Small Arms National Technical Committee reviews first semester implementation

Oct 22, 2015

Technical Committee Representatives at the Review Meeting held in Monrovia

The National Technical Committee under the ECOWAS-EU Small Arms Project has been reviewing its first semester implementation over a period of six months.

The Committee is comprised of major development Partners and key Stakeholders including the European Union (EU), ECOWAS, UNDP, the Liberian National Commission on Small Arms (LiNSCA), the Ministries of Justice, Defense and Internal Affairs, the Senate Standing Committee on Defense, key security apparatus as well as civil society groupings and the Press Union of Liberia (PUL).

In the wake of the passage of the Firearms Act of Liberia by the Senate, Representatives of the Arms for Development Project Technical Committee have stressed the importance of and urgency associated with the implementation of the Arms Control Act amidst plans by the UN Mission in Liberia to draw down.

During the working session, Commissioner Benoni Knuckles of LiNSCA intimated that the implementation of the Act must be transparent, participatory with Liberians taking ownership of the process of Arms for Development. “Government must put value on such initiative and help make it a reality” says Knuckles.

ECOWAS Ambassador Babatunde Ajisono applauded government’s determination to pass the Act adding that “Liberia now has a legal document to punish those illegally carrying arms”. Ambassador Ajisono stressed the need for partners to work together in strengthening the capacity of LiNSCA to assume major responsibilities in the implementation of the Firearms Act.

At the same time, UNDP Team Leader for Governance Nessie Gould has pledged continuous support on behalf of the UN Agency in building capacities of key stakeholders involved in the EU Funded Arms for Development project which it manages. Ms. Gould mentioned that UNDP will work in close collaboration with other partners under its Justice and Security Programme as well as the Japanese funded project, to build and develop synergies with the Arms for Development Project.

On her part, Emma Sundbiad of the European Union said Effective control of small arms and light weapons is one of the major prerequisites to lasting peace and sustainable development. Ms. Sundbiad noted that where there are small arms and light weapons, the people and the communities usually suffer the greater consequences.

“The ECOWAS-EU Small Arms Project is in response to this menace and an integral component of the European Union (EU) support to ECOWAS”

She stated that the EU funding to the project covers seven countries including Liberia.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Liberia Commission on Small Arms James Fromayan says over the period, the Commission has been engaging communities within the 3 selected counties-Rivergee, Grand Gedeh and Maryland where the project is expected to be implemented. He expressed the hope that residents will cooperate.

Chairnman Fromayan recognized and lauded efforts by the Senate Standing Committee headed by Senator Steve Zargo for leading the passage of the Firearms Control Act. He underscored the fact that with the passage of the act, the Commission’s capacity will need to be built to prepare fully for the implementation and regulation of the Act.

Providing an overview of implementation of activities under the project, ECOWAS Arms for Development Cluster Coordinator for Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, Lacina Barro reported that palaver hut discussions have taken place in six selected communities in Rivergee, Grand Gedeh and Maryland with local administrators, civil society, women and youth groups etc.

The project has also conducted trainings for staff of LiNSCA, civil society groups and security institutions in preparation for the collection of small arms.

Contact

Lacina Barro- ECOWAS Small Arms Cluster Coordinator/ E-mail lacina.barro@undp.org TEL: +231- 8860017856

Augusta Pshorr –Communications Analyst E-mail: augusta.pshorr@undp.org Tel: +231-770-003-819/886-521-425

Sam Zota –National UNV Communications Associate Email: zotasam@gmail.com Tel: +231-886-474-563/770175162

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