Existing Tools Aimed at Illicit Small Arms Trade Must Better Connect Assistance Needs with Resources, Say Speakers at Biennial Meeting

15 June 2010
DC/3248

Existing Tools Aimed at Illicit Small Arms Trade Must Better Connect Assistance Needs with Resources, Say Speakers at Biennial Meeting

15 June 2010
General Assembly
DC/3248
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Fourth Biennial Meeting of States

on Illicit Trade in Small Arms

3rd & 4th Meetings (AM & PM)

Existing Tools Aimed at Illicit Small Arms Trade Must Better Connect

 

Assistance Needs with Resources, Say Speakers at Biennial Meeting

 

International Cooperation in Implementing 2001 Action Programme Focus;

Delegates Told — ‘Bottom Line Is’ Developing Countries Need Assistance

Fine-tuning existing tools to stem the flow of the nefarious illicit arms trade topped a volley of suggestions that were the focus of debate today as the Fourth Biennial Meeting of States on combating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons continued.

The Biennial Meetings had indeed come a long way towards broadening international cooperation and assistance, along with creating systems to match needs with resources to stamp out the scourge of illegal arms, a representative of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) told delegates.  She stressed, however, that existing tools and processes urgently needed to be honed to ensure the successful implementation of the Programme of Action.  Further, more needed to be done to improve checklists and systems that partnered States with the resources needed to fight the illegal arms trade.

A case in point was a web-based tool already integrated into the Programme of Action implementation system platform, making it possible to recognize needs, Japan’s representative said.  The problem was that the available information was not specific enough, she said, suggesting the use of UNIDIR’s existing needs checklist as a part of the web-based system.  A comprehensive approach to providing assistance was also needed, and it was important that small arms programmes be integrated into development programming at the national level.

However, Venezuela’s representative cautioned that new initiatives might duplicate existing efforts, and she urged that cooperation should be built upon realities in the world’s regions, tailored for each State or cooperation partnership.  Still, in-depth discussions were needed to delve into areas of practical coordination on cross-border issues and aspects of shared responsibility.

Other speakers drew attention to a number of related issues.  The representative of Montenegro highlighted the issue of surplus weapons and ammunition collection and destruction, saying it was another critical area that needed more attention in order to counter the destabilizing effects of illicit arms trafficking.

Algeria’s representative noted the existence of small arms supplies fuelled conflict to the detriment of development efforts in vulnerable States, while a number of speakers urged that civil society become more involved in discussions and that communities should be included in finding solutions.

In addressing all such issues, the common thread was the need for resources.  “The bottom line is” that developing States needed financial assistance, said the representative of Trinidad and Tobago, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).  His region was a hub for arms trafficking, but the lack of technological know-how and funding hampered concerted efforts that would put a stop to the weapons flow.

Some other speakers proposed solutions.  Let the weapons producers provide the assistance, said Iran’s representative.  While developing States should make all efforts to combat small arms, developed States, particularly major producing States, should provide negative assistance by reducing production and positive assistance through extending technological knowledge.

Also speaking on the issue of international cooperation and assistance were the representatives of Spain (on behalf of the European Union), Guatemala, Austria, Argentina (on behalf of the Southern Common Market), Bangladesh, Armenia, Gabon, Switzerland, Iraq, United States, Netherlands, Germany, Lebanon, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Kenya, El Salvador, Australia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Viet Nam, China, Colombia, Pakistan, Morocco, Portugal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Djibouti, Botswana, Guyana, Cuba, Zambia, Jamaica, South Africa, Congo, Burundi, Guinea and Mali.

A representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) also spoke on the subject.

Representatives of Azerbaijan and Armenia exercised their right of reply.

Speaking on other issues and of the identification of priority issues were Nigeria, Mexico, Argentina, Peru, India, Australia, Guatemala, Kenya, Cuba, Pakistan, Botswana and Colombia.

The States will meet again Wednesday, 16 June, to continue the discussion.

Background

The Fourth Biennial Meeting of States to Consider the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects met today to consider the question of international cooperation and assistance, as well as the identification of priority issues.

Opening Remarks

SARAH DE ZOETEN ( Australia) introduced the issue of international cooperation and assistance, and said she had prepared a non-paper (document A/CONF.192/BMS/2010/WP.2) to provide background information.  The non-paper highlights, among other things, priority issues on this topic.

KERRY MAZE, of United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), commended Members for including the topic of international cooperation and assistance in the current discussions.  In the past, States did not consider the biennial meetings as a forum for cooperation and assistance.  By 2008, at the Third Biennial Meeting of States, Members agreed on 15 measures on cooperation, making better use of the Programme of Action to mobilize assistance and cooperation.  Since then, key achievements included matching needs and resources, a reporting system to ease requests, and the Institute had created a checklist for making requests.

Much work remained to be done, she said.  Tools and processes needed to be fine-tuned.  She encouraged States to use these biennial meetings to express their needs concerning cooperation and assistance.

Statements

ANNALISA GIANNELLA ( Spain), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the European Union was pleased that, following the proposed agenda for the meeting, the issue of strengthening of the follow-up mechanism on preventing, combating and eradicating the illicit trade on small arms and light weapons was finally being addressed in the forum.  The European Union also welcomed the chairperson’s non-paper, “Strengthening of the follow-up mechanism on preventing, combating and eradicating the illicit trade on small arms and light weapons and preparations for the 2011 Experts Group meeting and the 2012 Review Conference”.  That document represented a thought-provoking starting point to be used as the basis for today’s debate.  An overarching debate on the issue addressed in the non-paper, supported by the political commitment of Member States, indeed had the potential to pave the way for further implementation of the Programme of Action.  That debate should result in a thorough diagnosis of the level of implementation of the Programme of Action and help identify the needs and solutions to fulfil the goals of the Programme.

Further, she said that today’s debate should provide the main guidelines for the 2011 Experts Group meeting and the 2012 Review Conference.  At the end of the biennial meeting, States should be able to agree on those guidelines, in order to ensure that the next meetings on the Programme of Action were successful in fulfilling their agenda and, more generally, the goals of the Programme of Action as a whole.  The decision contained in General Assembly resolution 63/72, and recalled in resolution 64/50, to convene an open-ended meeting of governmental experts in 2011 represented a breakthrough.  It would be crucial to work on the preparation of that meeting, following a pragmatic and operational approach.  The commitment of the European Union towards the full implementation of the Programme of Action was part and parcel of its actions and policies to prevent and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.

