West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP), recently held a stakeholders’
roundtable meeting to accelerate the ratification of the Convention on Cluster
munitions in The Gambia.
The ratification of the convention is in line with the African Union master roadmap of practical steps to silence the guns on the continent by the year 2020.
The coordinator of WANEP, Anna Jones, said the Network, which is the focal point of the Cluster Munitions Coalition in The Gambia, has been campaigning for the ratification of the cluster Munitions Convention since its existence and they want to speed up the process of ratification.
“We have worked closely in the past with the line ministry. We have made some headway in the past. We also had challenges along the way in the implementation process,” she divulged.
Madam Jones added that through their discussions with the Ministry of Defense, they had been told that cabinet paper had been submitted which would be submitted to parliament shortly and they hope that this would be ratified.
She explained that they had had series of sensitisation workshops in the past and had established a technical working group that came up with recommendations which at that time, seemed realistic and they had hoped that the convention would have been ratified by now.
But unfortunately, they had had some hitches, she said, adding: “In September, The Gambia Government made a statement in Geneva that the convention would be ratified by the next meeting of State parties in September 2018,” she said.
She therefore stressed the need for them to work together to ensure the ratification of the convention, noting that in West Africa, only two countries are yet to ratify the convention and these are The Gambia and Benin.
Present at the meeting were National Assembly Members, who were sensitised on the convention for their understanding and ease of ratification, once it reaches them.