The year 2004 witnessed an increased number of initiatives at the national, subregional and regional levels to further implement the PoA. There was also a growing awareness of the problem of illicit trade in SALW due in part to a more active involvement of civil society in the efforts to address the problem. At the global level, significant progress was registered in the areas of marking and tracing of SALW with the OEWG undertaking substantive work to conclude an international instrument on the subject. As requested by the General Assembly, the Department organized several broad-based consultations on further steps to enhance international cooperation to prevent, combat and eradicate illicit brokering of SALW, which drew the participation of Member States, international, regional and subregional organizations as well as civil society organizations. Despite the progress made by the international community in this area, the proliferation and misuse of SALW continued to pose a serious threat to peace and security in many regions of the world, especially in conflict situations.
For the first time, the General Assembly adopted a resolution aimed at preventing the illicit transfer of, unauthorized access to and use of MANPADS. Debate on the conclusion of ATT also gained some momentum.
The two UN instruments - the Register of Conventional Arms and the standardized instrument for reporting military expenditures - continued to contribute to building transparency in military matters. Although both instruments witnessed a major increase in the number of reporting States over the past four years, differences among Member States continued, especially regarding the Register's scope. Despite these differences, the general trend continued to be in the direction of greater transparency in the interest of increased confidence-building among States on military matters.
The continuing rise in global military spending is an issue of great concern. According to SIPRI, the global military expenditure broke the one-trillion USD barrier in 2004. Experts predicted that the trend of increase in military expenditures will continue in the coming years.
The CCW process aimed at addressing the threat posed by certain types of inhuman weapons continued. The Group of Governmental Experts turned its attention to the issue of mines other than anti-personnel mines due to the significant risk they posed to civilian populations both during the conflict and long after the end of the hostilities. The Nairobi Summit on a Mine-Free World adopted the 2004 Nairobi Declaration entitled Towards a mine-free world
and the Nairobi Action Plan 2005-2009 manifesting States parties renewed commitment to achieving the goal of a world free of anti-personnel mines.