European Union Delegation to Singapore

EU Statement – United Nations 7th Biennial Meeting on the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons: Implementation

New York, 26/07/2021 - 21:56, UNIQUE ID: 210726_12
Statements on behalf of the EU

26 July 2021, New York – Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member Statest on the consideration of the implementation of the Programme of Action at the Seventh Biennial Meeting of States on the UN Programme of Action to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects (26-30 July 2021)

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Mr. Chair,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

The Candidate Countries Turkey, the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, align themselves with this statement.

Allow me first to congratulate you on your appointment as chairperson. The EU welcomes the transparent and inclusive way you have steered preparations for this meeting.

The diversion, illicit trade and unauthorised use of small arms and light weapons still constitutes a serious impediment for peace, growth, development, and security in the world. The EU considers that the UN Programme of Action continues to provide an effective framework for states to consider, commit to, and implement activities to address such impediments. These meetings remain the global forum to share and develop further action on national, regional and international levels.

With regard to the consideration of the implementation of the UN PoA, the EU supports the inclusion of the following elements in the outcome document of the Conference.

BMS7 should promote the exchange of information between states on identified diversion methods in order to expose and eliminate arms trafficking channels, and in order to improve the capacity for risk assessment in arms export control. The prevention of diversion of small arms to unauthorised actors establishes an undeniable link between the UN PoA and the Arms Trade Treaty which adopted at its CSP6 last year creation of the Diversion Information Exchange Forum. The EU would like to see BMS7 recognise that the implementation of the UN PoA is supported by synergies with other international instruments focused on similar objectives such as the Arms Trade Treaty and the UN Firearms Protocol.

States should underline their commitment to promote national implementation by means of, where appropriate, dedicated interagency coordination bodies, national action plans and strategies, national points of contact, national legislation, including penal clauses, regulations and administrative procedures. The monitoring of the relevant aspects of the SALW life cycle including manufacturing, trade, export control, stockpiling and disposal is also critical.

States should confirm their commitment to transparency by sharing national points of contact for the UN PoA, submitting their biennial reports on the status of the UN PoA and ITI implementation, by including SALW in their reports for the UN Register of Conventional Arms, and by promoting synergies on that matter with other related international instruments such as the Arms Trade Treaty.

Controlling the export and import of arms is an important tool in the fight against illicit SALW. The risk of SALW diversion can significantly be reduced by effective arms export control and risk assessment prior to authorising a transfer. The use of authenticated end-user agreements, as supported by the UN PoA, should be promoted.

BMS7 should confirm that, in line with the 2030 Agenda, including SDG Targets 16.1 and 16.4 that are shared objectives with the UN PoA, sustainable development cannot be realised without peace and security and that peace and security will be at risk without sustainable development. Curbing the illicit trade in SALW and ammunition is crucial in this regard.

The EU supports BMS7 discussions on increasing the measurability of the impact of cooperation and assistance in SALW control. We should promote and support the implementation of standards and best practices for the handling and stockpiling of small arms and ammunition, such as the International Small Arms Control Standards (ISACS) and the International Ammunition Technical Guidelines (IATG). The application of new technologies should be considered with a view to improved Physical Security and Stockpile Management (PSSM).

SALW-control should be promoted in bilateral and interregional security cooperation, including cross-border cooperation and information sharing between law enforcement and customs agencies. Regional and sub-regional organizations have an important role in assisting states in their implementation of the UN PoA.

In the outcome document, States should underscore the importance of a gender sensitive approach to SALW-control, acknowledge the differing impacts of armed violence on women, men, girls and boys, and promote the role of women in the implementation of the UN PoA and gender mainstreaming in SALW control actions as a condition for their effectiveness. The EU would like to see a reference to UNSCR 1325 of 2000 on Women, Peace and Security in the BMS7 outcome document, and in this regard a special reference to UNSCR 2242 of 2015 that specifically encourages empowering of women with the efforts related to the fight against illicit SALW.

States should reiterate the important role played by researchers, civil society and industry in the UN PoA related activities in general.

BMS7 should address the issue of illicit manufacture through illicit reactivation of deactivated firearms and the illicit conversion of blank firearms. They should consider the establishment of an international standard for irreversible deactivation and a standard for manufacturing norms for blank firearms, with a view to rendering impossible this source of illicit firearms.

 We welcome the GGE meetings in the context of UNGA Resolution 72/55 of December 2017 and we look forward to an outcome that is geared towards the implementation of safe and secure management of ammunition with a focus on preventing diversion and unintended explosions.

BMS7 should highlight the role of the UN PoA in the fight against terrorism. The EU supports the reference to Man-Portable Air-Defence Systems (MANPADS) in the draft outcome document as these weapons pose a very specific risk when diverted into unauthorised hands.

The outcome document should also address the growing importance of internet and online transactions with regard to the illicit trade in SALW and their parts and components.

Finally, the outcome document should promote the consideration of an increased role for the UN and regional peacekeeping operations in the area of monitoring and countering illicit SALW, within their mandate and where appropriate This should include taking account of SALW and ammunition issues in post-conflict reconstruction programmes and Demobilisation, Disarmament and Reintegration (DDR) and Security Sector Reform (SSR) programmes in particular.

We believe that all these efforts would by themselves be beneficial to the implementation of the UN PoA. We also believe that their value would increase when combined with a more effective way to monitor the day-to-day implementation of the UN PoA at the national, regional and global level. The EU supports ways to ensure such monitoring is undertaken effectively.

Thank you Mr. Chair.


* The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

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