Small Arms Conference

A Programme of Action

Guns and All

UN Study on Missiles

Survey of Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education

Civil Society - A Vital Presence

CD Appoints Coordinators


March 2001

December 2000
September 2000
June 2000
March 2000

December 1999
September 1999
June 1999

October 1998

A Programme of Action

   To prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons (SALW), the States participants in the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Lights Weapons in All Its Aspects adopted a wide range of political undertakings at the national, regional and global levels. Among others, they undertook to: 

At the national level 

  • put in place, where they do not exist, adequate laws, regulations and    administrative procedures to exercise effective control over the production of SALW within their areas of jurisdiction, and over the export, import, transit or retransfer of such weapons, 
  •  identify groups and individuals engaged in the illegal manufacture, trade, stockpiling, transfer, possession, as well as financing for acquisition, of illicit SALW, and take action under appropriate national law against such groups and individuals; 
  • ensure that licensed manufacturers apply appropriate and reliable marking on each SALW as an integral part of the production process; 
  • ensure that comprehensive and accurate records are kept for as long as possible on the manufacture, holding and transfer of SALW under its jurisdiction,
  • ensure responsibility for all SALW held and issued by the State and effective measures for tracing such weapons; 
  • put in place and implement adequate laws, regulations and administrative procedures to ensure the effective control over the export and transit of SALW, including the use of authenticated end-user certificates;
  • make every effort, without prejudice to the right of States to re-export SALW that they have previously imported, to notify the original exporting State in accordance with their bilateral agreements before the retransfer of those weapons;
  • develop adequate national legislation or administrative procedures regulating the activities of those who engage in SALW brokering; 
  • take appropriate measures against any activity that violates a United Nations Security Council arms embargo; 
  • ensure confiscated, seized or collected SALW are destroyed; 
  • ensure that armed forces, police and any other body authorized to hold SALW establish adequate and detailed standards and procedures relating to the management and security of their stocks of these weapons; 
  • develop and implement, where possible, effective disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes; 
  • address the special needs of children affected by armed conflict. 

At the regional level 

  • encourage regional negotiations with the aim of concluding relevant legally binding instruments aimed at preventing, combat and eradicating the illicit trade, and where they doexist to ratify and fully implement them; 
  • encourage the strengthening and establishing of moratoria or similar initiatives in affected regions or subregions on the transfer and manufacture of SALW;
  • establish subregional or regional mechanisms, in particular trans-border customs cooperation and networks for information-sharing among law-enforcement, border and customs control agencies; 
  • encourage regions to develop measures to enhance transparency to combat the illicit trade in SALW. 

At the global level

  • cooperate with the United Nations system to ensure the effective implementation of arms embargoes decided b the Security Council; 
  • encourage disarmament and demobilization of ex-combatants and their reintegration into civilian life; 
  • encourage States and the World Customs Organization to enhance cooperation with the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) to identify those groups and individuals engaged in the illicit trade in SALW in all its aspects; 
  • encourage international and regional organizations and States to facilitate the appropriate cooperation of civil society, including non-governmental organizations, in activities related to the prevention, combat and eradication of the illicit trade in SALW; 
  • promote a dialogue and a culture of peace by encouraging education and public awareness programmes on the problems of the illicit trade in SALW.


Click here to view & print this issue in PDF.


Disarmament Home Resources Special Features Comment/Enquiries Site Index  Search  


Copyright 2001 UN Department of Disarmament Affairs.