(Oct. 9, 2008) The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) announced on October 6, 2008, that with all member countries but one having ratified its Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons, Their Ammunition and Other Related Materials [Convention on Small Arms], the sub-regional group is very close to implementation of the legally binding treaty. ECOWAS Executive Secretary, Dr. Mohammed ibn Chambas, stated that the body expects the Convention to come into force before the end of the year.
The ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms seeks to bring to an end the conflicts and violence resulting from unrestricted small arms use within the sub-region. It originated in a moratorium, adopted on October 1, 1998, on the import, export, and manufacture of light weapons. According to Chambas, after endorsement of and declarations on the Convention, member states implemented national frameworks based on it and were given “considerable support” in their anti-small arms proliferation efforts by means of ECOWAS Multi-Donor Trust Funds. (Onyebuchi Ezigbo, ECOWAS to Implement Convention on Small Arms, THIS DAY (Lagos), Oct. 7, 2008, available at http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=124467; ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons, Their Ammunition and Other Related Materials (June 14, 2006), ECOSAP [ECOWAS Small Arms Control Program] website, available at http://www.ecosap.ecowas.int/en/ecosap/strategic_docs/convention/convention_