|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
on Illicit Small Arms Trade
1st & 2nd Meetings (AM & PM)
As Review Conference Opens, Secretary-General Urges Redoubling of Efforts
to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Small Arms, Light Weapons
Easy Availability of Firepower Expands Impact,
Meeting Told, as Mauritius Delivers Statement for General Assembly President
The international community must redouble efforts to root out the culture of fear, suffering and chaos — as well as prevent an estimated 500,000 deaths a year — that still resulted from the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson emphasized today during the opening of the second international review conference aimed specifically at curbing those devastating effects.
“Our collective responsibility is clear: to prevent the flow of small arms into post-conflict areas and into the hands of warlords and traffickers,” he told participants in the meeting, on behalf of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Known formally as the United Nations Conference to Review Progress Made in Implementing the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, the two-week meeting — running from 27 August to 7 September — is expected to focus on national, regional and international measures for full implementation of the Programme of Action adopted in 2001. Among its main aims is the adoption of a robust outcome document — a success sorely lacking at the conclusion of the first Review Conference, held in 2006.
Besides reminding delegates of the grave reality of violence created by the unauthorized transfer and sale of small arms and light weapons — suffered most heavily by the world’s poor — Mr. Eliasson added that many countries required support for their efforts to implement key aspects of the Programme of Action, such as mechanisms for marking and tracing weapons. While some progress had been made since the Programme of Action’s adoption, with national legislation and the security of arms depots improving in some countries, he warned that “there are no quick solutions”, emphasizing that further progress would require the commitment and participation of all parties.
While agreeing that the uncontrolled spread of weapons in the illicit market continued to pose a serious threat to peace, reconciliation, security and sustainable development, Milan Jaya Nyamrajsingh Meetarbhan (Mauritius), speaking on behalf of the General Assembly President, reviewed the “encouraging” progress made at the national, regional and international levels over the last 11 years. A growing majority of States had not only reported on the Programme’s implementation, but had also advanced legislation to restrict the flow of illicit small arms and light weapons, he said. In addition, most had also established national coordinating bodies, and many had demonstrated their readiness to extend cooperation and assessment to other States in need of technical assistance.
U. Joy Ogwu (Nigeria), elected President of the Review Conference, declared: “The simple arithmetic is that the easy availability of illicit firepower maximally expands their impact and the havoc they cause.” Wherever illicit small arms were abused, they profoundly exacerbated conflicts on the ground, she said, citing rebel groups who prevented the delivery of humanitarian aid, urban gang members who exhorted businesses and terrorists who plotted to sow fear and destruction.
She said that while the Programme of Action and the International Tracing Instrument adopted in 2005 — laying out guidelines for the marking and identification of weapons — had been established to counter such threats, their power lay not in their paragraphs, but in the national ownership that Governments could display with regard to their commitments. Such true implementation, through which those documents would prove their value, was the task to which the present Conference would need to give guidance and impetus. “In just nine short days, we need to agree on a shared vision regarding what has been achieved, and what must be done next,” she stressed.
More than 1,500 people were killed every day by small arms-related violence, noted Australia’s representative, one of the more than 30 speakers to take the floor as the Conference began its general exchange of views. Illicit weapons also perpetuated existing economic and social disadvantages, she added, echoing a sentiment expressed by many delegates to the effect that the limited resources and different capacities of States continued significantly to impede the goals of the Programme of Action. She called on donors to contribute to a proposed multi-donor trust fund that would aim to increase the flow and flexibility of financial and technical assistance.
Like other delegates, she recalled last month’s failure of efforts to elaborate an international arms trade treaty to regulate all conventional weapons, saying that the adopting of such an instrument would prevent the illegal trade in small arms and their ammunition, a “fundamental part of the solution to stopping the devastating impact of such weapons on families and societies”. However, although no agreement had been reached in July, Member States had walked away with a “strong draft text”, and her delegation remained determined to work towards finalizing a strong and effective arms trade treaty as soon as possible.
Other speakers agreed on the need for an action-oriented and forward-thinking implementation plan for the Programme of Action during the next intersessional period, in particular one that would set out clear objectives and performance indicators. Another recurring theme was the right of States to manufacture, import and retain small arms and light weapons for their legitimate defence and security needs. Nigeria’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Group of African States, recalled that inherent right to individual or collective self-defence, as set out in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. Emphasizing that Africa’s further development hinged on ending the diversion of weapons into illicit hands, he cited a number of regional initiatives that complemented the Programme of Action, among them the Nairobi Protocol and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons.
Also speaking today were representatives of Trinidad and Tobago (also on behalf of the Caribbean Community), Brazil (on behalf of the Southern Common Market), Indonesia (also on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), New Zealand (also on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum), Kenya, Algeria, Italy, Turkey, Lithuania, Benin, Japan, Viet Nam, Portugal, Spain, Republic of Korea, United States, Pakistan, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Philippines, Ireland, Ukraine, Malaysia, India, Germany, Luxembourg, Venezuela and France. The Delegation of the European Union and the Permanent Observer for the Holy See also delivered statements.
An official of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) outlined the key findings of a new report entitled “A Decade of Implementing the United Nations Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons: Analysis of National Reports”.
In other business today, the Conference elected, by acclamation, 12 countries to act as Vice-Presidents: Brazil, Czech Republic, Germany, Guyana, Hungary, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Madagascar, New Zealand, Peru and Romania.
It also elected its Credentials Committee, comprising China, Costa Rica, Egypt, Italy, Maldives, Panama, Russian Federation, Senegal and the United States.
The Review Conference will reconvene at 10 a.m. tomorrow, 28 August, to continue its general exchange of views.
The United Nations General Assembly met this morning to begin a two-week review of efforts to implement the Programme of Action of its 2001 special session on preventing, combating and eradicating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects. For background information, please see Press Release DC/3380 of 27 August 2012.
U. JOY OGWU (Nigeria), opening the Conference in her capacity as its newly elected President, said the negative impact of the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons was a “deeply disturbing and lasting and enduring problem” on all continents without exception. That was true in many developing countries and those emerging from conflict in particular, including those on the African continent. “Weapons bring power to their bearers; they multiply force,” she said, noting that wherever they were abused, they profoundly exacerbated conflicts on the ground. Citing examples, she said they included rebel groups who prevented the delivery of humanitarian aid, urban gang members who exhorted businesses and terrorists who plotted to sow fear and destruction.