Continuing, she said annual reports represented the main instrument for assessing national implementation of the Programme of Action.  The European Union supported the recommendation to further develop that tool by elaborating standard reporting formats, which should improve the comparability of reports, and ensure complementarity with other relevant reports.  Regarding the biennial meetings, she said that those should be to assess the status of implementation and impact of all the aspects of the Programme of Action and, therefore, to be able to address the actual needs of States in implementing the commitments stemming from the reports of the meetings.  Moreover, defining and putting into practice the mandates of the biennial meetings would indeed help establish a coherent link between the efforts and resources that States made available to implement the Programme of Action and its actual state of implementation.  On that basis of that preparatory work, Review Conferences should be able to identify and adopt further measures to address gaps and needs indicated in the biennial meeting of States and reports.

MILORAD ŠĆEPANOVIĆ (Montenegro) said since his country’s independence, governmental institutions had been fully engaged in establishing and improving legal frameworks for public policy and had achieved progress in combating illicit weapons and ammunition trafficking.  Montenegro’s law on weapons regulated manufacturing, the proper marking of small arms and accurate record-keeping.

Montenegro supported ongoing negotiations for the conclusion of an arms trade treaty and was convinced that a legally binding instrument would set common standards for weapons and ammunition export and contribute to reducing illicit trafficking.  However, areas needing further attention included the collection and destruction of surplus small arms and light weapons, a revitalization of the National Commission, and a review, update and implementation of the existing National Small Arms and Light Weapons Strategy and Action Plan.  The destabilizing accumulation and uncontrolled spread of small arms impeded peacebuilding and social and economic development, breaking down order and fuelling terrorism and criminal violence.

MOHAMMED BELAOURA ( Algeria) said that effectively combating the illicit trade in small arms could not be done in one step.  Combating such illicit trade required coordination at various levels, including regional and subregional.  Active participation by all States was also necessary.  In addition, those countries that exported small arms should have the responsibility of checking the final destination of their exports and ensuring that small arms consignments were not diverted, or did not enter criminal networks.  Moreover, cooperation and technical assistance were of particular importance, as was demonstrated by the importance that was given to that question in the Programme of Action and the work done by the various meetings of the States parties.  The States parties must facilitate and promote the exchange of information regarding national experiences, and the lessons that had been learned with regard to the implementation of the Programme of Action.

States that had experience and technical skills, which allowed them to investigate networks that were behind illicit trade in small arms, could contribute to capacity-building for States that were interested in receiving such assistance, he said.  The assistance proposed should meet the real needs of the beneficiaries of that assistance, and should be part of the national programmes that had been set up in advance.  Projects should also have measurable outputs.  The institutional mechanisms that were foreseen by the Programme of Action represented a useful tool for defining the needs of the countries concerned.  He also highlighted the importance of promoting bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the area of justice, and of establishing standards with regard to legal assistance.  International cooperation and universal adherence to international conventions was an absolute requirement for facing the challenge of the illicit trade in small arms.  He added that international cooperation also required measures that could improve the socio-economic conditions of people that were affected by the illicit trade, as such an approach would encourage the creation of conditions to combat that trade.

LUIS CARRANZA ( Guatemala) highlighted the need to continue to work on the illicit trade in small arms in order to achieve the greatest possible involvement of actors and thus lead to the eradication of such arms and weapons, particularly at the national level.  The problem of illicit trafficking was multidimensional and cross-border in nature, and called for joint efforts.  For Guatemala, it was imperative that cooperation be region-based and take into account national priorities, in order to be as efficient as possible and meet the objectives.

He said that international cooperation with a regional emphasis should be able to be monitored and measured, so that national commissions could view the results in light of regional and national priorities.  He also urged continued efforts to incorporate and establish joint approaches to tracing and tracking.

CHRISTOPH WIELAND ( Austria) said this meeting should be a forum for joint efforts, so that real progress could be made on the ground.  International assistance and capacity-building was a key factor in implementing the Programme of Action.  A flexible framework and process was needed.  He welcomed suggestions for a more formalized role for the Office for Disarmament Affairs for needs assessment, and looked forward to the Office’s efforts on an implementation support system.

Austria supported bilateral small arms programmes and projects, he continued.  Since the Third Biennial Meeting, Austria had focused on Africa and had provided €400,000 in the field of small arms, as well as provided financing for workshops and meetings.  Regulating small arms brokering in Africa was another target project.  A consensual adoption of a draft text on small arms was concluded this spring.  Stockpile management and physical security were also the topics of workshops and meetings.  Small arms projects had been carried out, including in Ethiopia and Tajikistan.  The complexity of small arms and light weapons must be addressed at all levels, from civil society to the region and internationally.

ANDRES MEISZNER ( Argentina), speaking on behalf of Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), said a fluid relationship between States was the foundation for cooperation and assistance.  He stressed the need for greater cooperation and the need to strengthen commitments to the Programme of Action.  He recognized the existing international mechanisms to promote assistance and cooperation, and urged States able to provide technical and financial assistance to do so.

A.K. ABDUL MOMEN ( Bangladesh) said his delegation endorsed the statement made on behalf of the Non-Alignment Movement, and highlighted issues from a national perspective.  Bangladesh was approaching full implementation of the Programme of Action, and had put in place national laws and mechanisms regarding small arms and light weapons.  Bangladesh was one of the top peacekeeping countries, and his Government believed that the trade in arms should be brought under an agreed international regulatory framework.  The Programme of Action was a carefully crafted document that had been the cornerstone of efforts in building norms and setting standards.  In order to raise public awareness about the costs and losses stemming from illicit trade and the use of small arms and light weapons, Bangladesh observed 9 July as “Small Arms Destruction Day” throughout the country.  The participation of civil society, including non-governmental organizations and parliamentarians, was of critical importance.

The international community should make it mandatory to imprint the manufacturer’s details on small and light weapons, he said.  That would assist in tracking weapons.  In addition, it must be the responsibility of Governments to impose such regulations.  The majority of people being killed across nations died because of small and illegal weapons.  To civil society and the media, he asked that, while reporting on those who were killed, the name and particulars of the manufacturer of those “killer weapons” should be published, as that would help the global community become aware of the illicit trade, which would in turn be a giant step for humanity.

