NEW YORK, 24 June (Office for Disarmament Affairs) — After three sessions of work spanning a period of four months in New York and Geneva, the 2019 Group of Governmental Experts on the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms concluded its work on Friday.
The Group comprised experts from Argentina, Brazil, China, Croatia, France, Germany, India, Japan, Netherlands, Russian Federation, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, United States and the United Kingdom. Reflecting current trends in international disarmament and arms regulation processes, more than 50 per cent of the participating experts were women, including Mariela Fogante of Argentina, the Chair. She is the first woman since 1999 to chair a group of experts in the area of conventional arms.
Established by the General Assembly in 1991, the Register enables Member States to report their international transfers of conventional arms to the United Nations. It promotes transparency in armaments and serves as an early-warning tool. Every year through the Register, Member States share information on annual international arms transfers (imports and exports). Governments are encouraged to report their annual acquisition of weapons through domestic suppliers and their military holdings, as well. The Register constitutes an important confidence‑building measure that can build trust among States and contribute to preventive diplomacy, peace and stability.
Groups of governmental experts are convened every three years under a General Assembly mandate to review the Register’s functioning and recommend on its further development. In accordance with previous practice, the 2019 Group adopted a consensus report containing recommendations to ensure that the Register remains relevant and keeps pace with technological developments. The 2019 Group also reached a milestone in the history of the Register, recommending that Member States report international transfers of small arms and light weapons in parallel with their reporting on the major weapons systems covered by the Register, which are clustered into seven categories — battle tanks, armoured vehicles, large artillery, manned and unmanned aerial combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, and missiles and missile launchers. The Group referred to this approach as the “seven plus one” formula. Another achievement was the inclusion in the report of a section dedicated to the use of the Register as a tool for confidence‑building among States.
The report of the 2019 Group of Governmental Experts will be submitted to the Secretary-General for onward transmittal to the General Assembly.