“For all, the simple arithmetic is that the easy availability of illicit firepower maximally expands their impact and the havoc they cause,” she continued, emphasizing that the 2001 Programme of Action and its International Tracing Instrument had been concluded to counter such threats. However, their power lay not in their paragraphs, but in the national ownership that Governments could display with regard to their forms and commitments. Such true implementation, through which those documents would prove their value, was the task to which the present Conference would need to give guidance and impetus. “In just nine short days, we need to agree on a shared vision regarding what has been achieved, and what must be done next to make progress on the Programme of Action and International Tracing Instrument,” she stressed.
MILAN JAYA NYAMRAJSINGH MEETARBHAN (Mauritius) spoke on behalf of Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, saying that the world body regularly underlined the fact that eliminating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons required concerted efforts at the national, regional and international levels. Their uncontrolled spread in the illicit market continued to have severe consequences and posed a serious threat to peace, reconciliation, security and sustainable development.
It was encouraging to see how much progress had been achieved since the adoption of the Programme of Action in 2001, he said. Various initiatives, including those of the United Nations, other international, regional and subregional bodies, as well as civil society organizations, had contributed to increased awareness and implementation of activities at the national, regional and international levels.
Noting that a growing majority of States had not only reported on the Programme’s implementation, but had also advanced legislation to restrict the flow of illicit small arms and light weapons, he said most had also established national coordinating bodies, and many had demonstrated their preparedness to extend cooperation and assessment to other States in need of assistance to build capacity for the implementation of the Programme of Action. Despite all the progress achieved, however, important challenges remained, he cautioned, pointing out that small arms and light weapons outside Government control continued to cause mayhem in many parts of the world.
JAN ELIASSON, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, delivered a statement on behalf of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, saying that illicit small arms remained the weapons of choice for those who sought to challenge legitimate State power, pursue criminal goals and spread fear. More than half a million people were killed by such weapons each year, and civilians — particularly the poor — suffered the most. Some progress had been made since the adoption of the Programme of Action, with national legislation and the security of arms depots improving in some countries. “But there are no quick solutions,” he cautioned, stressing that further progress would require the participation of all parties.
Indeed, controlling the flow of illicit weapons was both a short-term concern and a long-term goal, he continued. Many countries required support in their efforts, and cooperation among States in crucial areas such as weapons tracing remained limited. Moreover, weapons continued to reach areas under Security Council arms embargoes, and an arms trade treaty — which would go a long way towards addressing the havoc caused by small arms — was “long overdue”. He urged renewed efforts towards such a treaty as soon as possible, and stressed that he was counting on Member States to agree on a strong, forward-looking outcome during the present Conference. “Our collective responsibility is clear: to prevent the flow of small arms into post-conflict areas and into the hands of warlords and traffickers,” he emphasized.
SARAH PARKER, United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), then presented a summary of that agency’s new report, “A Decade of Implementing the United Nations Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons: Analysis of National Reports”, saying it was divided into three parts: a statistical overview of reporting; an in-depth analysis of thematic implementation; and key conclusions and findings. A total of 668 national reports had been submitted to date, she said, adding that, overall, a total of 161 Member States had submitted a national report every year since 2002, while 32 had never submitted one.
Describing several trends emerging from the report, she said 168 Member States had established a point of contact or focal point on small arms and light weapons. With respect to manufacture, 80 per cent of reporting States said they had some form of manufacturing controls in place, 40 per cent said they marked weapons at the time of manufacture, while 10 per cent said they did so at the time of import, allowing for identification of the importing country. Some 80 per cent of reporting States had export and import controls in place, while 70 per cent had transit controls in place. A quarter of reporting States had specific brokering controls in place. However, she emphasized that despite the availability of such information, national reports did not present a comprehensive picture of global implementation efforts. More complete information was needed for an accurate assessment of progress and gaps in the Programme’s implementation.
EDEN CHARLES (Trinidad and Tobago), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said the Programme of Action had been born of a common concern that the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons had widespread and negative impacts for all States. “That shared concern and collective responsibility binds us today,” he added, noting that the CARICOM region had suffered acutely from the effects of the illicit trade. In many meetings, the region’s representatives had pointed to the devastating impacts of the trade on its economy, development and security. CARICOM States were neither manufacturers nor exporters of small arms, yet, “despite this, our region is awash in small arms and light weapons and ammunition”. More than 1.6 million small arms were estimated to be in circulation in the region.
The present Conference was an opportune occasion to strengthen the Programme of Action and to reaffirm the region’s commitment to the document as a “single normative framework” to combat the illicit trade, he continued. CARICOM member States, at both the national and regional levels, had undertaken measures to implement the Programme, including by improving legislation, acquiring the necessary technology for marking and tracing weapons, and improving the security of Government-held stockpiles. CARICOM had also established the necessary regional instructions and frameworks, and had adopted the regional Declaration on Small Arms and Light Weapons in order to shape a framework for region-wide action, he said, adding that it was also working towards those goals bilaterally and multilaterally.
He went on to state that CARICOM also remained steadfastly committed to the International Tracing Instrument, “a critical practical tool for deterring the entry of small arms and light weapons into illicit trade”, emphasizing that major producing States had particular responsibilities in that area. He recalled that CARICOM had previously called for: strengthening capacity-building, particularly in such areas as prosecutorial and forensic techniques; placing a greater focus on strengthening cross-border controls at the global level, including through the establishment of an interagency mechanism for that purpose; a clear mandate and objectives for the follow-up process; exploring effective ways of measuring implementation of the Programme of Action; and the creation of a trust fund to support implementation. “The price of inaction is too high,” he stressed, adding that following the failure of Member States to agree on an arms trade treaty in July, it was particularly critical to agree on a strong outcome to the present Conference. “The eyes of the world are on us again.”
IOANNIS VRAILAS, Deputy Head, Delegation of the European Union, said that 11 years after the adoption of the Programme of Action, the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons constituted a huge impediment to peace and security, growth, development and safety in the world. The Programme remained the key universal starting point for further action on small arms and light weapons at the national, regional and international levels, and the Review Conference should adopt a substantial outcome document reaffirming the commitment to full implementation of both the Programme and the International Tracing Instrument. The Conference must also assess the progress made in implementation of the two while exploring ways to strengthen their implementation and focusing on those areas in which further significant concerted efforts were needed.
