Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and Maldives

EU Statement – United Nations Third Review Conference on Small Arms and Light Weapons: Cooperation and Assistance

New York, 22/06/2018 - 23:30, UNIQUE ID: 180622_14
Statements on behalf of the EU

22 June 2018, New York – European Union Statement by Mr. Jacek Bylica, Special Envoy for Disarmament and Non-proliferation of the European External Action Service, at the Third UN Conference to Review Progress Made in the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects on Cooperation and Assistance

 - As delivered-


Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.

Since the inception of the PoA, and even before, the European Union has been investing considerably in SALW-control cooperation and assistance to third countries.

The majority of assistance projects supported by the EU can be considered as classic SALW-control projects,  with a focus on voluntary civilian disarmament campaigns, collection and destruction of surplus SALW and ammunition, physical security and stockpile management for SALW and ammunition, and capacity building for marking, record keeping and tracing. The projects’ activities are led by an integrated approach where physical measures are combined with support for legislation, awareness raising and promotion of international standards such as the ISACS and IATG. 

Most of these projects have a regional scope and are implemented with the help of regional organizations. In Africa, the EU works together with the African Union, ECOWAS, UNREC, and RECSA.  In Europe, the EU works via the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearing House for the Control on SALW (SEESAC) that is part of UNDP. SEESAC's work will be presented during a side-event on Monday 25 June. In Latin America, the EU has worked with the Central American Program for the Control of SALW (CASAC) and UNLIREC. We are currently preparing to cooperate with the Organisation for American States (OAS).

Other projects enable capacity building for arms export control, which is crucial in preventing SALW from falling into the wrong hands. The EU supports States, at their request, to strengthen their arms transfer control systems with a view to implementing the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). The activities under the project take place across the globe and include assistance for drafting legislation, training and sharing of best practices among export control professionals. Implementers are the German Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA) and the organisation Expertise France, assisted by export control officers from other EU Member States.

 Since 2011 the EU has been supporting INTERPOL’s Illicit Arms Records and Tracing Management System. As you know iArms is an electronic platform that facilitates information exchange and investigative cooperation between law enforcement agencies.

Since 2013 the EU has also been supporting iTrace, a global reporting mechanism on illicit SALW and other illicit conventional weapons and ammunition in conflict affected areas implemented by Conflict Armament Research. This project aims to track and trace illicit SALW and ammunition by means of in-field research in conflict-affected regions, where local law enforcement agencies often lack the capacity to trace. The patterns of trafficking and diversion that are exposed by iTrace serve to increase the effectiveness of arms control measures such as export control and stockpile management. CAR's work will be presented at a side event on Thursday 21 June.

The EU also supports the implementation of the UN Firearms Protocol in cooperation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The project's activities are focussed on supporting the drafting of legislation and capacity building for law enforcement, including training for investigation and prosecution of firearms trafficking. In the context of this project, UNODC published its Firearms Study that describes trafficking and diversion cases across the globe. UNODC's work will be presented during a side-event on Friday 22 June.

EU SALW-control assistance also supports peer-to-peer exchange. The EU is facilitating cooperation between Member States' law enforcement agencies and their counterparts in the neighbourhood. The EU has set up a network of law enforcement personnel from Member States that focus on the fight against firearms trafficking by organised crime. This network, called EMPACT Firearms, meets regularly to exchange information and experiences and develops activities in order to achieve pre-set goals. EMPACT-firearms is engaging in peer-to-peer activities and capacity building in the context EU-outreach to countries in the neighbourhood. The work of EMPACT will be presented at a side-event on Tuesday 26 June.

The EU has submitted a working paper offering an overview of EU funded SALW control projects.

The EU foresees an assessment of the impact of its SALW-control cooperation and assistance that has been provided for the implementation of the PoA. The EU will present the outcome of this assessment to a Biennial Meeting of States in the next PoA intersessional process. We would like to encourage other donors to do the same.

In order to increase efficiency and sustainability of assistance efforts the outcome document should call for improved coordination in cooperation with relevant regional organisations, donors and implementing agencies in full ownership of the governments of recipient States and steered by national action plans and strategies.

The EU also supports a reference to the UN Trust Fund mechanisms in the outcome document.

Finally, in order to increase transparency on cooperation and assistance in the field of SALW control the EU would welcome a global repository, agreed among donors, where information about SALW control assistance is shared and registered.