2 December 1999

Press Release



NEW YORK, 2 December (Department for Disarmament Affairs) -- The Advisory Group of the Programme for Coordination and Assistance for Security and Development (PCASED), the mechanism charged with assisting in the implementation of the Moratorium on the Importation, Exportation and Manufacture of Light Weapons in West Africa, has urged heads of State and government of the 16 West African countries signatories to the Moratorium to take concrete steps to advance its implementation.

The call was made at the end of the second biannual meeting of the Advisory Group held in Lomé, Togo, from 22 to 23 November. The Group invited leaders of the member States of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to target their efforts in three priority areas, namely:

-- To foster the establishment of national commissions of light weapons in each country of the subregion and to charge such commissions with the task of promoting communication and discussion between and among member States on the control of light weapons;

-- To strengthen the capacities of the secretariats of ECOWAS and PCASED to enable them to implement the Moratorium better; and

-- To move rapidly in the area of reviewing and harmonizing legislation and administrative procedures permitting effective control of the import, export and manufacture of light weapons in the subregion.

In a statement to participants at the meeting, the Executive Secretary of ECOWAS, Lansana Kouyaté, expressed the hope that ECOWAS heads of State and government shall adopt a code of conduct for the implementation of the Moratorium during the twenty-second summit of the organization, due to be held in Lomé on 9 and 10 December. He also urged donors and member States signatories to the Moratorium to support PCASED efforts in mobilizing resources needed for the implementation of this innovative practical disarmament measure.

In keeping with its terms of reference, the Advisory Group evaluated progress so far achieved in the implementation of the Moratorium, in the attainment of the goals of PCASED and in the overall goal of consolidating the institutions responsible for the implementation of the Moratorium. The meeting also adopted the PCASED work programme for the period January-June 2000.

Managed by the United Nations Office for Project Services, PCASED is a five- year project of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) operating within the framework of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa, based in Lomé.

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