He went on to underline that a way forward must be designed eventually to achieve the common goals set in 2001 — reducing the death and suffering caused by small arms and light weapons while preventing combat and eradicating the serious impact of their spread and accumulation on conflict, development and human rights. The Review Conference should build on the existing obligations of the Programme of Action and the International Tracing Instrument. Its outcome should highlight those issues where improvements were mostly needed in the future, including suggestions on how weaknesses in implementation should be overcome.
As at the first Review Conference, he continued, the European Union remained convinced that efforts to control small arms and light weapons must still be intensified, particularly in those areas where significant obstacles to full implementation persisted. Remaining strongly committed to fighting the spread and misuse of small arms and light weapons around the world, it had supported, through a Security Council decision adopted in July 2011, the preparation of the present Review Conference by organizing, among other things, meetings in Bali, Kingston and Nairobi on advancing implementation of the Programme at the regional level, and by supporting the development and implementation of United Nations technical guidelines for managing ammunition stockpiles. Another regional meeting would take place in Cairo, he added.
REGINA MARIA CORDEIRO DUNLOP (Brazil), speaking on behalf of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), said the group’s members remained concerned about the effects of the manufacture, transfer and circulation of firearms and ammunition, as well as their proliferation in the hands of civilians, which, in many regions, had various consequences and posed a challenge to the sustainable development of societies. Reiterating MERCOSUR’s concern about the close link between the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons and organized crime, she said the Review Conference should reaffirm the objectives of the Programme of Action and make a reliable diagnosis of their implementation in order to identify areas that needed strengthening.
The Review Conference should also ensure that the Programme was complementary to other existing instruments, she continued. For effective implementation, it was important to establish precise follow-up mechanisms with a clear mandate for meetings that could provide substantive results, reflected in the final document, with specific measures or recommendations for States. The Programme must necessarily include ammunitions and explosives when it referred to illicit trade in small arms and light weapons “in all its aspects”. One of the remaining challenges for implementation of the Programme was to approach it in an integral manner, she said.
The Review Conference presented a unique opportunity to reaffirm the commitment to full implementation of the recommendations of the International Tracing Instrument, she said, adding that the scope of that instrument also needed to be expanded to include ammunition and to give it a legally binding nature. MERCOSUR reiterated the importance of incorporating gender and age perspectives into the Programme’s implementation, which would help the most vulnerable segments of society. Similarly, promoting a culture of dialogue and peace, crime and conflict prevention, as well as social inclusion, were necessary measures to complement and further improve the prevention and combating of the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, she said.
YUSRA KHAN (Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, reaffirmed the validity of the Programme of Action and called for full implementation of the International Tracing Instrument. The Movement recognized a “significant imbalance” in the production and possession of as well as the trade in conventional weapons between the industrialized and non-aligned countries, and called on the former to reduce their production, possession and trade. It further called on all States — major producing States in particular — to ensure that the supply of small arms and light weapons was limited only to Governments or Government-authorized entities. Expressing disappointment in the inability of the last Review Conference, held in 2006, to agree on an outcome document, he encouraged all States to consider the recommendations of the final document of the 2010 Biennial Meeting of States, while emphasizing that the procedure followed in adopting that outcome should not represent a precedent for the future.
Further underlining that international assistance and cooperation were essential to full implementation of the Programme, he said the Movement encouraged developed States as well as international and regional organizations to render financial and technical cooperation and assistance in areas including weapons collection and destruction, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, stockpile management, marking, tracing and record-keeping, legislation and others. The Movement also encouraged States to increase the channelling of capacity-building, training and equipment to developing countries, including such technology as mobile X-ray gates, body scanners, advanced radar systems and protective measures such as bullet-proof jackets. It also encouraged States to consider establishing and improving mechanisms such as trust fund arrangements, under United Nations auspices, for the mobilization of reliable resources to developing countries.
BERNADETTE CAVANAGH (New Zealand), speaking on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum, warned that the impact of even a small number of illicit weapons in tightly-knit communities such as those in the Pacific could be devastating. Indeed, conflicts fuelled by small arms and light weapons had exacted a terrible toll on the people of the Solomon Islands, among others, during the 1990s, she recalled. Today, effectively addressing the threats posed by small arms continued to pose challenges for small States with limited human, technical and financial resources. Regional approaches, therefore, had proven vital to Pacific States in supporting national policies and activities.
Drawing on regional frameworks, Pacific States had adopted a range of national measures to address challenges related to small arms and light weapons and advance implementation of the Programme of Action, including the declaration of weapons-free zones, gun amnesties, national small arms and light weapons conferences and summits, and projects to strengthen legislation, stockpile management and firearms registration. She said regional initiatives included the development of such resources as the Model Weapons Bill and the Firearms Safety Manual; training in weapons-management and the destruction of surplus weapons; and the development of guidelines to direct regional initiatives. Oversight of such regional activities was provided by the Forum Regional Security Committee through annual meetings of the Forum’s leaders.
Following the most recent meeting, she continued, the Forum members had agreed on a number of further actions, including the preparation of a gap analysis to indentify national legislative needs and of a national implementation matrix to identify priority areas for assistance and support. A number of related issues had been highlighted at the most recent Pacific regional workshop, and were of relevance to the present Review Conference, she continued. They included: the negative impact that conflicts and violence fuelled by small arms and light weapons could have on sustainable development and poverty alleviation; the inherent difficulties faced by Forum member States in submitting reports on implementation of the Programme of Action; and the importance of prioritizing national implementation efforts. The Forum hoped that the United Nations would ensure that reporting templates were as simple and user-friendly as possible, and that all of its concerns would be recognized during the present Review Conference, she stressed.
ABIODUN RICHARDS ADEJOLA (Nigeria), speaking on behalf of the Group of African States, said it remained deeply concerned about the illicit manufacture, transfer and circulation of small arms and light weapons, including their excessive accumulation and uncontrolled spread across the world and the African region in particular. However, the Group reaffirmed the right of each State to manufacture, import and retain small arms and light weapons for its defence and security needs, in exercising its inherent right to individual or collective self-defence, in accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. The Group viewed implementation of the Programme of Action as a significant element in promoting enduring security and stability, and creating conditions for sustainable development in Africa.
