From 12-16 August 2019, practitioners in the field of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) and Community Violence Reduction (CVR) participated in a training course on effective weapons and ammunition management. Participants included representatives from United Nations missions, including MINUSMA (Mali), UNAMID (Darfur), MONUSCO (Democratic Republic of the Congo), MINUSCA (Central African Republic), MINUJUSTH (Haiti), and UNVMC (Colombia), as well as the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS), the UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC) and the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC).
The week-long course was jointly organized by the United Nations Department of Peace Operations (DPO) and the Office for Disarmament Affairs (ODA), with support from United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). The training course, which took place at UNREC in Lomé with a practical component organized at the KAIPTC in Accra, responds to the greater need for weapons and ammunition management activities in DDR and CVR programmes and activities.
During the course, participants learned about weapons and ammunition management in a mix of theoretical, interactive and practical sessions. This included an introduction to normative frameworks as well as hands-on exercises in planning, monitoring and evaluation. Participants also had the opportunity to share their experiences and present transitional weapons and ammunition management approaches, including CVR and pre-DDR activities.
As part of the course, participants visited the Ghanaian Army Combat Training School (ACTS) which provided a practical illustration on how weapons can be handled safely, how ammunition and weapons should be stored adequately and separately, and how disarmament operations in DDR camps are organized.
The course was only the second of its kind, following a pilot course in 2018. It is envisaged that the training will be offered on an annual basis for DDR and CVR practitioners.
The training is part of larger initiative, funded by Germany and Switzerland, and carried out by the Department of Peace Operations and the Office for Disarmament Affairs to explore synergies between conventional arms control and DDR and CVR activities. The initiative seeks to develop resources and expertise to enable DDR and CVR practitioners to design effective weapons and ammunition management activities in traditional and non-traditional mission and non-mission settings.
Under the initiative, a practical handbook for DDR practitioners was published in January 2018 to provide DDR and CVR practitioners concrete guidance on weapons and ammunition management based on the highest international standards and guidelines.