Armed violence is a complex phenomenon, whose motivations vary according to the context and in which the use of weapons is a constant element. In recent years, West Africa has witnessed the evolution of local and transnational conflicts, which have multiplied through the creation of armed groups, particularly violent extremist groups, and their expansion from central Sahel towards coastal States. The presence and proliferation of conventional weapons and ammunition facilitate this trend. However, the link between the prevention of violent extremism (PVE) and weapons management has been considered only to a limited extent in practice until now by those involved in building peace.
With the objective of enhancing a joint and sustainable approach to PVE and the management of conventional weapons, UNIDIR, in cooperation with the Peace and Human Rights Division of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC), is organizing a fully in-person “regional seminar on PVE and the management of conventional weapons in West Africa”.
The main objective of the regional seminar is to strengthen the contribution of conventional weapons management to PVE efforts in West Africa. To this end, the seminar will aim to:
- Create a framework for exchanges on the interlinked issues of PVE and the management of conventional weapons to take stock of the normative and political frameworks, structures and practices that exist at national, regional and international level.
- Promote ownership of the PVE concept and initiate a change in the approach to the management of conventional weapons, taking better account of the motivations that fuel the demand for weapons.
- Identify opportunities, good practices and areas for further development with a view to making practical recommendations to consolidate national and regional frameworks for conventional weapons management and PVE.
- Foster the sharing of experience between the prevention and disarmament communities with a view to consolidating this field of work at the national and regional levels, and to contribute to the emergence of an interdisciplinary community of practice.
WHEN & WHERE
5-7 December 2023 | Lomé, Togo
The seminar will bring together around 60 participants from the 15 States of the ECOWAS region, in particular government officials responsible for PVE and weapons management, elected representatives, representatives of ECOWAS, the African Union and the United Nations, as well as representatives of civil society and research.
The seminar will be held in French and English with simultaneous interpretation.