GAREN NAZARIAN ( Armenia) said his delegation attached great importance to the problem of proliferation and the misuse of small arms and light weapons.  It actively supported the United Nations and other organizations aimed at stopping the spread of such weapons.  It was important to remember that small arms and light weapons were not merely a disarmament issue; it was a multidimensional threat, which promoted terrorism and interfered with peacebuilding.  It also affected all levels of society, causing a great degree in human suffering.  While small arms and light weapons played a significant role in exacerbating conflicts, the roots of those conflicts stemmed from political or other differences.  It was necessary to be aware of that fact, as the issue required a comprehensive approach.  The problem of small arms and light weapons was only one element of the problem.

It was necessary to have a comprehensive approach, with the problem being tackled in parallel on all fronts:  national; international; and regional.  There was also a need to promote regional cooperation in the field of small arms and light weapons.  His Government remained committed to the effective and full implementation of the Programme of Action, as it was an indispensable guide for comprehensive efforts to solve the problem.  The Programme of Action could have an undeniable positive role in reducing regional threats.  It was also important to note contributions made by civil society, and his delegation would encourage such participation.  His delegation also hoped that the spirit of cooperation would prevail and bring new results.

KEIKO YANAI( Japan) said the non-paper presented by the Friend of the Chair from Australia reflected the needs.  Major issues included the usefulness of the support system and the UNIDIR checklist, and how to match the needs to available resources, with the allocation of resources being a priority.

A web-based tool integrated into the Programme of Action Implementation Support System platform made it possible to recognize needs, but this information was not specific enough, she said.  She encouraged the use of the checklist as a part of the web-based system.  A comprehensive approach to providing assistance was needed, and it was important that the small arms programmes were integrated into development programming on the national level.  Japan had funded the enhanced armed violence control programme in Liberia, which was designed to promote community security through support to grass-roots organizations, reduction in arms and community recovery, and capacity-building for national police.  This multi-pronged approach addressed the challenges on many levels.  Inter-agency cooperation was key in moving ahead.

KEITH DE FREITAS ( Trinidad and Tobago), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said international cooperation and assistance was pivotal to the successful implementation of the Programme of Action.  As a region that was a hub for weapons trafficking, CARICOM encouraged greater information on a model developed by the Office for Disarmament Affairs.  Reporting requirements was an important issue for States that needed assistance.  Small arms needed to be addressed at regional and interregional levels, with an approach that built greater partnerships.  Given the growing drug and weapons trade between the west coast of Africa and the North and South Americas, partnerships should be built to address those challenges.

Regional initiatives shared information among partner agencies and producer States, including in the areas of weapons identification.  All existing efforts should be bolstered with more international cooperation and assistance.  The presence of an illicit trade in small arms in the region hampered economic growth, and that trade and related issues should urgently addressed.

JEAN FRANÇOIS NDONGOU ( Gabon) said his Government had taken a number of confidence-building measures to ensure a safe environment, as well as control the illicit circulation of small arms and light weapons.  It had established systems to control such weapons, and security forces managed such stocks and controlled circulation.  Such control was facilitated by the fact that Gabon had never been the scene of armed conflict.  Gabon had also taken an active part in the review and negotiations concerning the Central African Convention on the control of small arms and light weapons, which was legally binding.

He stressed that, without stronger cooperation, States would not deal in a definitive way with the threat of the illicit trade in small arms.  There should be a management of stocks, and physical and electronic registries of weapons should be established.  He added that a global approach to finally deal with the problem should be defined, and assistance provided for the economic development of countries affected by the illegal trade in small arms.

Mr. LAUBER ( Switzerland) said that the theme of international cooperation and assistance was one of the main items in the Programme of Action.  His delegation believed that the needs and priorities set out at the third biennial meeting of States were still relevant.  His delegation was also ready to work with the Friends of the Chair, in order to find consensus elements for the outcome document of the current meeting.  States must continue efforts to improve the alignment between the needs and resources to deal with the issue, as that was the key to success.  Efforts being made to implement and enhance the system of control were also important, because such initiatives would ensure the implementation of the Programme of Action.

International cooperation and assistance were at the heart of the commitments that Switzerland had taken in terms of combating the illicit trade in small arms, he said.  His Government was involved in projects related to training, capacity, the collection and destruction of small arms, and investigations through the Small Arms Survey.  It would continue its efforts, in line with the strategy established for the period 2008-2011.  He said that the outcome document should reflect the necessity of establishing mechanisms and instruments to prioritize needs and coordinate the requests that were put to donor countries.  It should also include mention of the necessity to establish strategic and regular dialogue on the effectiveness of the assistance given.  He also encouraged States to establish and improve their legal framework, including the status of experts.  Improvement in such a legal framework would allow many States to further enhance the assistance that they provided, he said.

Mr. SULTAN ( Iraq) said his country was making efforts to control arms and their destructive effects on civilians.  Regional efforts included initiatives to combat the illicit trade of small arms and controlling the flow of small weapons into Iraq.  Iraq also regularly provided information to the United Nations on small arms, and has worked on establishing regulations of border controls.  Organized crime was a challenge, and this should be approached from the national, regional and international level.

An exchange of information was needed, as was training and capacity-building in this area to limit the use of small arms and light weapons.  Strategies needed to be developed to deal with these weapons, he said, underlining Iraq’s pledge to work with neighbouring countries to combat the scourge.

KHODADAD SEIFI PARGOU ( Iran) said since the challenges posed by the illicit trade were multifaceted, international cooperation and assistance was vital to support efforts at national, subregional and regional levels.  In providing such assistance, the characteristics and scope of the problem should be taken into account.  In the field of international cooperation and assistance, two issues were critical: training and stockpile management; and the facilitation of combating the illicit trade of small arms and drug trafficking.

Organizations in a position to do so should provide assistance readily and without restrictions, including the technology required for tracing and detecting small arms.  He pointed out that the over-production and supply of those weapons played a role in the continuation of conflict.  While developing States should make all efforts to combat small arms, developed States, particularly major producing States, should assist those efforts.  Major producers could provide negative assistance by reducing production and positive assistance through extending technological knowledge, he suggested.

Mr. COSTNER ( United States) welcomed a mechanism to identify, prioritize and communicate assistance needs in implementing the Programme of Action.  Budgetary implications also needed to be taken into account.  His delegation also agreed with the necessity of identifying ways to address challenges in that regard, and suggested that an information working group could further study the issue.

While progress had been made regarding international cooperation and assistance, his delegation was discouraged that only a little more than one third of the focal points could be reached, as the Small Arms Survey had indicated.  The United States urged all Member States to establish a national focal point or commission to help them articulate offers of, or requests for, assistance. He added that topics that were too broad in scope risked derailing progress made in implementing the Programme of Action.  The United States continued to fully support implementation of the Programme of Action, and stood by to help Member States that required assistance, in that regard.

