The Pan-African Parliament, in collaboration with the Parliamentary Forum on Small Arms and Light Weapons will host the regional seminar “Connecting the dots: Supporting 2030 Agenda, the Arms Trade Treaty and the United Nations Programme of Action on Small Arms implementation through increased parliamentary engagement and action in international processes” on March 2-3 2018 at the PAP Headquarters in Midrand. The workshop will take place on the sidelines of the March sittings of the Permanent Committees of the PAP.
The seminar seeks to increase parliamentary engagement, understanding and ownership of regional and international arms control instruments. It will also focus on identifying synergy effects in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, the Arms Trade Treaty, the United Nations Programme to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) in All Its Aspects (UNPoA), as well as the African Union legal and policy instruments on the control of illicit proliferation, circulation and trafficking of SALW.
PAP President, Hon. Roger Nkodo Dang says a solution to this problematic issue of illicit proliferation, circulation and trafficking of SALW that is haunting and destabilising the African continent is not far-fetched if member states move to ratify the Malabo Protocol. “Without full legislative powers, it will be challenging to effectively harmonise and coordinate national and regional efforts and legislations for silencing the guns in Africa by 2020, as envisaged in the Agenda 2063 First Ten Year Implementation Plan. I wish to call on our National and regional Parliaments to facilitate and oversee the implementation of regional and international instruments on SALW, a sine qua non condition for achieving sustainable peace, security and development for all of our people. As a continental Parliament, the PAP needs a strengthened mandate in order to effectively facilitate and provide a platform for continuous parliamentary action and engagement on the risks posed by SALW,” says Hon. Nkodo Dang.
Karin Olofsson, Secretary General of the Parliamentary Forum on Small Arms and Light Weapons says violence and prolonged conflicts in several African countries are fuelled by the availability and misuse of illicit small arms and light weapons (SALW).
“Illicit arms flows negatively affect sustainable development and pose a threat to human security and sustainable peace. Effective steps to tackle the uncontrolled proliferation of SALW are crucial to prevent and reduce armed violence, hence the need to empower law-makers to reinforce their legislative, oversight and awareness-raising functions for national implementation of international arms control frameworks. Parliamentarians play a vital role in armed violence prevention and reduction,” says Olofsson.
Members of Parliaments from Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe will join Committee members of the Pan- African Parliament, representatives of the diplomatic community and civil society in this two-day seminar. Key parliamentary priorities and recommendations will be condensed into a regional Parliamentary Action Plan, as part of preparation for the upcoming UNPoA Third Revision Conference to be held in New York in June 2018.