HL Deb 06 March 2001 vol 623 cc22-3WA
Lord Hylton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Which projects they are supporting for collecting and destroying weapons and for demobilising and reintegrating combatants (a) in Africa and (b) elsewhere. [HL342]

Baroness Amos

The Department for International Development (DFID) is supporting a number of projects which are aiding the collection and destruction of weapons and the demobilisation and reintegration of combatants. This activity is regarded as an increasingly critical component of both conflict prevention and development.

In Africa, DFID has funded the Programme for Co-ordination and Assistance for Security and Development, which is operating in West African states. The project includes the collection and destruction of surplus weapons, establishment of a database and regional arms register and training programmes for the military, security and police forces.

DFID is funding Saferworld to develop strategies and programmes addressing the proliferation of small arms and to strengthen the co-operative efforts to prevent conflict in Southern Africa and the Horn of Africa—as well as Central and Eastern Europe, South Eastern Europe and the Trans Caucasus. This programme also involves working collaboratively with southern NGOs, including the Institute of Security Studies in South Africa. As part of the programme two workshops will be held in the Horn of Africa and Great Lakes Region later this year. The workshops will engage officials in the region and will specifically address demobilisation and reintegration as well as weapons collection and destruction. DFID is also continuing support of Sierra Leone's Disarmament and Reintegration Programme, including the provision of technical assistance.

Elsewhere, DFID has provided funds for the pioneering United Nations Development Programme project "Weapons in Exchange for Development" in Albania.

Under the proposed "Global Conflict Prevention Pool Initiative", DFID, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence have developed a joint strategy for curbing small arms misuse. A central component of this strategy will be to provide weapons collection and stockpile management systems.