From a regional perspective, the UnitedNations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC) is anorganization under the UN Department for Disarmament Affairs (DDA), operatingas a field representative on the African continent. As a section under the DDA’sRegional Disarmament Branch, the UNREC exercises daily supervisory checks with regardto disarmament efforts in the region as well as provides guidance on policymaking.
In recent years, the lack of effective PSSMmechanisms in the Sahel has posed a dire challenge to peace and security in theregion. Extremist groups and terrorist activities have been on the rise, withmany non-state actors looting from government stockpiles in Libya and Mali,leading a rise in violent conflict and civilian causalities in the region. Owingto the proximity of these countries, the governments of neighbouring stateshave ramped up efforts to limit the trafficking and flows of inter-borderSALWs. Under the framework of the 2001 UN PoA and the 2005 EU Strategy tocombat the illicit accumulation and trade of conventional weaponry and theirammunition, the Council of the EU adopted the decision 2014/912/CFSP, whichdelineated a 36-month project to be implemented by the UNREC in the Sahelregion. Under the designation of the EU and the UNODA, other partners includethe United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), the NGO Mines Advisory Group(MAG), the ISACS Inter-Agency Support Unit and Wilton Park. The PSSM projectalso consults regularly with INTERPOL, the African Union, ECOWAS, and otherrelevant EU and UN entities.1 First introduced in June 2015 as a 36-monthaction plan, the PSSM project is funded by the EU and co-funded by the UNODA,in support of governmental and international efforts to reduce the risk ofillicit trade in SALWs in the Sahel Region on the African continent.
Beneficiarycountries under the PSSM project include Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania,Niger and Nigeria. Working towards the overarching objective of tracing theflow of SALWs and enforcing better legislative and administrative procedures onPSSM, the project promotes regional cooperation and knowledge sharing amongbeneficiary countries to better tackle the excessive accumulation of SALWswithin their borders. Specific objectives include awareness-raising and sensitizationto generate understanding among the governments of beneficiary countries toenhance PSSM procedures, develop up-to-date legislative and administrative PSSMnorms, and support the implementation of logistical activities necessary forinventory management of SALWs. 2 In particular, in collaboration with the nationalauthorities of beneficiary countries, the UNREC as the UN’s regionalrepresentative has worked in close cooperation with other relevant bodies toexamine the legislations and administrative procedures on limiting theproliferation of SALWS. In October 2017, the UNREC together with the ChadNational SALW Focal Point held a series of workshops to validate the relevantSOPs pertaining to PSSM for national implementation.32 months later in December 2017, in conjunction with the Nigerian national authorities,national and international experts in the security field were invited to thereview the PSSM and other relevant issues pertaining to the security of theSahel region, with special emphasis on the domestic situation of Nigeria.
Alsounder the purview of the PSSM were validating and reviewing Standard OperatingProcedures and administrative procedures for arms management based oninternational standards such as the International Small Arms Control Standards(ISACS) and the International Technical Guidelines (IATG). 4 Parallel to the PSSM project, the UNREC has alsobeen an avid supporter of the counter terrorism implementation task force inthe Lake Chad Basin Countries to prevent the acquisition and diversion ofweapons by terrorist groups. Alongside the PSSM project, the Counter TerrorismImplementation Task Force (CTITF) project aims to develop a comprehensive approachto address the issue of illicit arms trade in the Lake Chad Basic region. Fundedby France and Switzerland and developed by the UNODA, the CTITF project aims toprovide technical assistance to support capacity building in the region to helpdomestic governments tackle the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters ridingon the illegal arms trade.
1 https://www.unrec.org/ged/download.php?itemId=38&language=en_GB2 https://www.unrec.org/default/index.php/en/what-we-do/specific-programmes-and-projects/pssm-in-the-sahel33 https://www.unrec.org/default/index.php/en/unrec-updates/411-chad-sop4 https://www.unrec.org/default/index.php/en/unrec-updates/413-unrec-supports-nigeria-in-the-validation-of-standard-operating-procedures-sops-and-administrative-procedures-for-arms-management