Emphasizing that Africa’s further development was tied to the effective prevention of the diversion of such weapons into illicit hands, he said the Nairobi Protocol, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons, Their Ammunition and other Related Materials, as well as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Control of Firearms, Ammunition and Other Related Materials represented noble steps taken on the African continent to reinforce the importance of developing and promoting peace, security and stability as a prerequisite for implementing regional development and integration.
Despite efforts on the continent, however, broader international assistance and cooperation remained essential for the Programme’s full implementation, he said. The African Group therefore called on developed Member States to render cooperation and more technical and financial assistance to developing countries for the realization of the Programme’s overall objectives with a view to eradicating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. Such efforts would promote national and regional initiatives, and assist efforts at the global level. The Group also called for full implementation of the International Tracing Instrument, which could help enhance the effectiveness of existing bilateral, regional and international agreements to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade.
SIMEON LESIRMA, Assistant Minister for Internal Security of Kenya, said small arms posed a big challenge to the lives and economic well-being of his country’s people. Kenya was therefore looking forward to a fruitful outcome from the Review Conference. The country had established a focal point for issues of small arms and light weapons, through whom comprehensively mapping and surveys had been undertaken. A national strategic plan had also been established to promote national and international cooperation on small arms, which remained an important factor in the Programme’s implementation.
Kenya had established border-control mechanisms to enhance security and prevent transfers of small arms, he continued, adding that the country’s approach promoted security by encouraging communities to participate under a community policing framework. Kenya had produced a draft policy that was very explicit on gender and the participation of women. It ensured the integration of gender into all activities and programmes relating to small arms, while ensuring that they were kept and used under strict controls. The Government had also standard procedures put in place for recovered or surrendered firearms, he said, stressing that viewing the issue of small arms through the lens of development would eventually help address major challenges. In that regard, Kenya was working with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on voluntary disarmament and alternative livelihoods.
DJAMEL MOKTEFI (Algeria) said his country had submitted its 2012 national reports on implementation of the Programme of Action and the International Tracing Instrument within the stipulated time, and they were available on the Internet site of the Office for Disarmament Affairs. Aware that the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons constituted a grave danger to peace, security and stability, with implied negative implications for humanitarian and socio-economic challenges, and given that a direct link had been established between that phenomenon and organized transnational crime, Algeria could affirm from its own experience that the Programme of Action remained more relevant than ever before.
He said that his country’s adoption of the Programme and the International Tracing Instrument had permitted better account to be taken of the challenges posed by small arms and light weapons in the design of policies and instruments at the national, regional and international levels. The Programme’s principal advantage lay in its combination of the global approach, guaranteeing a large international mobilization, and the regional and subregional approach, which brought about pragmatic engagements, he continued. Algeria fully supported the integrated and coordinated implementation of those complementary approaches, he said, adding that his country’s Government had elaborated and adopted laws, rules and rigorous administrative procedures in the fields of manufacture, importation, transit and export of small arms and light weapons. National legislation aimed to ensure strict and effective control of arms to prevent their illicit transfer and to ensure that they conformed to Algeria’s international obligations, he said.
PHILIPPA KING (Australia) said: “Every day, more than 1,500 people are killed by small arms-related violence,” adding that fear, suffering and chaos were the daily reality for many others. Such weapons leaked out of stockpiles and were illegally and irresponsibly bought and sold, smuggled and bartered into black and grey markets around the world. “These weapons also perpetuate economic and social disadvantages and entrench poverty,” she noted. As those problems persisted, it was clear that the Programme of Action was even more relevant today than it had been at its adoption in 2001. It provided a comprehensive framework of mutually-reinforcing norms and actions to prevent and combat the destabilizing impact of the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, she said. Pointing out that limited resources and difference capacities continued to present significant impediments to realizing the Programme’s goals, she called on donors to contribute to the proposed multi-donor trust fund, which would aim to increase the flow and flexibility of financial and technical assistance.
She went on to underscore that adopting a robust arms trade treaty that would regulate all conventional weapons — and, by extension, prevent the illegal and irresponsible trade in small arms and light weapons and their ammunition — was a fundamental part of stopping the devastating impact of such weapons on families and societies. Although no agreement had been reached in July, States had walked away with a “strong draft text”, and Australia remained determined to work with all States to finalize a strong and effective treaty as soon as possible. In recognition of the call for more assistance, Australia’s support for small arms programmes around the world was growing, she said, noting that her country provided financial and technical assistance to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Central African Republic, Vanuatu, Tuvalu and others. Regional cooperation had also delivered vital progress, and that area remained ripe for further gains. “We must have [an outcome] document that reaffirms our commitment to the Programme of Action and our determination to improve its implementation,” she stressed. A declaration, two implementation plans and a clear schedule for the follow-up process would enable the Review Conference to identify its priorities going forward, and to determine how to achieve them.
ANTONIO BERNARDINI ( Italy) said he viewed the circulation of the draft outcome document in advance of the Review Conference as a good basis for the next review cycle. It addressed the challenges ahead, identified areas that remained of concern and presented useful solutions. At the end of the Conference, the importance and relevance of the Programme of Action and the International Tracing Instrument would have to be confirmed and enhanced, he said, adding that, due to time constraints, a focused, concrete and result-oriented approach was necessary.
Recalling the importance of the United Nations Firearms Protocol as a key component of international efforts to curb the illicit trade in firearms, and the role of such weapons in transnational organized crime, he said his country had been at the forefront of international efforts to fight such crime through the Palermo Convention. Transparency was also a vital element. Alongside its European Union partners, the Government of Italy supported the inclusion of small arms and light weapons as a permanent category in the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, he said. In conclusion, he called for a decision by the Conference on how to structure the next review cycle, emphasizing that the proliferation of meetings should be avoided in a time of financial constraints.
Mr. KHAN ( Indonesia), speaking in his national capacity, said the Second Review Conference was critical in taking stock of progress or lack of progress in implementing the Programme of Action for the period between 2006 and 2012. It was also critical in addressing shortcomings and coming up with an effective way forward. In that regard, it was crucial to work together constructively, to deploy political will, and to achieve a fitting result, he emphasized. International cooperation and assistance in implementing the Programme and the Instrument was specifically significant for countries and regions lacking the necessary capacities and resources despite their need to increase spending on development.
