Small arms and light weapons still remain a threat to regional security undermining peace, stability and socio-economic development across East and Southern Africa.

Interior Principal Secretary Raymond Omollo said small arms and light weapons continue to wreak havoc in communities and fuel conflicts.

“The illicit trade in small arms knows no borders and respects no laws, making it imperative for us to strengthen our collaborative efforts at both regional and international levels,” Dr Omollo said.

He was speaking in Nairobi during the official opening ceremony of the two-day Regional Preparatory Meeting for East and Southern Africa for the Fourth Review Conference (RevCon4) on Small Arms and Light Weapons.

The PS urged the participating 21 countries to reaffirm their commitment to implementing the relevant international instruments which include the United Nations Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons, its International Tracing Instrument, Nairobi Protocol, and Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Protocol among others.

“We must strengthen our legal and regulatory frameworks, enhance our border security measures, and improve our capacity for arms tracing, marking, and record-keeping,” he said.

Amb Maritza Chan-Valverde, the President of RevCon4, acknowledged that the illicit trade and use of small arms and light weapons is a global problem that requires global solutions.

“Every six years the international community has an opportunity to address the progress made and the challenges the member states face in implementing the programme of action,” said Maritza.

Izumi Nakamitsu, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs said that weapons continue to pose a threat to international peace and security and sustainable development.

“They prolong the conflict, facilitate organised crime and terrorism, and force displacement. No country is immune, though the challenges and responses to them may differ in nature and degree,” said Nakamitsu.

Earlier the PS launched the reviewed Kenya Coordinated Border Management Program (KCBMP) to boost national security.

By Fredrick Azelwa.