The United Nations peace centre for Latin America and the Caribbean has expanded its mandate from being a disarmament information centre to managing weapons stockpiling or destruction and providing training courses for law enforcement officials, politicians and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan says.
“The role of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean has undergone substantial modification since its creation in 1987,” he says in a report to a General Assembly for its deliberations on security and disarmament.
“The Centre has evolved from serving as a facilitator for the implementation of regional initiatives to being a service provider for States in the region, due in part to the increased variety and quantity of requests from States in the region for assistance in the implementation of measures for peace, disarmament and development,” it adds.
The Centre’s assistance efforts had been integrated into those of the UN country team in Peru and into the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) designed to eliminate or reduce a host of socio-economic illnesses, he says.
Among the Centre’s recent operations were destruction of 52,000 firearms in Brazil, Costa Rica and Paraguay, as well as the destruction of over 96 tons of ammunition and explosives in Paraguay. Firearms registration and licensing programmes, as well as stockpile management systems, were being developed in Brazil, Costa Rica, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.
Discussions were taking place between the Centre, the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) with the firearms industry and the commercial sector, it says.
“The Centre has continued its public information strategy to ensure better dissemination of information on security issues as well as on the role of the United Nations in promoting peace, disarmament and development in the region among Government representatives, the military, NGOs and civil society,” Mr. Annan’s report says.