A 3-day Regional Seminar on Gender Perspectives on Arms Control and Disarmament for member states of the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) opened in Accra.

Addressing the seminar, the Chief Director of the Ministry of the Interior, Mrs. Adelaide Anno-Kumi called on member states of ECOWAS to reinforce the national capacity for monitoring and controlling border areas effectively with the supplies of adequate equipment to respond to the needs of communities along the borders.

According to her, the illicit circulation of conventional arms remains an issue in many African regions and poses a serious threat to the security of the populations, institutional capacity and adherence to the rule of law, and national, regional, and international peace and development.

The Chief Director emphasized that conventional arms proliferation that has emerged in West Africa should be viewed as one dimension of a multifaceted phenomenon such as criminality, competition over resources, intra-community tensions and violence, and resulting in underdevelopment, poverty, and political instability.

Mrs. Anno-Kumi asked member states to take appropriate measures for the enhancement of stockpile management capacities and physical security of conventional arms and ammunition to minimize the risk of diversion.

She, therefore, urged them to adopt full and comprehensive state-owned weapon marking programmes, including weapons and ammunition registration systems.

She added that West African countries should further take advantage of the weapons marking systems to establish comprehensive inventories and database systems in order to achieve the arms control and disarmament agenda.