Register of Conventional Arms makes progress
New York, 28 July - 1 August 2003

The 2003 Group of Governmental Experts on the continuing operation and further development of the Register of Conventional Arms successfully concluded its work by adopting a consensus report that will be submitted to the forthcoming General Assembly session.

This was the fourth review of the Register and the first time since its establishment in 1992 that agreement was reached on significant technical adjustments to some categories of conventional arms.

The Group of Govenmental Experts at the Final Meeting
Experts from twenty-four Member States, representing various geographical regions, participated in the work of the Group, which was appointed by the Secretary-General pursuant to General Assembly resolution 57/75. For composition of the Group see disarmament.un.org/cab/register.html

Technical adjustments agreed

The Group recommended that technical adjustments be made to two of the seven categories. Specifically, it proposed that the reporting threshold for large-calibre artillery systems should be lowered from 100 to 75 millimetres thus making the Register more relevant to Africa, where most armed conflicts over the past decade have involved artillery systems of that calibre. In addition.

Man-Portable Air-Defence Systems (MANPADS) were recommended for inclusion because of heightened concerns that they might fall into the hands of terrorists, given recent reports of attempts by groups to use them against commercial airliners. Transparency in the transfer of MANPADS is an essential element in broad-based international efforts to prevent their illicit transfers.

The Group also discussed the extent to which States have been voluntarily reporting to the Register on procurement through national production and military holdings and acknowledged that States that wished to do so could include transfers of small arms and light weapons in their national submissions.