Engaging discussions on the practical application of the Arms Trade Treaty characterized the second ATT Academy training, which took place in Nakuru, Kenya on 5-8 December 2016. Organized by Control Arms and Pace University, and made possible with funding from the UN Trust Facility Supporting Cooperation on Arms Regulation (UNSCAR), the ATT Academy brought together government and civil society representatives from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda. This second ATT Academy training is part of a continuous six-month learning opportunity aimed to equip participants with a thorough practical understanding of the Treaty.
The week explored themes particularly relevant to the sub-region including Wildlife Crime, Pastoralist Conflict, Tackling Gender Based Violence and Importer Obligations. Some excellent expert speakers helped bring these sessions to life, and evening homework assignments gave the opportunity for detailed group work. Field visits with KWS rangers bought the realities of dealing with small arms proliferation very much to the fore, and provided participants with deeper understanding of the challenges they face in preventing poaching and preserving wildlife due to the proliferation of illicit weapons in the region.
Discussions were also centered on identifying and addressing challenges to the ATT’s universalization and implementation in the region, including lack of political will, lack of resources and expertise or lack of coordination among relevant governmental institutions. Technical aspects of the Treaty were also discussed throughout the week. Godfrey Bagonza from the Regional Centre on Small Arms in the Great Lakes Region, the Horn of Africa and Bordering States (RECSA) facilitated a session on typologies of diversion while Hillary Kiboro Muchiri, Communication and Liaison Officer at the International Committee of the Red Cross detailed prohibitions under the ATT. Ambassador Philip Owade of Kenya who represented Kenya for many years during the ATT negotiations at the UN explained obligations of importer states under the ATT.