He said his country saw merit in the Non-Aligned Movement working paper, with its proposals on how international cooperation and assistance could further strengthen the capacities of States to implement the Programme of Action and the International Tracing Instrument. Its recommendations would be considered positively, particularly by those countries as well as regional and international entities in a position to assist. As part of Indonesia’s efforts to ensure the Review Conference’s success, the country had convened a regional meeting in Bali in 2011, during which participants had brainstormed on what more could be done in the regional, national and local domains to address the security and socio-economic threats posed by the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.
FRANCIS ASSISI CHULLIKATT, Permanent Observer for the Holy See, said that supporting the objective of a culture of peace was a crucial international imperative. The first to benefit from stronger implementation of the Programme of Action would be the world’s poorest people, who correctly demanded their right to development. Indeed, it was essential to combat the vicious cycle of destabilization resulting from the perverse use of small arms and light weapons, which could rightly be defined as “weapons of mass destruction of the poor”, he said. Emphasizing aspects of the issue that deserved more attention, he said they included the intimate relationship between weapons and violence and weapons and hatred, coupled with social disintegration.
“Arms cannot be treated simply like any other commercial good,” he stressed. Instead, mechanisms implemented with regard to arms should include: the establishment of adequate standards for the management of stockpiles; the definition of clear criteria for the destruction of weapons; more regulated national controls on the production and transfer of weapons, with a focus on tracing, marking and other activities; the implementation of laws and controls on the illicit arms trade; and the strengthening of border controls and technical assistance to States for implementation of the Programme of Action. It was also important to address not only the supply side, but also the demand for small arms and light weapons, promoting a “real culture of life and of peace” among all members of society, he said, urging member States to combat the culture of criminality and violence, and to address the special needs of conflict-affected children, in particular reunion with their families, as well as their reintegration and rehabilitation.
ERTUĞRUL APAKAN (Turkey) said the excessive and destabilizing accumulation and uncontrolled spread of small arms and light weapons posed a significant threat to global, regional as well as national peace and security. Trafficking in small arms also threatened the social and economic development of many countries. Furthermore, there was a close relationship between the illicit trade and terrorism, organized crime as well as drug and human trafficking. Turkey’s recent history had bitter memories of human suffering from the accumulation of small arms in the hands of terrorist organizations, he said, adding that his country would, therefore, continue staunchly to support international cooperation to combat and eradicate the illicit trade.
Much progress had been achieved since the Programme’s adoption in 2001, he said, noting, however, that it was yet to be implemented fully. Efforts must be redoubled to make the best of the Review Conference. Transfer controls lay at the heart of the matter, and improving them without prejudice to legal transactions between States was among the areas in which further substantive work was required. Additionally, end-user documentation was of fundamental importance for preventing diversion, he said, emphasizing that that aspect should be tackled together with transfer control. As for marking, record-keeping and tracing, he said that despite its shortcomings, the International Tracing Instrument helped to further international cooperation and implementation of the Programme of Action and should therefore be improved.
RITA KAZRAGIENĖ (Lithuania), associating herself with the European Union, said there were an estimated 875 million small arms in circulation worldwide, and that the illicit trade and circulation had a destabilizing effect on all spheres of human life, devastating livelihoods, disrupting development and closing schools and hospitals. “Nevertheless, the magnitude and complexity of the issue does not excuse us from doing out utmost to resolve them,” she said. In order for its negotiations to succeed, the Conference must build upon the work done over the last six years. “In reviewing the Programme of Action, we do not need a repetition of agreed texts,” she stressed. “Time did not stand still since 2001, and we need to look at ways of adapting the Programme of Action to the realities of today and tomorrow.” Lithuania therefore called for substantial and action-oriented implementation plans for the Programme of Action and the International Tracing Instrument that would set clear objectives and performance indicators for the next cycle.
JEAN-FRANCIS RÉGIS ZINSOU (Benin) said that after the aborted attempt to give the world a legally binding instrument to regulate the trade in conventional arms, the Programme of Action and the International Tracing Instrument remained essential documents to which States must, more than ever before, attach all importance in the fight against the proliferation of small arms and light weapons. The entry into force of the Programme and the International Tracing Instrument must constitute a priority objective of the individual and collective efforts of Member States. Benin commended the preparatory process that had led up to the Review Conference, including the regional meetings that had enabled the evaluation of regional implementation of the Programme and the Tracing Instrument.
With regard to West Africa, he pointed out that the Programme equated perfectly with the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons. It was a matter of urgency for the subregion’s countries to establish tracing instruments, in conformity with pertinent sections of the International Tracing Instrument on marking and tracing, so as to ensure the efficiency of the instruments in place. Strengthening assistance to States with limited means remained a priority, he said, adding that it should involve training techniques on marking, making means and techniques available for efficient marking, in particular computers know-how, as well as assistance with the means for moving marking equipment from place to place. Assistance was also needed for the registration of arms and the management of stockpiles after marking operations.
KAZUO KODAMA (Japan) said his delegation had long been engaged in the issue of small arms and light weapons, having been a lead sponsor of the General Assembly’s resolution on that topic since 1995. Highlighting his country’s priorities in two related areas, he said Japan had been extending assistance on stockpile management and weapons destruction, as well as helping to build capacity in Asia, Africa and Latin America. A number of important lessons could be learned from the successful implementation of the Programme in Asian countries, he said, citing the need for comprehensive, simultaneous and inclusive measures for its implementation. They should include: collecting illicit arms in the possession of civilians; putting appropriate stockpile-management measures in place for arms in the possession of security agencies; and destroying illicit and surplus weapons.
“Such a holistic approach will have a synergistic effect,” he said, adding that it was also important to enhance the capacity of law-enforcement agencies and to build confidence between them and civilians. Projects for implementing the Programme of Action should be developed with due consideration of specific situations and the needs of the recipient countries and regions. It was worth noting the various methods for collecting arms, such as programmes for exchanging goods for weapons, education campaigns and increasing law-enforcement capacity. Japan attached importance to the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in the Asia-Pacific Region, and intended to continue its support for it, he said. It was crucial for the Review Conference to agree on a programme for the next intersessional period leading up to the 2018 Review Conference, which would determine the specific priority issues for discussion.
