The first Conference of State parties to the Central African Convention for the control of small arms and light weapons, their ammunition and all parts and components that can be used for their manufacture, repair and assembly has ended in Yaoundé.
At the end of the meeting, Ministers and delegations from the different participating countries agreed to set up a secretariat that will ensure the implementation of resolutions reached. Cameroon was chosen to head the secretariat for the next two years. It has been placed under the supervision of the Economic Community of Central African States.
The three day conference that was organised on the theme, “Access to small arms and light weapons my armed non state actors: a threat to peace and security in central African States” ended with far reaching resolutions contained in the Yaoundé declaration.
In the 22 points declaration, which is in two parts the signatories and parties to the Kinshasa convention reaffirmed their commitment to the principles of respect for the political independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of member states.
The member stated were all agreed on the urgency to implement the Kinshasa convention in order to curb the flow of weapons which is considered to be at the origin of most armed conflicts and insecurity in the sub region.
To achieve the set goals, all the parties have undertaken without reservation to combat the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in all member states of the Kinshasa Convention through the mobilisation of adequate operational means.
They also undertook to strengthen cooperation, coordination, poling and interoperability of means between member State parties of the Kinshasa convention.
They also expressed their deep concern by the continuing evolution of the design of small arms and light weapons, their production, the technology employed and the challenges that this poses to Africa in implementing the United Nations Programme of Action on Small Arms amongst others. The declaration pointed out that the free circulation of small arms and light weapons feed terrorism and violent extremism, and facilitating gender based violence.
They also requested the Secretary General of the United Nations and the Chairman of the African Union Commission to support efforts to mobilise the resources necessary for the implementation of the declaration.
Cameroon’s Minister of External Relations who chaired the three day Ministerial level meeting indicated that the parties also agreed to provide financial contributions to finance the activities of the secretariat.
The Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Louse Mushikiwabo in an interview after the conference said all parties reaffirmed their commitment to ratify the convention. They also saluted the ideals of peace and security promoted by the government of Cameroon.