25 September 2012 — On 25 September, the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) launched its publication “Forces of Change: Profiles of Latin American and Caribbean Women in Combating Illicit Trafficking in Small Arms” at the side-event entitled “Women Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control”, hosted by the Honourable Winston Dookeran, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
The publication – complied by UNODA’s Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) – features and celebrates the experiences and skills of a diverse group of 58 women from national government security sectors, law enforcement agencies and civil society organizations working in the field of small arms control in the region. Women profiled in this publication contribute on a daily basis to the implementation of the UN 2001 Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects.
UNODA has continuously championed women as ‘forces of change’ by providing States with the necessary tools to facilitate and sustain the incorporation of gender perspectives into small arms control and disarmament. At the launch, Angela Kane, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, noted that “[…] it is widely recognized that women have critical roles to play both in disarmament, in general, and in the elimination of the illicit trafficking in small arms. It is therefore our duty to ensure that we provide the necessary tools and training to empower them on this quest”. She went on to add “[…] it is my own personal mission to continue fostering disarmament expertise among women, including ‘in-house’ at UNODA and heed the calls made in UNSCR 1325 (2000).”
Action has also been taken by UNODA in the field through its regional Centre, UNLIREC, in providing technical assistance to Member States aimed at promoting and encouraging the robust participation of women professionals in decision making and the formulation of comprehensive strategies to combat illicit small arms trafficking. The cumulative effect of these efforts, together with other UNLIREC initiatives, have resulted in a significant increase of female professionals from armed forces, police, civilian ministries and civil society who are now well-equipped to engage in combating illicit trafficking in small arms at the local, national and regional levels.