PHAM VINH QUANG (Viet Nam), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that since the 2006 Review Conference, remarkable efforts had been made by countries all over the world to strengthen their implementation capacities and to promote international cooperation, as envisaged by the Programme of Action. However, much remained to be done while conflicts, instability as well as transnational crime and terrorism persisted, he said. To deal with those threats, the international community must pursue “good faith” and redouble efforts to promote the cause of disarmament, especially towards the total elimination of all weapons of mass destruction. National Governments bore primary responsibility for preventing, combating and eradicating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, he said, emphasizing that it was therefore essential that they adhere to the principles of international law and the United Nations Charter, including non-intervention, and respect for sovereign equality and the territorial integrity of States. The right of States to import, produce and retain sufficient means for their legitimate self-defence and security needs, as decided by the States themselves, must also be respected, he stressed.
Under Vietnamese law, the Government fully managed the manufacture, repair and transfer of weapons, he said. Civilians were prohibited from acquiring or possessing small arms and light weapons. The importation of weapons was prohibited and Viet Nam did not export them. Since 2006, it had stepped up the implementation of national measures to improve the management and storage of weapons, and to combat the illicit trade in small arms. Last week, a national conference had been held to review national implementation of related legislation over the past 15 years. At the regional level, Viet Nam had participated in various mechanisms and discussions, especially those under the auspices of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) relating to the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. Most recently, Viet Nam had attended a workshop in Cambodia, and participated in various bilateral meetings within the framework of the Programme of Action, he said, adding that the country had also taken part in the Arms Trade Treaty process.
JOAO MARIA REBELO DE ANDRADE CABRAL (Portugal) said his country believed in the strong role that regional organizations could play in eradicating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. They could make useful contributions in such areas as tracing, he said, highlighting the role of the African Union and the various other bodies on the continent in fostering a regional approach to implementation of the Programme of Action. Portugal encouraged other regional bodies to follow their example. Emphasizing the essential importance of tackling the challenges to human security and social development represented by illicit small arms and light weapons, he said much work remained to be done in the area of gender. There was an under-representation of women in bodies dealing with small arms amid growing evidence of the link between that under-representation and violence against children.
VICTORIA GONZALEZ ROMAN (Spain) said the Review Conference provided a new opportunity to develop the necessary instruments in the struggle against illicit small arms and light weapons. Their accumulation posed a serious threat to national and international security, and was a threat to many States. They fuelled armed conflict and exacerbated violence, she said, noting that her country had launched a series of actions as part of its national strategy to implement the Programme of Action with a view to building and maintaining internal controls over all types of weapons. Spain had also adopted all European Union measures on the control of small arms and light weapons, and was among the countries that had adopted the most stringent standards in that regard. In addition, Spain was involved in the Standing International Committee for man-portable air defence systems, she said.
DONG-IK SHIN (Republic of Korea) acknowledged the remarkable progress made in efforts to curb the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, but noted the disheartening reality that they still caused heavy causalities and suffering around the world, and cautioned against complacency about what had been achieved so far. As the producers, exporters and importers of such arms, States should make their best efforts to ensure that all aspects of managing conventional arms — namely marking, tracing and record-keeping — were in strict adherence to the Programme of Action and the International Tracing Instrument.
He went on to underscore the importance of ongoing discussions on the arms trade treaty, a legal instrument intended to regulate international transfers of conventional weapons. The international community should explore possible synergies and linkages between the arms trade treaty and the Programme of Action, he said, adding that adequate attention was needed to address the question of illicit brokering, an important contributor to the proliferation of small arms as it facilitated and aggravated the illicit trade by linking illegitimate suppliers to potential buyers. Alongside Australia, the Republic of Korea had co-authored General Assembly resolutions on “Preventing and Combating Illicit Brokering Activities” during the world body’s sixty-third and sixty-fifth sessions, he pointed out.
STEVEN COSTNER (United States) encouraged all States to implement the Programme of Action to the fullest extent possible, in particular by building capacity in marking and tracing, while strengthening controls over international transfers. The United States had undertaken such efforts, and had destroyed about 1.6 million surplus, loosely secured or other illicit weapons in several countries since 2001, he said. It had destroyed some 33,000 man-portable air defence systems in 37 countries, and provided assistance by training military personnel. It had also concluded memorandums of understanding with more than 30 Member States to engage in the “e-Trace” programme, and had invited other States to do the same.
He went on to say that his country had provided additional assistance through the Export Control and Related Border Security programme, which worked to detect and interdict the illicit transfer of conventional arms, weapons of mass destruction and other materials. There were other areas in which more strengthening was necessary, he said, citing the need for more efficient international coordination and the sharing of best practices. He also highlighted the need to address gender-based violence, in line with Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) and the Programme of Action itself. It was crucial to include a gender perspective, in particular by enhancing the participation of women in the Programme’s implementation, he said. The United States also encouraged fellow donors to work more closely together, and to avoid duplication of efforts in order to make the best use of scarce resources, he said, urging Member States to work towards better coordination with other meetings and programmes.
RAZA BASHIR TARAR (Pakistan), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the Programme of Action implementation landscape painted a “mixed picture” of progress and challenges. Progress at the national level had been satisfactory, as illustrated by the growth in the number and frequency of reports submitted by States. Progress at the international level had been relatively more significant, with the adoption of the International Tracing Instrument in 2005 presenting a concrete manifestation in the context of the Programme of Action.
For its part, the Government of Pakistan had taken several steps to promote implementation of the Programme, he said. It had filed national implementation reports at regular intervals, and, in 2011, it had established the Inter-Ministerial Group to address the small arms and light weapons-related issues in an integrated manner. Among other important initiatives, the Group had adopted policy guidelines on the export of conventional arms, setting a national evaluation mechanism to regulate the trade in arms.
The complex nature of the challenges arising from the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons demanded a comprehensive and integrated approach, he continued. While the Programme of Action and the International Tracing Instrument were important steps, greater attention was now required to address issues relating to demand for small arms And light weapons, as well. Demand was manifested in the unresolved disputes festering in various regions and subregions, the growth of terrorist activities and the rise of narcotic drugs and organized crime, he said.
Mr. CHARLES (Trinidad and Tobago), speaking in his national capacity, said that in its 2008 national report on implementation of the Programme of Action, Trinidad and Tobago had pointed out that the English-speaking Caribbean had not escaped the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. At that time, it had described such weapons as the single most significant instrument of crime leading to public fear. As a result, the country had put legislative and other measures in place to implement the Programme and the Tracing Instrument so as to cover several aspects of its international obligations, including criminalizing illicit gun production, establishing a national coordination agency on small arms, identifying and destroying stocks of surplus weapons, keeping track of officially-held guns and engaging in more information exchange.