PIETER VAN DONKERSGOED ( Netherlands), associating his delegation with the statement made on behalf of the European Union, emphasized that striving for the full implementation of the Programme of Action was even more necessary than ever before.  The presence of large quantities of small arms in societies, especially in fragile States or other “under-governed” areas, might cause slumbering social tensions to spiral out of control and fuel all kinds of conflict.  Crime and gang-related violence might take on a much more violent tone, and so might the Government response to it.  Marginalized groups found it easier to empower themselves for armed conflict, and the black market was even more likely to grow under those circumstances, further strengthening criminal elements in society.  People wanted guns to protect themselves where the State was unable to do so, or to make a living for themselves in brutally hard circumstances.

International cooperation and assistance was key to the successful implementation of the Programme of Action and, therefore, to fighting the negative spiral described above.  Building on instruments such as the Programme of Action-Implementation Support System, as well as the recent efforts of the UNIDIR in their “Checklist for Matching Needs and Resources”, the implementation of the Programme of Action itself would become more structured and the process would become more transparent.  National Governments had the primary responsibility, however, and they should take the lead in processes of legislation and capacity-building, in order to be able to take the next step in calling a halt to the proliferation of small arms.

Mr. Langer ( Germany) had participated in bilateral cooperation projects, and details of such involvement were available at the Programme of Action website.  To improve efforts to curb small arms, he suggested concentrating on streamlining processes to further the implementation of the Programme of Action.  Transparency was critical, he said.  The UNIDIR checklist could be a guide to identifying important areas.  He applauded the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs for its analysis of national reports, which should be continued on a permanent basis.

The Programme of Action-Implementation Support System was not actively promoting the needs and resources available, he said.  Match-making processes needed brokers at various levels, regionally and globally.  The information flow should ensure that replication was avoided and targeted areas highlighted.  How to better organize the match-making process might be an issue for the meeting of governmental experts next year, he said.

Ms. MOMTAZ ( Lebanon) said the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, which caused massive numbers of deaths, was a global concern.  Lebanon had ratified the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and Lebanon and Syria had a joint border committee.  Regarding alleged arms smuggling into Lebanon and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) area, the UNIFIL mission had not found evidence of such activity.  Without a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, efforts to curb the illicit trade in small arms would fall short.

ODD MALME ( Norway) said that armed violence killed more than 2,000 people every day.  The majority of those deaths were caused by small arms and light weapons, and left dependents and loved ones devastated.  For Norway, efforts to combat the illicit trade were a central aspect of its commitments towards the reduction and prevention of armed violence.  The issue was not only a security one, but was seen by his Government as also being a humanitarian and developmental imperative.  On the issue of international cooperation and assistance, he said that the obligation regarding the implementation of the Programme of Action rested with Member States, but international cooperation and assistance was an essential tool to enhance the effective implementation of the Programme.  Norway contributed in various ways to national and regional efforts.  Commitment and ownership was needed at all levels in countries affected by the illicit trade.

The only way to combat small arms and light weapons was to build partnerships among Governments, civil society and the relevant field organizations, he continued.  Such cooperation was essential in raising awareness of the real issues regarding the problem.  The multifaceted nature of the problem must be recognized by affected countries, as well as by regional organizations and other affected actors.  The humanitarian aspect of the development problems that illicit arms and weapons created remained the basis for Norway’s continued assistance to affected countries.  Among other things, the facts faced in the field guided its cooperation and assistance.

VITALIANO GALLARDO ( Peru) emphasized that international cooperation and assistance was a cross-cutting, essential consideration in terms of implementation of the Programme of Action.  He also stressed the importance of submitting reports and documents elaborated at the national level, as those identified the needs of each country.  Moreover, it was up to States to define the way in which they wished to move forward.  Initiatives to boost cooperation mechanisms at all levels were necessary.

He also pointed to the importance of cooperation and assistance for subregional and regional entities, and for civil society offering support in implementing the Programme of Action.  Providing details of the support that Peru had received, he said bilateral support, as well as support at the subregional level, were very important.  He also stressed the importance of civil society activities, as those should also seek to enhance cooperation with the various agencies from individual countries.  Further, some civil society entities had a particular experience that others might take advantage of, or benefit from.

LIBRAN CABACTULAN ( Philippines) said his country collaborated with INTERPOL, concerning weapons database reporting.  But, more needed to be enhanced in tracing the illegal trade in small arms and light weapons.  Identification of producers of these weapons should become a priority.  Other improvements include an enhanced cooperation between enforcement agencies in information exchange, experience, national contact points and a regular interaction among these contacts.  Aid options should be made more visible to States.  Aside from relying on the United Nations, States should extend more assistance, he said.

Mr. KIMENIA ( Kenya) acknowledged the need for closer partnerships to maximize the effect of combating the small arms challenges.  Protocols already agreed to among partners should be honoured.  Kenya believed in capacity-building, with focused benchmarks for progress, including frameworks that match needs with resources.  Technical assistance to national focal points and enforcement agencies was another important issue for Kenya, as were border control, tracing and marking, and institutional reform.  Stringent penalties should also be enforced for those possessing illegal arms.

Development issues should also be considered, and community-level projects, such as reintegration projects and addressing the current “gun culture”.  Regarding the border with Somalia, he appreciated international efforts to address issues in that country.

MARIO RIVERA ( El Salvador) said that financial and technical cooperation played a central role in combating the illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons.  Such cooperation, however, could not be subject to political conditions or motivation.  Otherwise, it would not have the desired impact and would serve only those who benefited from armed violence and armed groups.  He added that, in the non-paper prepared by Australia, there were some elements that his delegation could see would be extremely useful regarding the handling of international cooperation.

Ms. MAZE ( Australia) provided perspectives from her own region regarding the issue.  Per capita, the region had suffered significantly as a result of small arms and light weapons.  She stressed the importance of providing practical assistance to States at the regional and national level.  The recent regional meetings on armed violence and development were a good example of that approach.  As a practical example, she said that Australia had supported Timor-Leste in undertaking a comprehensive armed violence baseline assessment.

LISETH ANCIDEY ( Venezuela) said the key element of the Programme of Action was cooperation.  Measures in the Programme of Action should enhance partnerships.  There were links between cross-border issues, as discussed yesterday, and cooperation.  To ensure the Programme’s effective implementation, it should be tailored to each country or region, and cross-border area approaches should be agreed upon by involved States.

