|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Fifth Biennial Meeting of States
on Illicit Trade in Small Arms
5th & 6th Meetings (AM & PM)
Improving Stockpile Management, Surplus Disposal Central to Combating
Illicit Trade in Small Arms, Light Weapons, Meeting Told
International cooperation and assistance in capacity-building and technology transfer were key to the implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action to counter the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, delegates concurred as the fifth Biennial Meeting of States moved into day three of its session.
Assistance and cooperation played a central role in the European Union’s 2005 strategy to combat the illicit accumulation and trafficking of small arms and light weapons and their ammunition, said Clara Ganslandt, that delegation’s representative. The Union had assisted a range of activities, including stockpile management and security, disposal of surplus small arms and light weapons and ammunition, and the enhancement of record-keeping, marking and tracing capacities. Provision of equipment and technology was usually included in those programmes.
The Union, she said, had been keen to promote regional cooperation through two major projects — one aiming to combat the illicit accumulation and trafficking of firearms in Africa, and the other providing support to countries in the Western Balkans to fully implement their obligations under the Programme of Action and International Tracing Instrument.
J. Asante-Thuim (Ghana), speaking on behalf of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), noted that the continent had suffered the most from the illicit trade and proliferation of small arms and light weapons, which had also impeded development there.
Many speakers agreed that there was an urgent need to intensify international cooperation and assistance to counter the growing magnitude of the illicit trade in and proliferation of those weapons, including Emmanuel Imohe (Nigeria), speaking on behalf of the African Group. He stressed that assistance should be tangible, unconditional and non-discriminatory and be provided upon request by recipient States.
From a donor’s perspective, said Japan’s representative, Nobuyuki Sano, some conditions were needed to ensure a high level of accountability. His Government had contributed some $735 million over the past decade and would continue to finance activities to mitigate the problems caused by small arms and light weapons. In order to justify the maintenance of its aid budget over the long term, however, taxpayers needed to understand why that assistance was needed, how effectively it was being used and what policy goals would be achieved.
Harditya Suryawanto (Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, drew attention to the group’s working paper, which included a proposal for the establishment of a United Nations trust fund to support implementation of the Action Programme and Tracing Instrument.
Sho Morimoto (United States) said it was premature to call for a new trust fund in the outcome document, as that would require an additional cost. There was also room to improve existing mechanisms, the speaker added.
Describing national efforts, Charles Ulaya, Senior Superintendent of Police, Ministry of Home Affairs of the United Republic of Tanzania, said that a focal point for the Ministry had been established in 2001 to assess implementation of the Programme of Action at the national, regional and global levels. Among the measures taken by his Government were training law enforcement officials on investigating crimes related to small arms and light weapons and hosting regional and subregional workshops.
Also participating in the discussion were representatives of Argentina, China, Iraq, Belarus, Colombia, Cuba, Turkey, India, Thailand, Costa Rica, Switzerland, Guatemala, Egypt, Mexico, France, United Kingdom, Australia, Mali, Algeria, Sudan, Peru, Morocco, Austria, Netherlands, South Sudan, Iran, Norway, Guyana (on behalf of Caribbean Community), Trinidad and Tobago, and Qatar (on behalf of the Arab Group).
An observer of the State of Palestine also spoke.
The Meeting will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 19 June.
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