The EU–LAS project was launched in 2019 with the aim of supporting LAS member states in sustainably building their national capacities to combat the illicit trade in, and proliferation of, small arms and light weapons in their region. The EU funds the project and entrusts its implementation to the Small Arms Survey (project coordinator), INTERPOL, and the World Customs Organization (WCO), working in collaboration with the LAS Department of Arms Control and Disarmament (focal point for LAS member states). The project responds to the needs and priorities identified by LAS member states within the framework of the EU–LAS Strategic Dialogue, specifically its Working Group on Weapons of Mass Destruction, Small Arms and Light Weapons, and Arms Control.
The EU–LAS project
As defined by the EU–LAS Strategic Dialogue, the project covers the following priority areas:
- Area 1 – International small arms transfer control (combating illicit arms flows):
1.1 Export/import/transit licensing and control (such as risk assessment, etc.)
1.2 Preventing the diversion of small arms to unauthorized recipients
1.3 Detecting small arms and their parts during the inspection of transported goods and cargo (inspection methods, techniques and equipment, etc.)
- Area 2 – Identification and disruption of sources of illicit small arms (capacity building for law enforcement agencies):
2.1 Control of land, air, and maritime borders, including technology transfer
2.2 Marking, record-keeping, and tracing
2.3 Additional techniques and methods for arms investigation and inspection (use of ballistics information, identification/disruption of smuggling routes and methods, etc.)
- Area 3 – Other small arms control measures:
3.1 Stockpile management and security
- Area 4 – Disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR):
4.1 Exchanging DDR expertise, best practices, and lessons learned
4.2 Assistance in designing national DDR programmes
4.3 Other forms of support to LAS member states during the post-conflict phase
- Area 5 – Provision of information relevant to illicit small arms and light weapons and enhanced small arms and light weapons control:
5.1 Evaluation of the laws and regulations of LAS member states; advising on possible amendments and revisions
5.2 Translation of relevant research, published studies, and other documents into Arabic
Project implementation, 2019–21
Between June 2019 and February 2020, the project completed the following activities:
- an inception meeting to present the project to LAS member states at LAS headquarters in Cairo (June 2019);
- three needs assessment missions—conducted in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Jordan, and Morocco in November–December 2019—to determine the specific priorities of these states regarding illicit small arms and to prepare for in-country training programmes in these countries;
- a subregional workshop to exchange information and best practices on illicit small arms, held in the UAE in February 2020, for LAS member states in Asia; and
- in-country training programmes, held in the UAE and Morocco in January and February 2020.
All project-related travel was halted in March 2020 following the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The project’s in-country training courses were replaced with online courses that were delivered to seven LAS states between August 2020 and July 2021. The project’s second subregional workshop and final regional meeting, scheduled for June–July 2021, could not be held because of the pandemic.
Under Priority Area 5.2, the project has a mandate to meet the needs of LAS member states for independent and reliable information on small arms and armed violence in Arabic. To this end, it has translated 16 publications and other documents into Arabic, which can be accessed here.
EU-LAS phase 2
The EU is currently considering extending the project beyond 31 July 2021. If approved by the EU, ‘phase 2’ will build on the foundations laid during the project’s first phase. Phase 2 plans include region-wide train-the-trainer events that will enable LAS member states to strengthen their capacity for training on small arms control. Updated information on phase 2 will be posted on this page when it becomes available.
For further information on the project, please contact:
Small Arms Survey
|Small Arms Survey
League of Arab States
World Customs Organization