The realities of the world’s regions must be taken into account, she said.  Guidelines should establish parameters to combat illicit cross-border trafficking and the Programme of Action contains those mechanisms.  New initiatives would duplicate efforts.  Greater practical coordination on cross-border issues should be addressed.  Shared responsibility should be further discussed, regarding the scope and legal implications.  To date, this concept was only dealt with concerning drugs, as stated in the Vienna Convention.  Consultations on this subject should be pursued and the issue should be in the final outcome document of this meeting.

Cooperation assistance should be designed to address current realities, and the provision of assistance should be provided readily, she said.  While national reports are one means for obtaining assistance, they should not be the only means.

ALEXIS THAMBWE MWAMBA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Democratic Republic of the Congo, endorsed the statements made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Group, and said it was no secret that small arms and light weapons had caused – and continued to cause – havoc in pretty much all of the areas that had faced armed conflict.  More than 50 armed conflicts that took place in the twentieth century and the beginning of this century were carried out with the use of small arms and light weapons.  It was necessary to focus on the disasters that those weapons had caused and continued to cause, and to concentrate efforts on the ways and means that were needed to combat the scourge.

The proliferation and illicit trade in small arms and light weapons continued to upset international peace and security with all of the pernicious consequences it had on States in a broader sense of the term, given the negative impact on all types of infrastructure.  The Democratic Republic of the Congo, as a post-conflict country, still had fresh memories of the devastating effect of the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.  The main thrust of the implementation of the Programme of Action should be to prevent, combat and eradicate the proliferation of such weapons at the national, regional and global level.  In terms of combating the scourge, the Democratic of the Congo had set up during 2008 a national commission to monitor small arms and light weapons and to reduce armed violence.  A permanent secretary had also been appointed to a national commission for that monitoring.  In addition, a national five-year programme had been drafted, and those activities should lead to a national plan on small arms and light weapons.

Further, he said that awareness-raising and training of stakeholders in order to build capacity was also important in combating the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.  Regarding legislative measures in his country, there had been a drafting of a law against such weapons, which was currently being adopted in the Parliament, as well as national policies.  Turning to operational capacity, he noted that two national reports had been drafted and transmitted to the United Nations on the country’s activities related to small arms and light weapons.  He stressed the importance of the existence of monitoring and assessment tools to verify progress made in implementing the Programme of Action and the Nairobi Protocol, making available electronic marking machines, setting up a border policy unit and the reform of the security sector.  In regional terms, his country played a very important role in its relationship with its nine neighbours in order to guarantee cooperation and the exchange of information on small arms and light weapons.  In conclusion, he recommended the inclusion of the question of combating illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in the development strategies of all States, and encouraged real cooperation between all States in order to coordinate a plan of combat for the good of all humanity.

PHAM VINH QUANG ( Viet Nam) said combating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons would not be feasible without international cooperation and assistance.  His delegation welcomed efforts by countries to mobilize resources and expertise and to provide assistance for the full implementation of the Programme of Action.  It was necessary to promote dialogue and the culture of peace by encouraging education and awareness.  Viet Nam had established and strengthened partnerships with international and regional actors, and had signed agreements with countries regarding cooperation on the issue.  The measures of cooperation identified included information sharing, mutual support, investigation, and other details described in the national report.

While there had been recent efforts in facilitating international cooperation, it was clear that there was still room for further improvement in that field, he said.  He also called on States in a position to do so to seriously consider financial and other assistance, in order to support the full implementation of the Programme of Action.  Such assistance should be designed in accordance with the needs and requirements of the recipient.  Given the established momentum regarding international cooperation and assistance at the Third Biennial Meeting of States, his delegation hoped that the Fourth Meeting could conclude with an outcome document that included the question of assistance and cooperation.

LEI SUN ( China) said some countries still faced difficulties in implementing the Programme of Action and the International Tracing Instrument.  Many faced a shortage of funds, or insufficient technology and a lack of human and other resources.  International cooperation and assistance should be further strengthened, with a focus on legislative assistance, law enforcement capacity, marking and tracing assistance, and information-sharing.  In addition, the Programme of Action and the International Tracing Instrument should remain the foundation for international cooperation and assistance.  The United Nations should play a leading role, in that regard.  Coordinated regional measures should be taken in accordance with the conditions of specific regions.

Moreover, Governments should assume primary responsibility in international cooperation and assistance.  Countries in a position to do so, especially developed countries, should be more active in helping others strengthen capacity-building, and assistance programmes should be more targeted and practical in order to more effectively help the recipient country.  Such assistance should be in accordance with the specific conditions and demands of the recipient country.  In addition, he said that the Chinese Government had always actively participated in the international cooperation and assistance against the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.  It had submitted four national reports, as required, and had also shared its policies and experiences in combating the illicit trade.  Its authorities had also actively cooperated with INTERPOL, and its customs and other agencies had maintained constant exchanges with their foreign counterparts.  China would join others as an active participant and would make active contributions in the process to combat the problem.

BETTY ESCORCIA ( Colombia), endorsing the statements made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and MERCOSUR, said that, traditionally, discussions on international cooperation and assistance had related to the delivery of assistance to countries that did not have the means.  It was important to boost cooperation between national authorities as an effective way of controlling the illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons.  For her delegation, it was also important to maintain the continuity of the biennial meetings and, therefore, discussions must continue on international cooperation through the current meeting.

She stressed the need to assess progress made in implementation in the area of international cooperation, including challenges and opportunities.  It was also necessary to assess progress made in implementation of the areas discussed in the Third Biennial Meeting of States, and to identify new areas in which cooperation between agencies might be a possibility, as well as areas in which it was possible to engage in the exchange of information.

RAZA BASHIR TARAR ( Pakistan) said that, when one looked at the way the issue had been expounded upon and approached, there was a bit of a “disconnect” or confusion on how it should be approached.  There was no clear channel for assistance:  should it be the United Nations or should it be bilateral?  The document by the facilitator outlined certain projects that were fairly modest in financial terms, yet there were funding gaps.  At the same time, there were very encouraging accounts of assistance given bilaterally, or from one group to its partners.  It was important to at least strive for a one-stop mechanism, which would ensure that the process remained apolitical, as that was a complaint that was often heard.

