The fight against the proliferation of small arms and light weapons is one of the key priorities on the peace and security agenda of West African states. Aware of the fact that the effective control of the illicit circulation of weapons requires competent and accountable security forces, ECOWAS members recognize the necessity to give appropriate training to West African armed and security forces. Indeed, these forces have a major role to play in the fight against the proliferation of small arms and light weapons and this vital function can only be fulfilled if and when they are legally, morally and professionally prepared to do their job.

Jointly published by PCASED, ECOWAS and UNIDIR, the Handbook for the Training of Armed and Security Forces defines a convenient framework from which such training could be conducted.

Drawing its substance from various local experiences with arms control and arms regulation and from the general principles of constitutional, humanitarian and human rights law, the Handbook has been written by locally based West African experts. The final product is a pragmatically framed and user-friendly training tool. Crafted in a simple, clear and sober style, it is intended to contribute to enhancing a deep sense of duty and accountability among the armed and security forces of the region.