RECSA partnership with the media to commemorate 22 years of the Nairobi Declaration on the Problem of the proliferation of illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lakes Region and Horn of Africa

Proliferation and trafficking of Small Arms and Lights Weapons (SALW) has had devastating consequences that have led to; armed conflict, crime, environmental degradation, fuelling the illegal exploitation of natural resources, poaching and abetting terrorism and other trans-national organised crimes in the region.

 

Premised on the above, on 15 March 2000, the representatives and delegates of Member States in the Great Lakes Region, Horn of Africa and Bordering States held a conference in Nairobi to discuss the problem of the proliferation of illicit Small Arms and Lights Weapons (SALW).  This culminated in the signing of the Nairobi Declaration on the Problem of the proliferation of illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lakes Region, Horn of Africa and Bordering States with the objective of tackling the issues of illicit SALW in the region.  This was widely seen as the first political declaration in the region on the management and control of SALW.

 

The Nairobi Declaration paved way for the signing of the legally binding instrument; Nairobi Protocol for the Prevention, Control and Reduction of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa in 2004.  Subsequently a regional intergovernmental institution (RECSA) was established in 2005 as a mechanism to coordinate the implementation of Nairobi Declaration and Nairobi Protocol.

 

The Regional Centre on Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lakes Region, the Horn of Africa and Bordering States (RECSA) is an intergovernmental body that is mandated to coordinate and monitor the implementation of the Nairobi Protocol for the Prevention, Control and Reduction of Small Arms and Light Weapons.  It has legal personality and enjoys diplomatic status by virtue of the Host Agreement entered into with the Republic of Kenya. The principal objective of RECSA is ensuring the efficient and effective implementation of the Nairobi Protocol, and the Nairobi Declaration as per Article 8 of the Agreement establishing RECSA. It is internationally recognized as an organization in Africa, whose sole mandate is to address the proliferation of illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and build capacity of National Institutions responsible for SALW management and control. 

 

RECSA has a current membership of 15 States who are signatory to the Nairobi Protocol, namely: The Republic of Burundi,  Central Africa Republic, Republic of Congo, The Democratic Republic of Congo, The Republic of Djibouti, The State of Eritrea, The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia,  The Republic of Kenya, The Republic of Rwanda, The Republic of Seychelles, The Republic of Somalia, The Republic of South Sudan, The Republic of Sudan, The United Republic of Tanzania and The Republic of Uganda.

 

The organs of RECSA comprise; the Council of Ministers (COM), Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and the Secretariat.

 

Implementation of the objectives of the Nairobi Declaration has led to the realisation that management and control of SALW contributes to the attainment of durable and sustainable development.  This has generated a new sense of urgency and seriousness in building concerted efforts in integrating the UN Agenda for Sustainable Development 2030 Target 16.4 and AU agenda on Silencing the Guns in Africa Initiative by 2030 in SALW interventions.

 

The Regional Centre on Small and Light Weapons (RECSA) with funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB) engaged with media, representatives of; RECSA Member States, development partners; EAC; representatives of; Ministries of; Foreign Affairs, and Internal Security and Coordination of National Government; and Kenya National Focal Point on SALW and to commemorate 22 years of the Nairobi Declaration on 21 March 2022 with the objective to take stock of the successes to date in the implementation of the two instruments, identify gaps and propose a way forward.

 

RECSA Secretariat signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the East African Community.  The MoU was signed by the RECSA Executive Secretary and the Secretary General of EAC in the presence of the media, ambassadors hosted in Nairobi representing RECSA Member States, representatives of the Ministries of; Foreign Affairs and Internal Security and Coordination of National Government.

 

The President of Kenya Editors Guild and RECSA Executive Secretary agreed to meet to discuss further on establishing a network to facilitate closer partnership with media.

 

The event provided a critical step of building different partnerships and actions in SALW management and control contributing to durable peace for sustainable development in the RECSA region.