He also highlighted the way in which projects were made:  Why was a budget not available?  Was it because of donor fatigue or scepticism? he asked.  He said that perhaps there was a need to entrust certain entities with the task.  There should be a greater exchange of information about bilateral projects, so that there would be a sharing of success stories, or best practices.  If States wanted to avoid controversy and to have agreement on some consensual documents, it was necessary to avoid going into uncharted territory, he added.

SIHAM MOURABIT ( Morocco) said, regarding interaction in discussion, this meeting should follow the lead of the Third Biennial Meeting.  If the needs of States were examined, the scope of the challenges would become clearer.  It was important that any international assistance should be based on an integrated approach responding to needs of national programmes, concerning marking, stock management, ammunition and a long list of other issues.  She underscored elements that Morocco would like to see in this Meeting’s final document, including national focal points, especially for vulnerable States that lacked such contacts.  This issue of contacts was not an end in itself, and could only produce desired results with coordination.  Focal points should exchange information through a database to efficiently eradicate small arms.

Key institutions, such as enforcement agencies, needed assistance and support accompanied by legislative plans and support to set up effective national controls of borders and regulate the bearing of arms among people.  The small arms survey, distributed yesterday, pointed to the Maghreb region, noting the movement of 70,000 arms among civilians.  This type of information should be of concern to States at this meeting.  This was not a case of duplication, which had been discussed earlier today, rather that the issues be addressed in an effective way, she said.

Mr. GASPAR DA SILVA ( Portugal) said his country aligned itself with the statements of the representative of the European Union.  He said international cooperation and assistance were critical to eradicating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.

Mr. SINAH ( Sierra Leone) said that his country had suffered from conflict, which had required international efforts in order to consolidate the peace that had been achieved.  The country still suffered from such a threat.  Countries such as his ought to be supported by the international community in dealing with illegal activities, which were linked with small arms and light weapons.  For post-conflict countries awash with small arms, it was critical to have international assistance, in order to manage stockpiles, and to help with rehabilitation and reconstruction, among other things.

Though bilateral partnerships between States was commendable, he said his delegation believed that the intervention of regional organizations appeared to be more targeted, as that was easier to monitor and evaluate, and subsequently report on.  Cross-border assistance might appear to be a realistic and workable solution; however, it must be managed with international assistance and border management.  His country looked forward to establishing partnerships and synergies that produced results.

Mr. TOYI (Togo), endorsing the statement made on behalf of the African Group, said his country had been actively involved in combating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.  During recent years, the Togo authorities had strengthened its operational disposition on border controls by setting up monitoring posts and blockades made up of police.  Togo welcomed international assistance to pursue the local manufacturers of small arms and light weapons.  Such a commitment would help keep the peace in the country and the subregion, he said.

Mr. ABDILLAHI( Djibouti) said his country was committed to the implementation of the Programme of Action.  Djibouti’s legislation had always banned civilian possession of arms, outside the Armed Forces.  In Africa and the Great Lakes region, States had adopted the Nairobi Protocol, and, a week ago, central African republics had also adopted another legally binding instrument, he said, noting that both actions showed Africa’s commitment to ridding the continent of small arms and light weapons.

KENNY KAPINGA ( Botswana) said regional approaches were essential in addressing critical issues, including marking and tracing and the introduction of legislation on related arms topics.  Botswana had put in place strict legal provisions governing the possession of arms.  However, criminal activity had resulted in making illicit weapons accessible from other countries.  His country had also participated in subregional law enforcement operations under the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization, targeting firearms, drugs and other contraband.

Donors should provide assistance in line with regional agreements, he said, noting that effective coordination was critical in this area.  Botswana endorsed the Programme of Action and the implementation support system, and had submitted a request for marking, tracing and recordkeeping through the Programme of Action Implementation Support System.  He emphasized that regional and subregional efforts were critical to the success of eradicating small arms and light weapons.

GEORGE WILFRED TALBOT ( Guyana), expressing support for the statements made by Trinidad and Tobago and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that his country in recent times had suffered increased levels of crime and violence.  Guyana viewed the Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons as a vital multilateral instrument in addressing global challenges through a cohesive and coordinated approach, and was fully committed to its implementation.

He stressed the importance of cooperation among States, so as to ensure coordination at all levels.  He also stressed the importance of assistance for strengthening national capacities.  For countries to fully implement their commitments under the Programme of Action, cooperation and assistance would be required.  True cooperation among relevant stakeholders at the bilateral and regional levels was also required.  In addition, support to and through regional implementing mechanisms could be an important complement to the cooperation provided to national authorities.  Guyana had made progress, but faced continuing challenges in implementation, as well as the burden on socio-economic development.  He also called for the provision of increased international financial and technical assistance.  In addition, he joined CARICOM in a call for the opening of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) office in Barbados.

RODOLFO ELISEO BENÍTEZ VERSÓN ( Cuba) said it was appropriate that the subject be considered during the current Meeting as an independent matter.  The final document of the Fourth Meeting should focus on the matter of international assistance and cooperation.  In that regard, the final document should include provisions on international assistance and cooperation as agreed to in 2001 and the Third Biennial Meeting of States.  Such provisions remained entirely current and should, therefore, be restated in the Fourth Meeting’s final document.  In addition, acknowledgement should be forthcoming to the effect that, while progress had been made, nonetheless a lot remained to be done.

Further, he said that the final document should make reference to the fact that progress should continue to be made in the exchange of training between States and the exchange of lessons learned.  Also, donor countries should offer more specific and timely information on assistance and available resources.  States should decide whether they needed assistance in implementing the Programme of Action, and should also decide what type of assistance they required.  There should not be a “one-size-fits-all” approach.  Moreover, assistance should be delivered unconditionally and should guarantee equal access to all States without any type of discriminatory treatment.  It was also necessary to work on the establishment of a transparent mechanism in which official development assistance (ODA) would have a role.  That would ensure a more effective link between donor countries and recipient countries, and it should establish a more clearly defined description of needs.  He added that it was necessary to more closely consider the possible potential role of regional United Nations centres for peace and disarmament in promoting international assistance and cooperation.

Ms. MWEEMBA( Zambia) said her country attended and participated in meetings on the Programme of Action since 2001, and co-sponsored a resolution on a possible arms trade treaty, among other actions.  Zambia had also been working with the African Union, and was currently the chair for the Great Lakes region on these and related arms issues.  Her country also works with subregional and regional efforts and had received in 2008 a marking machine for small arms and light weapons.  She hoped a strong arms trade treaty would become a reality, and she urged other States to participate in the coming preparatory conference in July.

