Small arms control in West Africa (MISAC)
This report is an overview of illicit small arms and light weapons (SALW) proliferation in West Africa, focusing on the implementation of sub-regional control instruments.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Moratorium on the Importation, Exportation and Manufacture of Small Arms and Light Weapons in West Africa (ECOWAS Moratorium) stands out as the main platform on which arms control in the sub-region is based.
The study found that the implementation of the Moratorium has been more evolutionary than revolutionary, though the 2001 UN Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (UN Small Arms Conference) has given added impetus to the campaign against small arms proliferation. However, implementation has been uneven, with some states demonstrating genuine will, while others routinely disregard the provisions of the control instruments that they have signed.
Both the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects and the ECOWAS Moratorium are little known among the population of West Africa, which weakens their potential impact. Therefore, civil society has become a major actor in the fight against SALW proliferation, increasingly raising awareness of these instruments. This is evidenced by the creation of the West African Action Network on Small Arms in May 2002, and the evolution of the Dakar Process, which has seen civil society push for the adoption of a Draft Supplementary Protocol.
Volume 2 (available in English only) looks specifically at small arms control in Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal.