The Government of Liberia, through LiNCSA benefits from a National Baseline and Assessment on Weapons and Ammunition Management (WAM) Training

The Liberia National Commission on Small Arms (LiNCSA) in collaboration with the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) held a four-day national baseline assessment on Weapons and Ammunition Management (WAM) from 24 – 27 April 2018 at the Bella Casa Hotel in Monrovia. The assessment was conducted on two levels: 1. Senior Government Officials; and 2. Technical Professionals and experts from relevant security agencies, LiNCSA, civil society organizations, the National Hunters Union, Civil Aviation Authority, etc.… working in the areas of arms control and related issues.
The high-level consultative meeting facilitated discussions on a national roadmap to strengthen the WAW framework, including the identification of priorities, challenges and opportunities, as well as international cooperation and assistance.
Liberia was selected to conduct the WAM assessment when delegates from UNIDIR initiated discussions with officials from LiNCSA at a meeting for the National Commissions on Small Arms (NATCOMs) held in Abuja, Nigeria in early January 2018.
The overall objective of the baseline assessment was to assist the Government of Liberia in establishing a baseline of the existing national Weapons and Ammunition Management (WAM) framework in line with international and regional commitments and standards.  It would also strengthen and identify existing national capacities and challenges, and strengthen arms control options and approaches to national design and implementation.
The opening ceremony of the WAM Conference was marked by statements from representatives of the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms (LiNCSA), the National Security Council Coordinator as well as the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), UNDP, the German Consular accredited to Liberia, the Special Representative of the ECOWAS Commission to Liberia among others.    
Hon. James M. Fromayan, Chairman of LiNCSA gave the introductory and welcome statement. In his statement, Chairman Fromayan, thanked UNIDIR and said that the Commission was grateful for the partnership and will continue to seek more collaboration gear towards the strengthening of existing national capacities on WAM and related issues.
He noted that the timing of the assessment was right especially at a time when UNMIL has finally phased out its peacekeeping operations in Liberia, leaving full national security responsibilities with the Liberian Security Agencies.
LiNCSA Chairman explained that under the Government of Liberia-UNMIL Transition Framework, LiNCSA in collaboration with the Liberia National Police took the lead in managing and monitoring arms importation in the country.
He outlined arms transfer, physical security of arms and stockpile management through regular inspections of armories, the marking and recording of state-owned arms and monitoring of arms imports as key responsibilities acquired by LiNCSA from UNMIL during the transition.  
Chairman Fromayan then highlighted the immense progress made in weapons and ammunition management in Liberia, particularly the legal and policy environments for firearms control.  The Firearms and Ammunition Control Act and its administrative regulations enhance national arms control instruments.
The Chairman emphasized that LiNCSA has consistently complied with other international standards, such as the United Nations Programme of Action on Small Arms (UNPOA), by submitting annual reports on arms management and control.  
In conclusion, Chairman Fromayan stressed that the final report from the meeting should concentrate on three key areas: An Assessment of current Government capacities on Weapons and Ammunition Management; Targeted areas for potential enhancement; and Options for enhancement methodologies.
Delivering his statement, Himayu Shiotan, Project Lead of UNIDIR lauded the participants particularly the Coordinator of the National Security Council of Liberia and the Chairman of LiNCSA as well as members of the security agencies for attending the meeting. He then reiterated the importance of the WAM assessment in identifying gaps and progress made in the national framework.
Another high profile dignitary at the meeting was the Germany Consular, who lauded the organizers of the meeting, and at the same time acknowledged the significant number of professionals in attendance.
The German Consular accredited near Monrovia highlighted that the misuse of small arms and light weapons was a challenge in many countries around the world and has fueled conflicts, which has led to the loss of lives and properties. The Consular stressed that Small Arms and Light Weapons are the real weapons of mass destruction, and appropriate strategies must be put in place for proper controls.  He added that it is essential for ECOWAS, as a regional organization, to use practical knowledge to control arms in the sub region and he assured the Government of Germany’s commitment to the control of small arms and light weapons on the continental level.
UNDP Country Director, Mr. Pa Lamin, thanked LiNCSA and UNIDIR for working together to conduct the national baseline assessment in Liberia.
He noted that the assessment was timely considering the drawdown of UNMIL, as it will complement the tools and initiatives that the Government of Liberia and its partners have already put in place to facilitate decision making.