The Prime Minister had the lead responsibility in the quasi-cabinet of the Caribbean Community for matters relating to crime and security, he continued. Consequently, Trinidad and Tobago had a special responsibility for promoting and facilitating the region’s common interests and objectives in addressing the proliferation of small arms and light weapons. In that regard, Trinidad and Tobago had hosted a number of regional seminars and conferences on the issue, with the support of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) and the Governments of Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Trinidad and Tobago subscribed fully to the principles of shared responsibility and international cooperation, and reiterated its commitment to working with other members of the global community as it continued to fulfil its obligations under the Programme of Action and the International Tracing Instrument.
JAKKRIT SRIVALI (Thailand) said small arms and light weapons were linked to transnational crime, drug trafficking, terrorism and human rights violations, which imposed devastating humanitarian and socio-economic costs. Thailand, therefore, valued the Programme of Action and the International Tracing Instrument as the main multilateral frameworks for curbing their proliferation and promoting responsible action by States to that end. As an importer of small arms and light weapons, Thailand had always striven to exercise effective control over their transfer, especially imports, he said. Recent developments in that regard included the revision of the national inter-agency coordinating committee, which served as the main policymaking and information-sharing entity, in order to enhance the efficiency of national efforts for implementation of the Programme of Action.
Significant progress had also been made on the legislative front, particularly on the proposed revision of the Firearms Act, Thailand’s key legislation regulating the transfer of small arms and light weapons, he said. The proposed revision included an update of definitions, increased penal sanctions and more specific details on marking procedures. When completed, the revisions would lead to more effective implementation of the Programme of Action, he said. Owing to the transnational nature of the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, the way to effectively address its impact was to work in a concerted manner, both regionally and internationally. At the regional level, Thailand had been cooperating closely with other member countries of the Association of South-East Asian Nations in implementing the Programme through the ASEAN Ministerial and Senior Officials Meetings on Transnational Crime and ASEANPOL.
ANTHONY SIMPSON (New Zealand), speaking in his national capacity, said the basic framework for controlling the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons had been established, strong partnerships formed and significant progress made. But the Programme of Action had also faced challenges, he pointed out. For example, it was “dogged by distrust” in New York, and faced gaps in implementation. Moreover, where it had been implemented, there was still little understanding of its impact or effectiveness. Chronic conflict, instability and crime had not abated, and in some regions they had become more acute. Those facts made the Programme and the International Tracing Instrument as important and relevant today as in 2001, placing a heavy burden on all parties to ensure that the Review Conference agreed on a strong and effective outcome.
“This outcome must also be credible, and must add value to our future efforts,” he continued, emphasizing that it must realistically acknowledge successes and shortcomings, while charting the way forward in future years. Important gaps remained in the Programme’s framework, including with regard to the role of ammunition and border controls. However, the greatest challenge was full and effective implementation of its existing provisions, he said. A wealth of tools was now available at the international level, such as guidelines, model legislation and INTERPOL’s Firearms Programme, among others. It would be timely to enhance awareness of those tools and to encourage their voluntary uptake. National reporting was another important tool, he said, noting that many small States continued to face challenges in that regard. New Zealand therefore supported the creation of simpler reporting templates.
BYRGANYM AITIMOVA (Kazakhstan) proposed that Member States submit more specific data on how the Programme of Action was implemented at the national level. Many had yet to develop their own comprehensive programmes of action on small arms and light weapons, and corresponding structures, and should do so speedily. Each State should work to establish adequate stockpile management capacity and security, and to ensure effective implementation of the United Nations Firearms Protocol and the International Tracing Instrument, she said. Just as crucial were the steps necessary to prevent the illicit proliferation of surface-to-air man-portable air defence systems and their components. That called for an exchange of best practices, capacity-building, technical assistance, improved measurability, use of web-based information platforms, and matching assistance needs with available resources.
She went on to propose that the Group of Experts continue to develop norms for measuring effectiveness in curbing brokering and the illegal manufacture, import and export of small arms and light weapons. The small arms and light weapons component should be firmly included in the content and modalities of the arms trade treaty and in the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms. The Security Council would have to address the challenges posed by small arms and light weapons in relation to human security, she said, adding in that regard that Member States should pay special attention to women and children, with increased representation of the former at all decision-making levels and with a specific link between the Programme of Action and Security Council resolution 1325 (2000). The Government of Kazakhstan had been successful in uncovering crimes involving the use of firearms and explosions, as a result of which thousands of small arms had been taken out of illegal circulation, she said, adding that today the country was trying to enact national legislation on export control.
EDUARDO JOSE ATIENZA DE VEGA (Philippines), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said implementation of the Programme of Action was the best way for individual countries to address the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. At the national level, the Philippines used authenticated end-user certificates and did not re-transfer small arms. It looked forward to the expansion of the scope of the national firearm law to include small arms and light weapons, and further reiterated its call on producer States — which had a specific responsibility to curb the illicit trade — to supply weapons only to legitimate Governments and parties authorized by them. He also underscored the importance of complying with arms embargoes established by the United Nations. States should also be able to exchange knowledge and expertise, particularly in the area of records-keeping, he said.
JIM KELLY (Ireland) said that his country could point to certain areas of tangible progress in the Programme of Action’s implementation, but shortcomings in the implementation of other parts should also be acknowledged. The sharing of information between States and within the United Nations system represented a key element of the Programme, both in enabling States to meet minimum and best standards and in tackling the illicit trade in small arms. Efforts to broaden and deepen information exchange must be maintained, he said, adding that the full implementation of other instruments, including the United Nations Firearms Protocol and the International Tracing Instrument, was critical to the fight against the illicit small arms trade.
The international community should remain conscious of the connection between the various strands of work on global arms control and the fight against the illicit trade, he continued, stressing that a strong, robust and transparent arms trade treaty would make a vital contribution to efforts to eliminate the illicit small arms trade. While the recent negotiating conference had not resulted in a final agreement, very substantial progress had been made, he said. Ireland would continue to work with determination, alongside many other committed States from all regions, towards the early adoption of the treaty, he said, adding that his country believed in sharing expertise. Since the Programme’s adoption, Ireland had provided more than €2 million in direct assistance to projects aimed at combating the illicit small arms trade.
