Mr Jones Applerh, Executive Secretary of the National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons (NCSALW), has called for the robust implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) to ensure that its objectives are achieved.
He said Ghana reiterates its strong conviction that ATT must be implemented in its entirety to achieve its objective, namely to establish the highest possible common international standards for regulating the international trade in conventional arms and to prevent and eradicate the illicit trade in conventional arms and ammunition and prevent their diversion.
The ATT is the first legally-binding instrument ever negotiated in the United Nations to establish common standards for the international transfer of conventional weapons.
It seeks to reduce human suffering caused by illegal and irresponsible arms transfers, improve regional security and stability, as well as to promote accountability and transparency by state parties concerning transfers of conventional arms.
Mr Applerh made the call on Tuesday in his address at the opening of the Regional Workshop on International Arms Transfer Control in Accra.
The two-day workshop is being organised by the European Union (EU) in collaboration with the NCSALW and Expertise France.
It brought together 37 participants from Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, The Gambia and Zambia, as well experts from the ECOWAS Commission, German and French Government.
The participants are expected to discuss the effective implementation of ATT and present the steps taken, in their respective countries, to execute the provisions of the Treaty.
Mr Applerh said the implementation of the Treaty is a national responsibility in the framework of national control systems that the member states have established and maintain.
He said multilateral export control regimes and other types of international, regional and sub-regional cooperation could support these efforts.
Mr Applerh said although different countries started from different points of implementation, with different legal systems, arms trade profiles and administrative resources, they could all benefit from exchange of information and good practices from other countries.
"Frequent voluntary information exchange will contribute, over time, to an effective dissemination of proven practices, national guidelines and operational processes. It will also facilitate trust and confidence among the partners," he said.
Mr Applerh said Ghana finds the EU's ATT Outreach Programme being implemented by Expertise France and the German Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA) to be instrumental in advancing the implementation of the ATT Africa.
"The programme continues to provide support to partner countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America for the establishment of national control systems and national control lists, drafting and reviewing of the legislative and regulatory framework, prevention of diversion, and in the area of customs and law enforcement."
Mr Olivier Leonarduzzi, Key Expert, Expertise France, said to contribute to the effective implementation and universalization of the ATT, the EU has been for almost six years, assisting several countries to strengthen their national arms transfer control systems and increase ownership of the ATT at national and regional level.
Mr Jones Applerh (4th left on front row) in a group photograph with participants at the event