collaboration of member states and local communities. There is therefore need for proper management of SALW to ensure considerable reduction of illicit SALW within the public domain. This output will seek to support the destruction in public of illicit SALW while building national capacities and infrastructure for safe keeping, monitoring and accounting for SALW. For example regional software will support establishment and management of databases for SALW in each member state.
3) Best Practice Guidelines on Practical Disarmament Developed
The third output of this project targets to support a regional harmonised approach to disarmament. This has been a challenge to member state especially those with armed communities neighbouring each other across national borders for example Kenya, Uganda, Sudan and Ethiopia. The project will support the development of guidelines and standards on practical disarmament which is intended for adoption and use by the regional governments. The guidelines will be developed in consultation with CSOs and communities affected to ensure ownership and general support of government disarmament operations aimed at greatly diminishing SALW and insecurity in the region.
4) Capacity of RECSA developed and administrative support improved to enhance programme implementation
RECSA is still a budding institution that requires continued capacity development and support in order for it to discharge its mandate and serve the regions effectively. This project seeks to realise outputs at regional level and as such a number of high level and demanding activities are envisaged under the project matrix. This output will ensure that RECSA is provided with adequate capacity in terms of human resources and administrative support for the effective implementation of this project and other future programmes on SALW.