RAYMOND WOLFE ( Jamaica) said international cooperation and assistance was critical, and he welcomed the ongoing initiatives at the national, subregional and regional levels.  Jamaica had benefited from a partnership with developed States to address arms-related issues.  A recent workshop organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) had been extremely helpful.  The Latin America and Caribbean regional centre for peace and disarmament had also been helpful to his country.  He called for the reopening of the UNODC in Barbados, which could play a crucial role in combating the intertwined nefarious challenges of the drug and arms trade.

Jamaica had also embarked on a new youth-centred strategy to prevent and reduce gun-related violence, he said.  He called on weapons-producing and supplier States to develop and implement more stringent measures and mechanisms to stop the illicit flow of those weapons.  Special attention at this Meeting should be on improving the identification and communication of needs and available resources and of strengthening the matching of needs and resources.

JOHANN PASCHALIS (South Africa), associating his delegation with the statements made on behalf of the African Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, said that international cooperation and assistance was the overarching theme with regard to all undertakings that States made when they adopted the Programme of Action in 2001.  The political commitments undertaken by developing States could not be made into concrete actions without international assistance.  Support for capacity-building projects should be the cornerstone of international cooperation and assistance, since it would be impossible to sustain implementation efforts without imparting the necessary skills.

From the interventions that had been already delivered, it was clear that regions and subregions had a very clear understanding of the specific challenges they faced, and that they had taken initiatives to meet those challenges.  While innovation was important, it was equally important for the international community to ensure that such home-grown efforts were adequately resourced and supported.  He proposed the inclusion of a chapeau consisting of language regarding assistance taken from the Programme of Action itself.  He added that it might be useful in all areas under discussion to reconcile the provisions of the Programme of Action with efforts to add value by developing new recommendations.

BONIFACE LEZONA ( Congo) said the role of international cooperation and assistance played a key role in the efforts made by Congo in terms of implementing the Programme of Action.  The country was continuing to step up efforts in that area, together with multilateral and bilateral partners, through workshops and other activities.  It had agreements at the subregional level, as well as a bilateral agreement with the United States which sought to strengthen the capacity of the country and the physical management of stockpiles. In the latter regard, workshops were planned for managers and also for decision makers.

ANDERS BYREN, speaking on behalf of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), provided a short update on international cooperation and assistance from a regional perspective of his organization.  In the context of OSCE efforts to establish effective norms, the participating States had developed an assistance mechanism to enable the organization to provide assistance and support to States.  That assistance mechanism was updated in 2009.  Starting in 2003, the OSCE had received 33 requests for assistance with small arms and conventional ammunition from 14 participating States.  More than €11.5 million had been provided to fund such programmes.  In the summer of 2009, the OSCE had finalized a very successful programme on small arms in Tajikistan that strengthened its national capacity regarding small arms.

The OSCE attached importance to promoting cooperation among participating States, he said.  In 2009, the organization also initiated a mechanism that enabled closer coordination among various international organizations in the OSCE region by establishing regular meetings with them.

Mr. ZENON( Burundi) said his country was determined to combat the illicit trade and proliferation of small arms.  After a crisis and civil war, Burundi wanted to contribute to regional peace and to eradicate small arms.  The Government had set up a centre to address those issues, along with a national five-year plan.  A new harmonized law, in line with the Nairobi Protocol, was being developed and any violations would be prosecuted.  Registration of arms was also under way.  Stockpiles were being destroyed and facilities had been provided for the effort.  A secure stockpile location and police posts had been set up.  Other posts had been established to encourage people to hand over weapons, and a campaign for the voluntary collection of weapons had been successful.  Reintegration programmes and marking activities were currently under way.

Turning to international cooperation and assistance, Burundi had signed the Nairobi Protocol for reducing weapons in the region, and was part of other regional efforts.  Burundi had also signed the Geneva Declaration on arms and development and was a member of INTERPOL.  He thanked bilateral partners, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Germany and the Netherlands for their ongoing support.

Mr. FAFANA( Guinea) said most States, including his own, were directly faced with the impact of the trafficking and use of small arms.  The proliferation and movement of these weapons were a genuine threat to peace, stability and development.  The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) should keep it as a central issue.  Guinea shared borders with neighbours that had experienced lengthy civil wars.  Small arms were a constant feature of those conflicts.  Regional and international cooperation needed to be established to eliminate arms trafficking.  West African States had established a regional network to address this issue and to exchange views on control and movement of firearms.  Guinea had joint patrols with Liberia and Sierra Leone, along with other projects, including one with Mali.

The international community should provide support for these and other efforts during this transition period.  He hoped donors would also support ECOWAS’s efforts.  Efforts were continuing to make Africa a place for freedom, peace and democracy.

AMI DIALLO ( Mali), expressing support for the statements made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Group, stressed the importance of combating the proliferation of small arms and light weapons and eliminating their trade.  That was only possible and could only be effective if activities were conducted with synergy and collaboration.  There was also a real need for cooperation at all levels, if States truly wanted to eradicate the illicit trade of such weapons.  She reiterated the full availability of her delegation to do everything it could to ensure the success of the meeting.

Right of Reply

Exercising the right of reply, the representative of Azerbaijan said the delegate from Armenia spoke about topics that did not have relevance to the subject at hand.  Armenia bore the primary responsibility for conflict with Azerbaijan.  Armenia’s revisionist claims of self-determination were contrary to international law.  Armenia built up a military presence in occupied territories of Azerbaijan.  Further, Armenia did not publish information on the United Nations register, nor follow its principles of transparency.  International cooperation was indispensable for peace and stability in the region.

Armenia’s representative, exercising a right of reply, said there was no mention of Azerbaijan in her country’s statement earlier today, but Azerbaijan continued to speak about these issues.  She wished to correct the representative’s statement and stated that this forum was not the appropriate place to discuss the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh.  The final stages of the resolution of this conflict should be resolved by the parties involved. As to the contributions of Armenia of the United Nations register, the reporting spoke for itself, she said.

Azerbaijan ’s representative, in a right of reply, said he had heard Armenia’s statement and that Armenia must realize that, for its own good and in the interest of lasting peace and cooperation in the region, there was no alternative to the conflict but one found within international law.

Statements on Other Issues

LAWRENCE OBISAKIN ( Nigeria) presented his delegation’s discussion paper on the promotion of a dialogue and a culture of peace, noting that the issue of the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons opened up a basket of other issues.  For that reason, States were free during the afternoon meeting to raise an issue that they might consider to be important.  That might include issues not addressed by the Third Biennial Meeting of States, or even by the current meeting.  States could also flag issues that they believed should be the subject of future discussions.

