The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (UNRCPD) conducted a regional seminar on “Gun Violence and Illicit Small-Arms Trafficking from a Gender Perspective” in Kathmandu from 4-6 March 2020.
The seminar gathered Members of Parliament and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) from 10 States in Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Pacific (Afghanistan, Bhutan, Cambodia Fiji, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste) as well as international experts from the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), UN Women, the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), the Parliamentary Forum on Small Arms and Light Weapons and the Centre for Arms Violence Reduction engaging in arms control and gender issues. The Nepalese delegation also included representatives from the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The opening ceremony was also attended by the United Nation Resident Coordinator and Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union to Nepal.
The seminar concluded the efforts of three preceding sub-regional workshops organized in the framework of UNRCPD’s programme on Women, Peace and Security, which aimed to strengthen and promote women’s participation in the field of small arms control.
Over the course of three days, participants presented actions they had developed since the sub-regional workshops and further brainstormed on new joint initiatives between MPs and NGOs which can address the continuing challenge of armed violence in their countries and communities.
Through practical exercises and thematic working groups, which were informed by thematic presentations by experts, participants developed gender-responsive approaches to small arms problems. All agreed that mainstreaming gender into all aspects of small arms control is highly important and should include activities such as awareness-raising and advocacy, peace and disarmament education, operational activities, the development of legislative and institutional frameworks, and capacity building efforts.
In addition, the seminar contributed to raising awareness about the practical application of key international arms control instruments, such as the Arms Trade Treaty and the Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons, and their linkage with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Women, Peace and Security agenda.
As a final step, participants provided input to the final draft of a compendium, which consolidates discussion, findings and lessons-learned from all the four events, and which will serve as a guide for future planning at the national and regional level.