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From a regional perspective, the United
Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC) is an
organization under the UN Department for Disarmament Affairs (DDA), operating
as a field representative on the African continent. As a section under the DDA’s
Regional Disarmament Branch, the UNREC exercises daily supervisory checks with regard
to disarmament efforts in the region as well as provides guidance on policymaking.

 

In recent years, the lack of effective PSSM
mechanisms in the Sahel has posed a dire challenge to peace and security in the
region. Extremist groups and terrorist activities have been on the rise, with
many non-state actors looting from government stockpiles in Libya and Mali,
leading a rise in violent conflict and civilian causalities in the region. Owing
to the proximity of these countries, the governments of neighbouring states
have ramped up efforts to limit the trafficking and flows of inter-border
SALWs. Under the framework of the 2001 UN PoA and the 2005 EU Strategy to
combat the illicit accumulation and trade of conventional weaponry and their
ammunition, the Council of the EU adopted the decision 2014/912/CFSP, which
delineated a 36-month project to be implemented by the UNREC in the Sahel
region. Under the designation of the EU and the UNODA, other partners include
the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), the NGO Mines Advisory Group
(MAG), the ISACS Inter-Agency Support Unit and Wilton Park. The PSSM project
also consults regularly with INTERPOL, the African Union, ECOWAS, and other
relevant EU and UN entities.1

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First introduced in June 2015 as a 36-month
action 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 of
illicit trade in SALWs in the Sahel Region on the African continent. Beneficiary
countries under the PSSM project include Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania,
Niger and Nigeria. Working towards the overarching objective of tracing the
flow of SALWs and enforcing better legislative and administrative procedures on
PSSM, the project promotes regional cooperation and knowledge sharing among
beneficiary countries to better tackle the excessive accumulation of SALWs
within their borders. Specific objectives include awareness-raising and sensitization
to generate understanding among the governments of beneficiary countries to
enhance PSSM procedures, develop up-to-date legislative and administrative PSSM
norms, and support the implementation of logistical activities necessary for
inventory management of SALWs. 2

 

In particular, in collaboration with the national
authorities of beneficiary countries, the UNREC as the UN’s regional
representative has worked in close cooperation with other relevant bodies to
examine the legislations and administrative procedures on limiting the
proliferation of SALWS. In October 2017, the UNREC together with the Chad
National SALW Focal Point held a series of workshops to validate the relevant
SOPs pertaining to PSSM for national implementation.3
2 months later in December 2017, in conjunction with the Nigerian national authorities,
national and international experts in the security field were invited to the
review the PSSM and other relevant issues pertaining to the security of the
Sahel region, with special emphasis on the domestic situation of Nigeria. Also
under the purview of the PSSM were validating and reviewing Standard Operating
Procedures and administrative procedures for arms management based on
international 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 also
been an avid supporter of the counter terrorism implementation task force in
the Lake Chad Basin Countries to prevent the acquisition and diversion of
weapons by terrorist groups. Alongside the PSSM project, the Counter Terrorism
Implementation Task Force (CTITF) project aims to develop a comprehensive approach
to address the issue of illicit arms trade in the Lake Chad Basic region. Funded
by France and Switzerland and developed by the UNODA, the CTITF project aims to
provide technical assistance to support capacity building in the region to help
domestic governments tackle the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters riding
on the illegal arms trade.

1 https://www.unrec.org/ged/download.php?itemId=38&language=en_GB

2 https://www.unrec.org/default/index.php/en/what-we-do/specific-programmes-and-projects/pssm-in-the-sahel

33 https://www.unrec.org/default/index.php/en/unrec-updates/411-chad-sop

4 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

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