He also said that peace was the main generator of wealth and development, which was a popular African adage.  There was an inexorable link between peace and development.  The discussion paper included pragmatic and practical ways of looking at the ultimate goal for the current meeting, which was an attainable and lasting peace.  The paper was based largely on United Nations resolutions and decisions.  In essence, the paper was an invitation to a voyage for peace, he said.

ROBERTO DONDISCH ( Mexico) said two issues critical to this debate were the human dimensions of the arms trade and civil society’s role.  Small arms were made to kill, so the main problem was not the exchange of merchandise, but the human toll these weapons caused.  He pointed out that the Secretary-General had noted that these arms cause the most deaths in conflicts.  Small arms and light weapons had become weapons of mass destruction.  This was the right time to insist on the fact that this issue should be dealt with keeping in mind the victims of these weapons.  The trade in these weapons could not be likened to the trade in ammunition.  Responsible civilian possession should also be addressed.  Over the past three years, Mexico confiscated more than 75,000 weapons brought into his country illegally.  He underscored that civil society organization played an important role, and hoped these groups would be involved in the discussions this week.

Mr. MEISZNER ( Argentina), speaking on behalf of MERCOSUR, said the issues of ammunitions and explosives should also be examined.  The working group at MERCOSUR looked at ammunition and not explosives.  He considered it was important to analyse issues, including progress made on eradicating the illicit small arms trade in line with the Programme of Action.  Also, it was important to insert a gender-specific perspective and age-specific viewpoints as an instrument to combat the illicit trade.

Mr. OBANDO ( Peru), expressing agreement with the statement made by the delegate of Argentina, said that the discussion paper from Nigeria responded to concerns that his country had voiced.  He stressed the importance of adding other ideas to the issue of conflict prevention, including conflict management, the peaceful settlement of differences and the respect of international law.  On the question of human rights as raised in the paper, it was important to point out that, when talking about violence resulting from the use of force by the State, such force must be carried out while respecting international and constitutional law.  Peacekeeping operations, for example, in some cases had to use force; however, in respect of the mandates provided by the Security Council itself.

Mr. GILL ( India) said that small arms and light weapons in the control of States were legitimate means of self-defence, but illicit weapons, especially in the hands of terrorists and organized criminals, were a grave threat to peace and security.  International cooperation needed to address that issue, as States prepared for the Review Conference in 2012.  Expressing appreciation for the paper that the delegate of Nigeria had circulated, he said he looked forward to an exchange of views with delegations on that subject.  There should be a focus on the core substantive issues related to illicit trade, however, so that duplication would be avoided.  He also said that States bore the primary responsibility for ending the illicit trade.  Controlling such trade also required international cooperation, since the problem was transnational in nature.  The main efforts at the international level should promote State responsibility and international cooperation.

GAIA PULESTON ( Australia) said a number of issues raised at the Third Biennial Meeting should be addressed at this Meeting.  It was crucial to move forward in the practical implementation of the Programme of Action.  The ability to measure and assess efforts to eradicate these weapons would contribute greatly to implementing the Programme and identifying challenging areas.  She encouraged States to provide information on these issues.

The link between peacebuilding and development was key, and Australia’s work included reducing the transit of weapons into vulnerable societies.  Assistance to victims of violence was also critical.  Small arms were also used to prevent development assistance from reaching those in need.  Mine action activities had been integrated into development activities, and a similar approach could be used to integrate small arms issues with development.  Australia supported the United Nations and Security Council and the protection they gave to victims.

Mr. CARRANZA ( Guatemala) said the proliferation of firearms was partly a result of the legal trade in these weapons.  Tackling the problem from a supply-and-demand angle would consist of providing control and training to countries to enforce the law and by encouraging a culture of peace, so that demand would drop.  Children and youth involved in the destructive cycle of violence should be highlighted, he said.  The trade of arms had spread out to daily violence, some of it linked to drug and human trafficking.  States could not ignore this problem.  A culture of peace was a positive long-term approach to ultimately reducing violence.  Prevention efforts could include mass awareness-raising and education campaigns.  This culture of peace should be included in the Programme of Action. 

MR. KIMEMIA ( Kenya) noted the problems surrounding organized guns and weapons.  He stressed the importance of transforming cultures by introducing development, so that the affected societies could see the better quality of life that owning illicit guns did not provide.  His Government, in collaboration with neighbouring countries and regions, had championed peace structures, instruments and strategies that upheld the methodology of dialogue and peaceful resolution, as opposed to force.  It had also created infrastructures across the East African community to support peace and promote peaceful means.  In addition, a national steering committee on peacebuilding had been put in place.  Moreover, the country’s educational curriculum had been transformed to include peace studies, so that future generations would stay away from guns and embrace peace and security.

Mr. BENITEZ VERSÓN ( Cuba) expressed support for the statement made by the delegate of Mexico, which referred to the matter of responsible possession of civil weapons.  The final document should refer expressly to the need for responsible civilian possession of small arms and light weapons.  Concerning explosives, Cuba would have problems with the suggestion made that explosives be considered at the same level as firearms.  Unlike firearms, explosives had numerous purposes and were used in many activities, he said.

Mr. TARAR ( Pakistan) said the Meeting should avoid venturing into areas that could lead States down an uncharted path.  Regarding terrorists and non-State actors, he wondered if there was any country in the world that had legislation permitting arms trading to terrorists and non-State actors.  Delegates should avoid implying there is some mechanism in the world that allows such assistance, he said.

While this Fourth Biennial Meeting had undertaken burdens that possibly belonged elsewhere, the United Nations had not yet agreed on the definition of a terrorist, a topic that had been discussed over the last decade.  He doubted this forum would come to a conclusion on this.  “We should concentrate on ‘doables’,” he said.  “We are here to discuss the implementation of the Programme of Action and not to reinvent it.”

Mr. KAPINGA ( Botswana) said calling for a culture of peace was not an endeavour to introduce a new age movement, but to follow a human truth.  The biggest way of fighting is through the mouth, by talking things out.  He hoped to be able to create an environment of peace.  Blaming weapons manufacturers without looking at the demand side was equivalent to burying heads in the sand.  A culture of peace should be acknowledged as a critical factor in the Programme of Action’s implementation.

Ms. ESCORCIA ( Colombia) said that the topic of “other issues” had been discussed during the Third Biennial Meeting, and had some components that could be taken up again during the current meeting.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.