VOLODYMYR LESCHENKO (Ukraine) said his country continued to consider the Programme of Action as one of the most important tools in global efforts to combat the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. Ukraine supported proper implementation of the Programme of Action and the International Tracing Instrument by all States. It had enacted adequate legislation and had put appropriate procedures in place to exercise effective control of small arms as part of its implementation of the Programme of Action. The country also attached great importance to ensuring effective export-control procedures, including in the sphere of brokering activities that met all standing international requirements.
Ukraine also adhered strictly to decisions of the Security Council, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Wassenaar Arrangement, he continued. Security Council resolutions imposing sanctions served as guidelines for the adoption of relevant legislation and regulations in Ukraine, and were strictly implemented by the national authorities. A number of national acts adopted by the Parliament, the President and the Cabinet were currently being used to regulate all activities relating to export control, including for small arms and light weapons, he said. Ukraine also cooperated closely with participating States of OSCE in developing effective measures aimed at eradicating the illegal proliferation of small arms and light weapons.
Mr. RAJA ZAIB SHAH (Malaysia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the Review Conference came at a critical time for the international disarmament machinery. “Success has been far and few in between,” he said, calling for an outcome that would meet the international community’s expectations. Moreover, while times may have changed since the 2006 Review Conference, the challenges posed by the illicit small arms trade had not, he stressed. Clearly, it still represented a major threat to international peace and security, and addressing their proliferation called for a holistic approach, including social and economic development and other related factors.
While the Programme was not legally binding, it provided guidelines and parameters for dealing with the problem while allowing States to collaborate and cooperate at various levels, he said. It was important that the Review Conference provide the Programme with renewed vigour and ensure that it received a “new breath of life”, he continued. Lengthy discussions on new instruments were not needed. “We need to move the Programme of Action forward, not move it back,” he emphasized before reviewing several national, regional and international initiatives that his country had undertaken to combat the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, including in the sphere of civil society. Despite failures on small arms and light weapons, the Programme of Action had the strength to stand on its own, he said.
Mr. VIPUL (India), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that, like many other States, his country’s national security had been adversely affected by terrorism, transnational organized crime, drug trafficking, piracy and the illegal exploitation of natural resources, in all of which the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons played a crucial role. Full and effective implementation of the Programme of Action was therefore a priority for India. Reviewing his delegation’s expectations for the Review Conference, he said it should provide Member States with a valuable opportunity to reaffirm the obligations stipulated in the Programme, and to reiterate their commitment to implementing them. It was also an occasion for a comprehensive review of progress in implementation of the Programme so as to identify gaps and suggest concrete measures that must be undertaken to implement it fully.
Member States should commit to making further substantive progress in implementation by the Third Review Conference, he continued, adding that the current Conference should indicate the way ahead in strengthening international cooperation and assistance to enable States lacking capacity and seeking international assistance to implement the Programme. With regard to the next intersessional programme of meetings, he said the distinct but related nature of review conferences and biennial and expert group meetings should be maintained. Meetings of Government experts could focus on practical issues relevant to implementation at the national, regional and international levels, but the proliferation of reports, meetings and, indeed, new mechanisms, should be avoided, he urged. Instead, existing follow-up mechanisms should be reinforced and related clearly to the core obligations of the Programme of Action.
DETLEV WOLTER ( Germany) said it had been witnessed in the Sahel earlier this year how uncontrolled arms proliferation could spread instability, violence and crime. A similar danger loomed in Syria. In particular, dangerous weapons like man-portable air defence systems posed a risk for civil aviation worldwide and should therefore be treated with special attention. He said that in implementing the International Tracing Instrument, new technologies could offer new opportunities. The Conference could encourage States to take advantage of improved forensic possibilities and enhanced instruments to trace weapons and ammunition, like the INTERPOL Firearms Tracing System or Ballistic Information Network, he said.
Stressing the important part that regional organizations could play and the vital role of the United Nations in global coordination efforts, he said it was also important to enhance the role of women in the security sector, including in the field of small arms control. Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) affirmed the important role of women in preventing and resolving conflicts and in peacebuilding, he noted. Another subject dear to Germany was children in armed conflict. States had turned their attention to that sensitive issue, and Security Council resolution 1612 (2005) called on them to ban all transfers of weapons, small arms in particular, to States where children were subject to abuse in armed conflict. That development should be reflected when implementing the Programme of Action, he emphasized.
OLIVIER MAES (Luxembourg) said his country attached great importance to multilateral efforts in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation. Proliferation and uncontrolled stockpiling of small arms and light weapons constituted a menace to international peace and security and, as such, to development and global growth. The Programme of Action was a key instrument in combating the illicit small arms trade, capable of helping reduce the proliferation of light weapons and controlling stocks. Luxembourg did not produce arms and had, on 3 August 2011, introduced a new national law on arms and ammunition by which it was implementing the European directive relative to control of the acquisition and retention of arms. That law included detailed definitions of all aspects of the trafficking in and illicit manufacture of firearms and their parts, he said, adding that it also identified the procedure for marking such arms.
ALFREDO FERNANDO TORO-CARNEVALI (Venezuela) said his country remained seriously concerned about the manufacture, transfer and circulation of small arms and light weapons, as well as their negative consequences around the world. It was therefore important to continue building national capacities and to consolidate international assistance towards strengthening the Programme of Action. Taking stock of Venezuela’s efforts to eradicate small arms, he said it had established a presidential commission for the control of small arms. It had launched a wide-ranging national survey involving more than 20,000 individuals to gather ideas that would help address the problem of firearms. The result of the survey formed part of the new national framework and included a prohibition on granting new firearms licences for one year, and the implementation of a laser marking system that would incorporate recent technology at the point of manufacture. Since 2003, Venezuela had destroyed more than 200,000 firearms seized by national forces, he noted.
PATRICK LE MENES (France), associating himself with the European Union, said the Programme of Action was a general framework of regional and national initiatives, and recalled that the International Tracing Instrument had been the fruit of an initiative of his country, among other parties. Indeed, the Instrument was one of the most important specific results emerging from the adoption of the Programme of Action, he noted. Important progress had been made over 11 years, including greater regional mobilization and the adoption of more regional conventions combating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. While France would have been happy to see stronger intersessional efforts, it was nonetheless pleased with those results, he said. The Review Conference should consider the format of subsequent meetings, he said, noting that consultations during meetings of the Preparatory Committee had allowed States to discuss draft outcome documents, thereby providing a good basis for working towards the adoption of such a text.
* *** *For information media • not an official record