Online training on investigating & prosecuting firearms trafficking in Central and West Africa

06-08-2020

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, the Global Firearms Programme (GFP) of the UNODC has been focusing its efforts on adapting to the current reality without losing sight of its mandate of working directly with Member States to fight illicit firearms trafficking.

From 28th to 30th July 2020, GFP held an online webinar on the investigation and prosecution of firearms trafficking and related offenses aimed at practitioners in Central and West African countries.

During the first few weeks of the crisis, which saw worldwide travel disruptions leading to the postponement of some in-person workshop scheduled in the first semester of 2020, GFP experts adapted its training material to meet the requirements of an online setting, and particularly in a context with limited internet connectivity. 

During the opening ceremony, Simonetta Grassi, Head of the GFP, highlighted the importance of continuing efforts to fight illicit firearms trafficking in spite of the pandemic, and the need to avoid the exploitation of the crisis by criminals and traffickers.

 

More than thirty practitioners from ten different countries such as Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroun, Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Mali, Niger, and Senegal, took part.

The participants, in a letter sent to UNODC, underlined the importance of this type of training in the current context and the need of some Member States for further support to fight firearms trafficking.

The workshop focused on subjects such as the dimensions of the firearms problem; the legal framework of firearms control; identification, marking, registration and tracing of illicit firearms; trafficking-specific investigations and international cooperation. The activity also counted on the support and expertise of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC), the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and the World Customs Organization.

The GFP has also been stepping up its work to better respond to its mandate during the current situation by providing key partners with equipment and improving internet connectivity so that activities can be carried out online; adapting its entire curriculum and training material to online eLearning environments, as well as supporting efforts to digitalize firearms registries.

 

This activity was made possible with the support of Germany and the European Union.