A 3-day high-level consultative meeting with relevant stakeholders on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) has commenced at the Volta Hotel in Akosombo.

The meeting which is being organised by the National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons in partnership with the African Union Commission (AU), the Bonn International Centre for Conflict Studies (BICC) and funded by the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO) is aimed at identifying some key implementation GAPs in the implementation of the ATT in Ghana and outline possible recommendations to address the identified GAPs.

Ghana has made some considerably progress in the implementation of the ATT over the years particularly in participation and making key policy statements during Conference of State Parties meetings, capacity building for relevant state institutions among others.

Despite the steady progress made by Ghana, there are still some considerable GAPs that Ghana needs to address in the implementation of the ATT.

This meeting will afford the Commission and the Office of the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice the opportunity to finalize the draft National Arms Commission Bill which would domesticate the provisions of the ATT.

In his opening remark, the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Mr. Samuel Williams Yeboah, indicated that the ATT has created opportunities to address the effect of Small Arms and Light Weapons proliferation in Ghana.

He reiterated the Commission’s commitment in adoption of the National Control List. According to him, the Commission has already completed the process towards the establishment of the list and are in its final stages of the adoption of the list.

He further revealed plans by the Commission to provide the List to the United Nations for it to be made publicly available to serve as a guide for States and other entities to know items which require prior transfer authorization into, through or out of Ghana as required by the ATT.

In delivering the keynote address, Brig, Gen. R.O. Sackey (Rtd), hailed the ATT as an effective instrument which can support and promote development in Africa by considerably reducing the proliferation of small arms which are the main factors of armed conflicts and violent crimes within the sub-region.

While he acknowledged the existence and enforcement of comprehensive legislative and regulatory frameworks which are critical for the effective implementation of the ATT, he also expressed his concern over the lack of capacity in terms of technology, equipment and human resource as contributing factors in dealing with the issue of trafficking in the sub-region.

He therefore called on the AU and other international organizations to encourage the universalization and rigorous implementation of the ATT.

Participants at the meeting included representatives from State Institutions, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and arms experts.