Small arms and light weapons (SALW) are a serious threat to the security and development of East Africa. However, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda are tackling the illicit trade in SALW, developing new legislation, defining national objectives, and in some cases implementing action plans and coordinating with the Regional Center on Small Arms and Light Weapons and the East Africa Community. Yet due to the lack of capacity and the extent of the SALW problem in the subregion, international assistance in implementing SALW programmes is necessary. Most SALW assistance received between 2001 and 2005 went toward disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programmes; only 5% of assistance was used to implement other SALW projects, primarily in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Each of the five states presented in this case study are at different levels of implementation and have different capacities available to implement the UN Programme of Action on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons.

By early 2008, the states will have passed revised policies and legislation on SALW, and thus assistance in awareness-raising on, training in and enforcement of the policies and legislation will be key. Strengthening the capacity of the National Focal Points is a particular priority for Burundi and Rwanda, and improving the capacity and resources available along borders and at border entry points, record-keeping, stockpile security and management, and marking of arms are among the top needs consistently identified by states in the subregion. In addition to presenting the results of the case study on international assistance in East Africa, this report includes some general policy recommendations for improving resource mobilization. Individual profiles of each state, outlining SALW action and needs for assistance, are presented at end of the report.

This case study was conducted as part of UNIDIR's work on "International Assistance for Implementing the Programme of Action on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons", which aims to develop a mechanism that will help states identify the types of assistance they require to implement the PoA, and make that information available to potential assistance providers.

Citation: Kerry Maze and Hyunjoo Rhee (2007). "International Assistance for Implementing the UNPoA on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects: Case Study of East Africa", UNIDIR, Geneva.