The proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALW) constitutes both a cause and result of the prevailing insecurity and related phenomena, such as armed conflicts, terrorist activities and transnational organized crime, which jeopardize the development prospects in some countries of the Sahel region. In this context, the definition of effective strategies, tailored to the specificities and needs of the region, requires an in-depth understanding and analysis of the nature, scale, distribution and impact of the circulation of SALW across national borders. In response to this need and within the framework of the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC) and the UNDP Sub Regional Office for the Sahel and West Africa jointly developed an evaluation project on small arms in the Sahel and neighbouring countries with the aim of laying the initial basis for understanding and action in the area of illicit proliferation of SALW.
This report was jointly prepared by the Group for Research and Information on Peace and Security (GRIP) and the Small Arms Survey (SAS), which jointly designed and managed the project. A first version of this report was distributed at the Lome workshop organized by UNREC and UNDP in February 2016. The core project team included Botre Alain, Programme Officer at UNREC, Cédric Poitevin (GRIP), Claudia Seymour and Anna Alvazzi Del Frate (SAS). Inputs were provided by Khristopher Carlson and Mihaela Racovita (SAS) and Christophe Stiernon (GRIP). The experts who carried out the field missions to the nine target countries of this study were Jihan Seniora, Akogla Kossi, Charles Nasibu Bilali, Alphonse Muleefu, Jasmin Poboric, Claudio Gramizzi, An Vranckx, Hamadou Ouedraogo and Cédric Poitevin.