The firearms marking units and software used to manage stockpiles and trace illicit weapons.
MAG helped to improve the management of firearm stockpiles and the tracing of firearms in Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
The project, with the Arms Management Programme of the Institute for Security Studies, ran from September 2010 to June 2012 and saw the provision of marking and tracing equipment to the above ten countries − plus the training of police personnel in the proper use of the marking machines − with MAG providing monitoring and evaluation oversight.
The objective was to provide these Southern African Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (SARPCCO) member states with the capacity to comply with Article 9 of the legally binding Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Control of Firearms, Ammunition and Other Related Materials (2001).
This protocol aimed to promote cooperation between states and coordinate small arms activities, aimed at curbing and preventing the illicit manufacturing of firearms, ammunition and other related materials, as well as their excessive and destabilising accumulation, trafficking, possession and use.
According to Article 9 of the SADC firearms control protocol (marking of firearms and recordkeeping):
1. State Parties undertake to establish agreed systems to ensure that all firearms are marked with a unique number, at the time of manufacture or import, on the barrel, frame and, where applicable, the slide and undertake to keep proper records of the markings.
2. The marking referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article shall identify the country of manufacture, the serial number, and the manufacturer of the firearm.
This project was funded by the US Department of State's Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (www.state.gov/t/pm/wra/).
[Photos: Traceability Solutions]
The Role of SARPCCO in Firearms Control
Established in 1994, SARPCCO has sought to:
• Promote, strengthen and perpetuate co-operation and foster joint strategies for the management of all forms of cross-border and related crimes with regional implications;
• Prepare and disseminate relevant information on criminal activities as may be necessary to benefit members to contain crime in the region;
• Carry out regular reviews of joint crime management strategies in view of changing national and regional needs and priorities;
• Ensure efficient operation and management of criminal records and efficient joint monitoring of cross-border crime taking full advantage of the relevant facilities available through INTERPOL;
• Make relevant recommendations to governments of member countries in relation to matters affecting effective policing in the Southern African region;
• Formulate systematic regional training policies and strategies taking into account the need and performance requirements of the regional police services/forces;
• Carry out any such relevant and appropriate acts and strategies for purposes of promoting regional police co-operation and collaboration as regional circumstances dictate.
About the Institute for Security Studies
The ISS is an independent research institute operating across sub-Saharan Africa and has offices in South Africa, Ethiopia and Kenya. Established in 1991, the ISS works towards the promotion of human security in Africa, which includes effective and sustainable arms control programmes.
The key stakeholders (on a regional level) of the ISS include: the African Union; the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Co-operation Organisation and its East African counterpart; the Eastern African Standby Brigade Coordination Mechanism; and the Regional Centre for Small Arms. In West Africa, the ISS works with the Economic Community of West African States and the sub-regional bureau of INTERPOL.
The ISS has undertaken policy-oriented research, engaged in capacity-building, provided training and facilitated the design and implementation of processes and instruments that have been geared towards the enhancement of human security and violence reduction in Africa.
Through its Arms Management Programme (AMP), the ISS has collaborated with African governments and intergovernmental organisations to develop and implement arms control policy, legislation and processes. For several years, AMP has worked closely with SARPCCO on the implementation of the SADC firearms control protocol.