African Union (AU), Member States have made significant progress, over the years, in addressing the scourge of illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW), on the continent. The African Common Position on the Illicit Proliferation, Circulation and Trafficking of SALW, also known as the Bamako Declaration, which was adopted by the Council of Ministers of the OAU in December 2000, remains the main policy document for the Commission. In this Declaration, Member States undertook to identify, seize and destroy illicit weapons. The Declaration also provides for the establishment of measures to control the circulation, transfer and use of small arms and light weapons. 

To this end, the Commission continues to assist AU Member States in the fight against the illicit proliferation, circulation and trafficking of SALW. The Commission has developed the draft “AU Strategy on the Control of Illicit Proliferation, Circulation and Trafficking of SALW” in fulfillment of decision Assembly/AU/Dec.369(XVII). The Documents were considered and adopted by Member States’ experts who met from 26-29 September 2011 in Lome, Togo.

The documents are now ready for use by AU Member States for reference in the fight against the illicit proliferation, trafficking and circulation of SALW. The Commission will continue to work through the ad hoc “AU-Regions Steering Committee on SALW and disarmamentdemobilisation and reintegration (DDR)”, and work with Partners to assist Member States. 

The AU, with the support of the European Union, embarked on a 3-year project on the “Fight Against Illicit Firearms in Africa”.  The project is implemented by the Regional Centre on Small Arms (RECSA). The Project seeks to strengthen relevant institutional and civil society actors in Member States, including the African Regional Police Chiefs Organizations (RPCOs) and law enforcement agencies through enhanced cooperation, information exchange and implementing capacity within and among countries. The Project kicked off in March 2010.