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Nairobi Protocol on Small Arms and Light Wepons

Regional Centre on Small Arms and Light Weapons
(RECSA)
Background
The Regional Centre on Small Arms assists the Member States of the Nairobi Declaration on the Problem of Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa, which was signed on 15th March 2000 by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and/or Representatives of the Governments of Burundi, DRC, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. The Member States, with the addition of the Seychelles, then agreed the Nairobi Protocol for the Prevention, Control and Reduction of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lakes Region, the Horn of Africa and Bordering States on 21st April 2004, which entered into force on 5 May 2006 as a legally binding instrument. The Protocol requires certain national legislative measures, the strengthening of operational capacity and sufficient measures to control SALW both state-owned and in civilian possession. Other provisions cover tracing, safe disposal, transfer of SALW and brokering. The Member States agree to cooperate in terms of mutual legal assistance, law enforcement and transparency, information exchange and harmonization. Somalia joined as the twelfth Member State in 2005.

RECSA is an inter-governmental legal entity with an international juridical personality. The centre works with National Focal Points in an effort to fulfill the major objectives of the Nairobi initiative: reducing the proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons which contributes to prolonged conflicts, political instability and violent crime, pursuing peaceful resolutions to conflicts in the region and improving regulation of the possession and transfer of small arms to promote human security. RECSA has highlighted several areas as key to the successful implementation of the Declaration: coordinated national inter-agency action, police and law enforcement capacity building, the development of partnerships between governments, civil society and donor agencies and the raising of public awareness on the problem of small arms proliferation. RECSA has been assisting Member States on the development of National Action Plans on small arms.

RECSA directed the development of the Best Practice Guidelines for the Implementation of the Nairobi Declaration and the Nairobi Protocol on SALW, approved by the Third Ministerial Review Conference in June 2005. The guide sets out general operational guidelines and procedures on all aspects of small arms and light weapons, to contribute to the development of policy and the review of national legislation. It builds on the principles elaborated in relevant international and regional instruments on small arms and light weapons, the Nairobi Declaration and the Nairobi Protocol and the work done in 5 Best Practice workshops held by the Member States and the Nairobi Secretariat (RECSA). The key issues covered are stockpile management, import, export and transfer, tracing and brokering, public awareness raising, collection, disposal and destruction and mutual legal assistance and operational capacity. These guidelines have been considered, by members of the international community, as comprehensive and as going beyond the measures to strengthen the implementation process of the UN Programme of Action.

RECSA organizes a wide range of projects and events to effect the provisions of the Nairobi Protocol and Best Practice Guidelines. Some examples are:
   
A seminar on small arms and light weapons brokering attended by Member States in Kigali, Rwanda from 6 to 7 July 2009. The seminar facilitated the information exchange between participating States on matters of regional cooperation, joint operations and legislative measures for the control of trade in arms.
An ongoing arms marking exercise through which electronic marking machines donated to Member States in support of the implementation of the International Tracing Instrument. RECSA has facilitated in-country training of trainers workshops in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda to train selected officials on the use of the marking machines and to review existing best practice guidelines on the marking of weapons.
Arms destruction exercises (through cutting), such as the destruction of over 16,000 small arms in Rwanda in 2009.
Support for the organization of an East Africa Regional Seminar on physical security and stockpile management in Nairobi, Kenya, from 8 to 11 December 2008
The development of a training curriculum and manual for law enforcement agencies, civil society and senior management.
A workshop in Kenya during December 2005 for members of Parliaments from the sub-region to discuss their important role on public awareness, oversight and technical input while enacting national legislations on firearms.
Close cooperation with regional and international civil society organizations involved in the fight against the proliferation of illicit small arms through dialogue forums and collaborative workshops.
Joint research with the Institute of Security Studies into the proliferation and management of small arms, ammunition and man-portable air-defence systems, and into armed violence reduction and human security, including cattle rustling.
At the inaugural meeting of the Steering Committee of the African Union and Regional Bodies on small arms and light weapons held in Arusha, Tanzania, from 24 to 26 November 2008, RECSA was nominated to function as the secretariat for the Steering Committee. The meeting, inter alia, adopted a roadmap for the development of a continental small arms and light weapons strategy for Africa.
 
BMS4 Statement, 2010
Marking and Tracing: A Critical Link in Combating the Proliferation of Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons
 
Nairobi Protocol for the Prevention, Control and Reduction of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa
 
Best Practice Guidelines for the Implementation of the Nairobi Declaration and the Nairobi Protocol on SALW
 
 
RECSA main page
 
 
Member countries:
Burundi
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Djibouti
Eritrea
Ethiopia
Kenya
Rwanda
Seychelles
Somalia
Sudan
Uganda
Tanzania, United Republic of