The ECOWAS Commission, in collaboration with the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Affairs (UNIDIR), is organizing the Regional Disarmament Seminar 2023, from 19 to 21 September 2023 in Accra, Ghana.
This annual seminar aims to convene subject matter experts to deliberate on developments in the field of disarmament and arms control with a focus on gender. The event also seeks to enhance member states' awareness of their obligations to disarmament instruments.
The seminar will serve as a platform for Member States to exchange ideas and share best practices, ultimately bridging gaps in understanding and promoting a culture of disarmament, gender main-streaming, non-proliferation, and arms control throughout the ECOWAS region. Additionally, the seminar aims to establish permanent focal persons who will track the successes achieved in this domain and contribute to sustained progress.
The annual seminar series will also generate a wide spectrum of discussions dwelling on diverse thematic issues, with experts’ analysis in panel sessions, drawn globally to address the key issues.
The following issues, obligations and commitments are to be on the discussion table:
a) Weapons of Mass Destruction; b) Gender Mainstreaming in Conventional Arms; c) The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC); d) Conventional arms; e) Small arms and light weapons.
The results of the annual seminar will deepen the assessments of regional arms control, disarmament and weapons non-proliferation regimes, based on annual priorities and in relation to the issues of gender.
In his opening speech, Mr. Samuel William Yeboah, Executive Secretary of Ghana National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons, highlighted the importance of this regional meeting and recalled Ghana's continued efforts in the fight against the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.
Mr. Roben Geiss, Director of UNIDIR, thanked ECOWAS for this collaboration and encouraged participants to contribute to the success of the meeting and to continue actions to combat illicit trafficking and diversion of weapons and their correlation with gender-based violence in Member States.
Mr. Joseph Ahoba, on behalf of Ambassador Abdel Fatau Mussa, Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, recalled the importance of this seminar which will address national and regional issues and initiatives, including plans of action aimed at bridging the gap between gender-related small arms control and small arms (SALW).
Representing the Minister of Interior of Ghana, Ms. Adelaide Anno-Kumi, Chief Director of the Ministry of Internal Control and Disarmament, acknowledged that the proliferation of conventional weapons persists despite recent efforts and initiatives by States and regional organizations. She therefore encouraged Member States to continue the necessary efforts to stem this scourge which constitutes a subject of primary concern in West Africa.
At the end of these 3 days of collaborative exchange, a report will be published by the participants for its future adoption by the ECOWAS management.