Liberia has been selected to host the eleventh (11th) Annual National Commissions on Small Arms (NATCOM) meeting of the ECOWAS 15 Member States.
The decision to host the NATCOMs meeting was received by the majority Member states at the just ended Technical Review Meeting of the 10th Anniversary of the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) held in Niamey, Niger.
Liberia was represented at the meeting by Atty. Teklo Maxwell Grigsby, II Chairman of the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms who made the case for the meeting to be held in Liberia for the first time replacing Benin that was earlier selected at last year NATCOMs meeting held in Banjul, The Gambia.
The 2019 NATCOM meeting is expected to bring together Presidents/Chairpersons of National Commissions of the fifteen Member States of the ECOWAS sub region, Officials of the ECOWAS Commission Small Arms Division, International Partners from the European Union, the United States of America, and other parts of world.
Also, expected to attend this important meeting are, international organizations working in the area of Small Arms and Light Weapons control including the Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Small Arms Survey (SAS), Mine Action Group (MAG) among others. The selection of Liberia to host this meeting is in recognition of its commitment to arms control nationally and regionally.
The Small Arms Commission’s boss lauded the decision of ECOWAS Members for the decision to select Liberia to host this important international event and promised to work closely with the Membership of the Commission comprising: The Office of the President of Liberia , George M. Weah, represented by the National Security Advisor, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of National Defense, Liberia Revenue Authority, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Forestry Development Agency, National Security Agency, Liberia Action Network on Small Arms (LANSA) among others to organize an elaborate meeting in Monrovia that will bring together the actors within the SALW sector.
The Chairman of LiNCSA will also work very closely with the Ministry of State to ensure that the eleventh NATCOMs meeting in Monrovia becomes a success.
In his presentation, the Chairperson of LiNCSA Atty. Grigsby inter-alia, highlighted the state of implementation and compliance of the ECOWAS Convention, Challenges, Gaps, Particular Concern(s) and future steps of ensuring compliance and full implementation of the Convention through the 2019 National Action Plan (NAP) of Liberia.
Atty. Teklo Maxwell Grigsby, II thanked ECOWAS, particularly the Small Arms Division for the support in providing training to members of the security sector of Liberia and the affirmation of providing additional training to members of the Arm Forces of Liberia and the Liberian National Police on advance Physical Security and Stockpile Management (PSSM) with support from the Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC).
Chairman Grigsby also acknowledged and extended appreciation to ECOWAS for the ongoing effort to procure weapons destruction machines and other useful equipment to facilitate the implementation of the Convention by Member States. He welcome MAG and SAS desire to visit Liberia early next year (February 2020) and specifically acquainted the two International Groups of the condition of Liberia in regards to PSSM and Arms Control in general and made specific request for the construction and renovation of armories and training respectively for the security sector of Liberia.
Meanwhile, LiNCSA Boss, has accepted the invitation from the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) to attend the Weapons and Ammunition Management (WAM) meeting in Addis, Ethiopia to discuss and address the issues raised in the 2016 assessment and promised to remain a vocal NATCOM Head in articulating the increase need for comprehensive monitoring mechanism on the implementation of the ECOWAS Convention by ECOWAS and the fifteen member states.
Following the disclosure according to reports preparations leading to the hosting of the national conference is well on course.
The November conference will mark about three separate international conferences to be held in Liberia just under one year.