Emphasizing the importance of WAM at both national and international levels, especially with regard to the general security situation around the world, the UNDP Country Director pointed out that easily accessible illicit weapons and ammunitions facilitate sexual violence, insecurity of the people, undermine peacekeeping efforts and reduce development progress.
Speaking further, he highlighted UNDP and LiNCSA collaboration in the design and implementation of security related initiatives, including the ECOWAS/EU Small Arms project, which he noted, produced several considerable results in the interest of the people.  
Mr. Pa Lamin concluded his remarks by lauding the Government of Liberia and CSOs for the efforts and commitment to building arms-free communities, and acknowledged ECOWAS for its role in supporting member states to meet the provisions of the ECOWAS Convention, particularly the fight against the proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons.
The four-day successful consultative meeting ended with the Chairman of the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms presenting the draft recommendations from the meeting to the representative of the Government of Liberia for consideration.
Additional statements of commitment and appreciation came from the following individuals: Mr. Philip Kollie of WANEP; Special Agent Titus Nyankun of the National Security Agency (NSA); a Representative of the National Hunters Union of Liberia; Dr. Sani Adama of the ECOWAS Small Arms Unit
Mr. Fred Appiah, Regional Coordinator, UNDP; Hon. Orlando Dixon, Sr. of the Ministry of Defense; and the ECOWAS Special Representative to Liberia
Mr. Kollie emphasized the commitment of CSOs to work with the Government of Liberia and other key stakeholders to maintain peace and security as well as ensure the development of relevant programs to involve CSOs in WAM and other security related issues. In addition, He explained that WANEP was involved in the monitoring and reporting of conflict situations to find a solution.
Speaking on behalf of the security, Agent Titus Nyankun from NSA reiterated that the mismanagement of weapons could lead to conflict and other security implications.
He stressed the need for security agencies to continue to build the capacity of personnel in specialized stockpile management courses as well as to make available the relevant logistics to enhance security operations.
He concluded by thanking the organizers and pledged security personnel continual support to WAM, and look forward to the fruition of the recommendations from the meeting.
In his rather short statement, the representative of the Hunters Union of Liberia lauded the organizers of the meeting and then encouraged the Government of Liberia to consider hunting as a profession and means of livelihood.
He urged the Commission and stakeholders to continue to put in place effective mechanism to control private and state owned arms in Liberia.
The Special Representative of the ECOWAS Commission to Liberia, Ambassador Tunde Ajisomo underscored ECOWAS commitment to peace and security including arms control.
Mr. Ajisomo also noted that the success of the bilateral meetings held with security agencies during the 3rd day of the assessment showed the level of work and commitment to maintaining peace and security in Liberia.
He emphasized that member states were committed to compliance with the ECOWAS Convention including key provisions on arms transfer taking into consideration the Exemption Guidelines.
He further explained that the ECOWAS Commission has established a training center in Nigeria to assist in building the capacity of relevant security personnel from the sub region.  
He thanked UNIDIR and asked that the WAM assessment be extended to other member states to encourage coherence.
The ECOWAS Representative then called for the Government of Liberia to enhance its support to the work of LiNCSA.

For his part, Himayu Shiotan, Project Lead at UNIDIR thanked the participants for the level of engagement brought to the meeting and stressed that proper weapons and ammunitions management was essential to sustainable peace and development.
Mr. Shiotan noted that WAM was critical to national security strategy and encouraged the government of Liberia to established relevant procedures for the import and marking of arms.
Concluding his remarks, he stressed the need to harmonized weapons and ammunition management in the ECOWAS sub region.
Receiving the recommendations from the meeting, the National Security Advisor to the President of Liberia Hon. Jefferson Karmon, lauded LiNCSA and UNIDIR for organizing the meeting and underscored the need for stakeholders to maintain security at all levels.
Mr. Karmon noted that WAM was a maximum-security concern to the Government of Liberia, and assured participants that he was going to present the recommendations to the President of the Republic of Liberia and the National Security Council at the next security meeting.  
The meeting was successful as it brought together security experts and other relevant stakeholders who actively participated and made meaningful contributions leading to the drafting of key recommendations intended for effective WAM and related issues in Liberia. If considered, the recommendations drafted during the meeting could also be used as a framework for WAM in the sub-region especially the Mano River Union (MRU) countries.