Darfur, a region roughly the size of Spain, has more than two million unlicensed firearms. A bid to register and mark these weapons kicked off a year ago, viewed as a step towards disarmament. It has yet, however, to make any real headway.
Keeping tabs on these illegal firearms is a massive task. But before that can happen, several unavoidable issues need to be resolved to shore up local support for the unpopular project.
Development is not just about building schools, supplying stationery, digging boreholes or providing medicine.Development is the first stumbling block, and a key prerequisite if the process is to succeed. The absence of the most basic elements for life means that people take up arms to make a living through cattle raiding or looting the property of others. So far there has been no effective strategy for improving development in Darfur.
And development is not just about building schools, supplying stationery, digging boreholes or providing medicine. It goes deeper: It is related to production and, in particular, to using natural resources to foster economic and social benefits, by creating job opportunities and a fair distribution of wealth.
On this point, progress is vital, not least against the backdrop of the devastating war, which has dominated the region for decades.