Continuing CHAPTER III Conventional weapons issues

Developments and Trends, 2004

The international efforts to address the SALW problem continued to register progress in the global implementation of the PoA. The open-ended working group to negotiate an international instrument to enable States to identify and trace, in a timely and reliable manner, illicit small arms and light weapons (OEWG)1 began its negotiations on an international instrument and progress was made. Four broad-based consultations on further steps to enhance international cooperation to prevent, combat and eradicate illicit brokering in SALW2 were organized by the Department of Disarmament Affairs (DDA or the Department) in New York and in Geneva with the participation of Member States, international, regional and subregional organizations as well as civil society organizations. A Security Council Presidential Statement3 was issued after the Council held an open debate on the SALW issue, by which the Council, among other things, encouraged arms exporting countries to exercise the highest degree of responsibility in SALW transactions.
A number of positive developments in the fight against SALW proliferation were also registered in other fora outside the United Nations. In April, States in the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa adopted the Nairobi Protocol for the Prevention, Control and Reduction of SALW in the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa. ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) decided to transform its Moratorium on the Importation, Exportation and Manufacture of Small Arms and Light Weapons in West Africa (ECOWAS Moratorium)4 into a new legally- binding instrument. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on the Control of Firearms, Ammunition and Other Related Materials entered into force on 8 November.
This year, the General Assembly adopted an unprecedented resolution5 aimed at preventing the illicit transfer of, unauthorized access to and use of man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS). The MANPADS issue was also addressed in other fora. In order to further enhance public security by reducing the threat of MANPADS, on 9 June the G8 summit (Sea Island, United States), agreed, among other things, on a set of actions to implement and expand the scope of the 2003 Evian MANPADS plan.6 These actions included accelerating efforts to destroy excess and/or obsolete MANPADS and providing assistance to do so where needed; working towards adoption of the updated 2003 Wassenaar "Elements for Export Controls on MANPADS" as an international standard; further strengthening controls on transfers of MANPADS production technology to deter marketing of those systems by countries that do not maintain strong export controls standards; establishing a best practices document to serve as an international standard on optimal methods for securely storing MANPADS; developing a methodology to be used by G8 countries for assessing airport vulnerability to the MANPADS threat, as well as effective countermeasures, taking into account the study conducted by International Civil Aviation Organization; and improving methods for enhancing MANPADS identification techniques as well as countermeasures against smuggling.7
Progress towards the conclusion of an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT),8 first proposed in October 1995 by a group of Nobel Peace Laureates led by Oscar Arias gained momentum and drew the support of more than thirty countries. The United Kingdom became one of its major proponents.
By SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) estimates,9 the volume of global trade in major conventional weapons increased in 2003, estimated at $18.7 billion calculated in constant 1990 prices. This is the highest figure in the past five years.
In view of the voluntary nature of the UN Register of Conventional Arms, participation in the instrument remained at a high level with 115 States reporting for the calendar year 2003. As a result of the technical adjustments made to the Register's scope on the recommendation of the Group of Governmental Experts in 2003, some States reported their transfers and holdings of SALW as well as MANPADS.
Military expenditures continued to rise both globally and in many regions of the world. According to figures published by SIPRI,10 world military expenditure in 2004 was estimated to have been $975 billion at constant (2003) prices and exchange rates of $1035 billion in current dollars. This is just six per cent lower in real terms than at the 1987-88 peak of cold war world military spending. As a global average, 2004 world military expenditure corresponds to $162 per capita and 2.6 per cent of world GDP. The major determinant of the world trend in military expenditure was the change in US defense spending, which makes up 47 per cent of the world total. United States military expenditure increased rapidly during the period 2002-2004 as a result of massive budgetary allocations for what it described as the global war on terrorism, primarily for military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.11
Following the adoption of the Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War (Protocol V) in November 2003, the GGE turned its attention to the issue of mines other than anti-personnel mines (MOTAMP), which had raised serious humanitarian concerns due to the significant risk they posed to civil populations both during conflict and long after the cessation of hostilities. In accordance with the GGE mandate, further "exploration" of the ERW issue would continue.12
The First Review Conference of the Mine-Ban Convention, referred to as the "Nairobi Summit on a Mine-Free World", was held in that city from 29 November to 3 December. The Conference reviewed progress made in implementing the Convention since its entry into force in 1999 and identified pending challenges. The Conference adopted a 70-point "Nairobi Action Plan" aimed at overcoming continuing challenges. There were 144 States parties to the Convention at the time of the Review Conference, pending adherence by several major military powers. The pursuit of universal adherence to the Convention remains an important priority for the international community.

1Established by resolution 58/241 of 23 December 2003.
2Mandated by General Assembly resolution 59/242.
4The Moratorium was adopted by the Heads of State and Government of the ECOWAS countries in Abuja on 31 October 1998.
6Enhance Transport Security and Control of Man-Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS): A G8 Action Plan. Available from http://www.g8. fr/evian/english/2003.
8The ATT seeks to establish a binding international agreement to control the arms trade according to established principles of human rights, humanitarian law, sustainable development and peaceful international relations. It would ban the transfer of arms that could be used to seriously violate international human rights standards and international humanitarian law and would require exporting states to avoid the sale of weapons that could have an adverse impact on sustainable development or regional peace and security.
9See SIPRI web site:
11 contents/milap/milex/mex_trends.html.
12By the end of 2004, three States had notified the depositary of their consent to be bound by Protocol V: Lithuania, Sierra Leone and Sweden. See CCW/MSP/2004/2, Annex VIII.