21 November 2023
On this weblog, our companions clarify how a groundbreaking, three-way arms management initiative between Africa, China and the European Union has improved cooperation between civil society, academia and governments to sort out illicit arms flows into African nations.
Unlawful flows of arms and ammunition into and inside Africa gasoline crime and civil conflicts, undermine sustainable improvement, and allow violent teams to assault governments and communities. Concerted motion to stop and fight the illicit arms commerce – significantly from Africa and the EU in addition to China – is important to the success of tackling these points.
In 2019, Saferworld and companions began a three-year venture – funded by the European Union (EU) – to advertise three-way dialogue and cooperation between civil society, academia and governments in Africa, China and the EU (ACE) on stopping the illicit commerce and diversion of arms. We established a world Professional Working Group to facilitate engagement amongst decision-makers and coverage specialists and develop methods and coverage suggestions. The skilled group carried out three case research, produced six substantive coverage and analysis reviews offering complete insights into quite a lot of contexts, and held quite a few coverage dialogues to advocate for sensible and constructive tri-lateral cooperation. This work contributed to joint advances on small arms controls, for instance within the newest Discussion board on China-Africa Cooperation’s Dakar Motion Plan and in China’s current World Safety Initiative.
Challenge companions and arms management specialists Singo, Kuyang and Li Peng share their reflections under.
Singo Mwachofi, Deputy Director on the Safety Analysis and Data Centre (SRIC) – an impartial, non-profit assume tank that gives info on human safety and safety sector dynamics in Kenya and the Horn of Africa:
“Africa continues to undergo from the destructive results of small arms and lightweight weapons proliferation. In the course of the venture, South Sudan, Burkina Faso, Libya, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo have been all embroiled in lethal conflicts fueled by small arms. Participating China on small arms and lightweight weapons management points is one helpful method ahead in preventing insecurity within the continent, provided that China is more and more turning into a really vital actor in Africa.
The analysis papers produced below the venture, a few of which I helped to jot down, stand out as necessary achievements. I’m additionally proud that we have been in a position to share our work by way of shows at a facet occasion in the course of the UN small arms Programme of Motion Biennial Assembly of States in New York in July 2022, in addition to at a briefing to the EU in Brussels. If we had extra time sooner or later, the involvement of regional financial communities and regional mechanisms for peace and safety (such because the Financial Group of West African States, the East African Group and the Worldwide Convention on the Nice Lakes Area) would assist construct much-needed synergy and networks vital to small arms and lightweight weapons management, provided that China is keenly interested by working with these organisations.
My hope is that donors will proceed to help small arms management initiatives. I hope that China and different rising powers with pursuits in Africa can prioritise peace and safety programmes, as a result of with out peace, safety and stability within the continent, their financial and social investments is not going to thrive. Small arms and lightweight weapons management is central to the hunt for stability in Africa.
I might additionally wish to see extra funding go to analysis on totally different views, together with on the hyperlinks between small arms and transnational crime, the gender dimensions of small arms and lightweight weapons, in addition to extensively disseminating analysis findings to assist form coverage discourses in China, Africa and Europe. Small arms and lightweight weapons play a task in gender-based violence and practices, similar to feminine genital mutilation, rape and home violence. We have to do extra work on these points and discover options. We additionally want to raised perceive the gendered dimensions of arms: in lots of pastoralist counties, that are patriarchal, ladies by no means used to hold weapons. However these days, in some communities you see ladies herding cattle whereas carrying rifles. Gender roles are altering and we have to attempt to perceive the influence and dynamics of this.
“Small arms and lightweight weapons play a task in gender-based violence and practices…We have to do extra work on these points and discover options.” Singo Mwachofi
We additionally must prioritise mitigating the consequences of local weather change, as increasingly we’re seeing hyperlinks between the proliferation of small arms and lightweight weapons and resource-based conflicts. With more and more lengthy durations of drought, communities transfer from one place to the opposite searching for pasture and water, and preventing breaks out over these assets. Clans purchase weapons to guard their communities and to get extra assets. We additionally see a variety of battle between pastoralists and ranchers. Ranchers personal large, fenced-off areas of land; throughout droughts, pastoralists break these fences down and graze their cattle by power. That is all being made worse by local weather change.”
Li Peng, Deputy Secretary Normal on the China Arms Management and Disarmament Affiliation (CACDA) – a non-profit NGO that focuses on arms management, disarmament and non-proliferation:
“As President Xi of China highlighted within the cooperation plan with African nations, the difficulty of small arms and lightweight weapons is a vital space of safety cooperation. I believe the ACE venture was a win-win answer for each China and African nations. The safety of African nations advantages the safety of the entire world. In the course of the venture, the specialists reached many agreements on the right way to sort out small arms points, such because the significance of marking and tracing arms and ammunition. Sadly, as a result of restrictions of COVID-19, we didn’t have the chance to go to a few of the focus nations affected by small arms and lightweight weapons challenges – however this might be solved in a future venture.
Subsequent steps can be to organise regional workshops involving specialists from all over the world, to collectively work out systematic options to small arms and lightweight weapons proliferation in Africa. We need to work along with Saferworld and our African companions and specialists to start out pilot tasks on tracing and marking applied sciences, as mentioned in the course of the venture, to assist scale back the proliferation of arms and to help organisations of their marking and record-keeping initiatives. We have to contain industries, particularly these with relevant and modern technical experience, in sensible cooperation.
One other urgent matter is the implication of rising applied sciences on small arms and lightweight weapons and their rules, and the growing deployment of automated weapons techniques in battle. I see a variety of potential in persevering with our joint work, however we have to take step one as quickly as attainable, in any other case we’re operating the chance of shedding the political momentum and never with the ability to contribute to coverage frameworks (such because the Discussion board on China-Africa Cooperation) or China-EU cooperation in a significant method.”
Dr Kuyang Harriet Brand Mulukwat, who joined the ACE Professional Working Group in 2021 to help work on small arms and lightweight weapons proliferation in South Sudan:
“In 2011 South Sudan gained independence after 40 years of intermittent civil struggle. Whereas the aspirations of a brand new state have been achieved on 9 July 2011, post-conflict transformation, safety sector reform, and disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration didn’t take off as anticipated. So, by the point I joined the Professional Working Group, small arms and lightweight weapons have been simply noticed within the palms of civilians in all of South Sudan’s ten states; possession of small arms was not regulated, and small arms have been bought in markets, throughout porous borders and by males in uniform.
Different nations represented within the skilled group have been a couple of steps forward of South Sudan in coping with small arms points. The shows made by different specialists allowed me to notice processes undertaken in different nations, like South Africa and China, and to attract classes for South Sudan. Professional exchanges within the boards allowed me to work alongside others, and to border related analysis questions. The South Sudan analysis paper, which affords suggestions for the right way to deal with small arms and lightweight weapons proliferation within the nation, was enriched by inputs from different skilled members. My time as an skilled was helpful and thrilling, and the venture offered a chance for studying and sharing of data.”
Learn extra in regards to the ACE venture right here.
Extra info on Saferworld’s work on efficient arms management may be discovered right here.
Picture: Communities that have been beforehand concerned in inter-ethnic battle participate in actions organised as a part of a MONUSCO demobilisation and reintegration programme within the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Flickr/MONUSCO Pictures