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30.05.2012 Africa

EAC NATIONAL FOCAL POINTS EVALUATE SMALL ARMS AND LIGHT WEAPONS SIX-YEAR PROJECT

By East African Community (EAC)
EAC NATIONAL FOCAL POINTS EVALUATE SMALL ARMS AND LIGHT WEAPONS SIX-YEAR PROJECTEAC NATIONAL FOCAL POINTS EVALUATE SMALL ARMS AND LIGHT WEAPONS SIX-YEAR PROJECT
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ARUSHA, Tanzania, May 30, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- East African Community (EAC) Partner States' Heads of National Focal Points (NFPs) on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALWs) yesterday began a three-day meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, to evaluate impact of the six-year SALW/GIZ project which winds up on 31 December 2012.

The project was initiated by the EAC Secretariat in collaboration with the German International Development Agency (GIZ) to address proliferation of small arms, considered among key source of crimes and insecurity in the East African countries.

The project has focused on marking of arms, raising awareness on dangers of small arms and light weapons and capacity building on stockpile management (marking, registration and storage).

Other areas are: harmonization of SALW legislations, national planning processes and gender mainstreaming, enhancing regional civil society organizations (CSOs) participation and training in arms tracing.

The evaluation is being carried by external consultants commissioned by GIZ. The chairman of meeting David Kimaiyo lauded the EAC Secretariat and the GIZ for initiating the SALW project.

"The SALWs project has had a very positive impact in controlling the proliferation of arms," Kimaiyo stated in his opening address, who is also the Director of Kenya National Focal Point on SALW.

Leonard Onyonyi, EAC Peace and Security Expert, said that the review was to assess achievements and challenges of the SALW project.

"This comprehensive appraisal will help the EAC Partner States and Development Partners to come out with a clear picture of achievements of SALW project," he said in a statement he read on behalf of the EAC Deputy Secretary General in Charge of Political Federation, Dr Julius Rotich.

"GIZ is very much committed to supporting peace and security initiatives in the EAC region," assured GIZ SALW Advisor Martin Ogango, who is representing the GIZ Manager for Peace and Security Miriam Heidtmann at the session.

The meeting is attended by representatives of Regional Centre on Small Arms (RECSA), Eastern Africa Action Network on Small Arms (EAANSA) and Eastern Africa Sub-regional Support Initiative (EASSI) who are regional partners of the SALW project.

The EAC Strategy for Peace and Security enhances the spirit of cooperation in regional peace and security, which brings into reality the collective responsibility in provision of security by the Partner States.

It covers collaboration on cross border crimes, automobile theft, drug trafficking, terrorism, money laundering and other crimes.

Goal number 12 of the Strategy specifically focuses on establishment of measures to combat illicit proliferation of SALWs.

The Goal draws its mandate and objectives from the Nairobi Protocol for the Prevention, Control and Reduction of SALWs in the Great Lakes Region, the Horn of Africa and bordering states; the Bamako Declaration on an African Common Position on the Illicit Proliferation, Circulation and Trafficking of SALWs and the United Nations Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in SALWs.

The meeting will be followed by one for EAC Partner States Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) experts. It aims to strategize and reach a common position ahead of the UN Conference on the Arms Treaty due in New York in July this year.

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