Since 2011 UNODC, through the Global Firearms Programme, has been working with countries in West Africa and in the Sahel to improve skills on the ground and contribute to preventing firearms trafficking. In this context, for the third consecutive year, UNODC organized a regional training of trainers aiming at providing practical skills to practitioners. The regional training was followed by a regional meeting to exchange best practices in the conduction of operations against firearms trafficking in the region. Both activities took place from 20 to 24 September 2021 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
The initiative was supported by the National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) of Cote d’Ivoire and by the G5 Sahel, and counted with over 50 participants from seven countries, namely: Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal. The regional training -over a three day period between 20 and 22 September- focused on practical topics that are transferable to front line officials including: firearms identification and tracing; detection of firearms trafficking; launch of firearms investigations; intelligence analysis; inter alia. During the last quarter of 2021, UNODC will replicate trainings on these topics at the national level in these countries and in Guinea.
From 23 to 24 September, the regional meeting focused on the sharing of best practices and discussion on practical ways to improve international cooperation in the region to fight illicit firearms trafficking and related crime, including terrorism.
During the opening ceremony of the two events, the President of the National Commission on SALW of Cote d’Ivoire, Commissioner Léon Djokouehi, welcomed the focus on training of trainers that can be replicated at the national level, highlighting the importance of national ownership and institutionalizing this kind of technical capacity building activities. On behalf of donor countries, the Deputy Chief of Mission of the German Embassy, Marton Koever, emphasized equally the relevance of national ownership to make these initiatives sustainable. He also stressed the need of taking into account as well not only firearms and its components, but also ammunition.
These activities were made possible with the contributions of the Governments of France, Germany and Italy.