HC Deb 13 February 2004 vol 418 cc109-11W
Mr. Robathan

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the Small Arms Global Pool. [155673]

Hilary Benn

The Global and Africa Conflict Prevention Pools (GCPP) as a whole are currently undergoing a full and independent evaluation after the first three years of operation. A report will be published shortly.

The GCPP's Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) Strategy is that it has achieved a number of notable outcomes in a short period of time.

The strategy has helped to ensure that recent UN and regional agreements could be implemented in many arms-affected regions. We have supported practical measures to combat the supply, demand and availability of weapons at local, national and regional levels in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe; notably the establishment in Tanzania of the first ever government-endorsed national action plan, which tackles in a comprehensive way the problem of small arms proliferation. New legislation in Brazil banning the carrying of weapons by civilians is another initiative supported by the strategy that has resulted in lasting change.

However, more needs to be done to raise awareness and to integrate small arms control and reduction measure into wider defence relations, foreign policy, conflict, security and development programmes. A new SALW strategy (2004–07) is currently being developed and this will seek to address this.

Mr. Robathan

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will list the weapons destroyed so far as a result of the Small Arms Global Pool, broken down by type. [155674]

Hilary Benn

A key element of the UK Government's Global Conflict Prevention Pool (GCPP) Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) Strategy is to reduce the availability of SALW through support for weapons stockpile management, collection and destruction programmes.

Within the framework of the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons (2001), the UK supports a number of governments including those of developing countries to dispose of small arms stocks, preferably by destruction, that are surplus to national requirements.

The UK is supporting the development of five-year National Action Plans in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique and Namibia. These plans will provide a comprehensive approach to weapons controls in these countries and include elements for the disarmament, management and destruction of weapons.

Since 2001, the GCPP-funded Small Arms and Demobilisation Unit of UNDP have supported the destruction of over 360,000 weapons and in excess of 24 million items of ammunition (i.e. small arms cartridges) and 1,090 tonnes of ammunition as part of their global weapons collection management and destruction programme.

The UK has also funded a Brazilian NGO, Viva Rio, which has, as part of its awareness raising campaign, worked with the police and military in organising ceremonial public destructions of firearms. In excess of 114,000 have been destroyed since UK support for the project started in 2001. Destruction of weapons is done in partnership with the Rio State Government.

The UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Lima, Peru, which is supported by the GCPP, has a programme for capacity building and training of law enforcement officials in Latin America. As a component of this work the Regional Centre has been involved in supporting local military and police with weapons destruction exercises.

The UK is also one of a number of countries contributing to an ammunition destruction programme carried out in Albania by the NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency (NAMSA), which aims to destroy 11,600 tonnes of small arms and light weapons ammunition over a four-year period.

Further statistics on the type of weapons and ammunitions destroyed are not readily available.

Mr. Robathan

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will list the countries in which activities are taking place under the Small Arms Global Pool; and what the(a) targets and (b) achievements of those initiatives were in each case. [155675]

Hilary Benn

Under the UK Government's Global Conflict Prevention Pool (GCPP), the Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) Strategy (£19.5 million, 2001–04) seeks to control and reduce the supply, demand and availability of weapons. It does this by supporting policy development and programmes that assist a wide range of international organisations, regional organisations, Governments and NGOs to combat the proliferation and misuse of small arms.

The four key areas that the strategy seeks to promote are: Policy focused research and analysis to evaluate the impact of programmes and design more effective arms control and reduction policies; Building consensus among Governments on the need for increased arms controls; Implementing practical projects such as weapons collection, management, and destruction, training of police and customs officers; and Integrating small arms controls into wider conflict prevention and poverty reduction programmes.

For example, the UK has supported regional and sub regional efforts to combat SALW proliferation, and the development of long-term national programmes. The strategy has also supported work to build regional and international consensus on the need for an international agreement on small arms transfers and trade. This is done within the framework provided by the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons (2001).

The UK has contributed to the UN Development Programme's Small Arms and Demobilisation Unit global programme of weapons collection, stockpile management, capacity building and destruction within the context of disarmament, demobilisation, reintegration of ex-combatants and community development. UNDP is active in 45 countries in many parts of Africa, Asia, Europe and Central America.

The GCPP has also supported a number of other initiatives including the work of: The NGO, Viva Rio, which works with police and communities in Brazil to improve security policy and tackle gun violence; The Nairobi Secretariat, which co-ordinates action for Governments and civil society in East Africa, Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa; National Governments, which are developing Action Plans, with civil society participation, in Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique, Malawi and Kenya; SaferAfrica, Saferworld, and the Security Research and Information Centre, which undertake research, analysis, policy facilitation and practical programmes in East Africa, the Horn, Great Lakes Region and Southern Africa; International Alert, which carries out research and analysis projects in Europe, Latin America and West Africa; and International Action Network on Small Arms, which has established a global network and co-ordinates advocacy, awareness raising and campaigns among 500 civil society groups around the world.

I have placed in the Library a table providing details of the work funded under the GCPP SALW strategy during the period 2001–04.