Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

EU Statement – United Nations Security Council: Arria-formula Meeting on Small Arms and Light Weapons

New York, 16/09/2021 - 23:06, UNIQUE ID: 210916_22
Statements on behalf of the EU

16 September 2021, New York - EU Statement at the United Nations Security Council Arria Formula meeting on the threat to international peace and security posed by the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons

Mr. Chair,

  1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. I also want to thank the organising Security Council Members for giving the European Union the opportunity to share its views on this important topic.
  2. The diversion, illicit trade and unauthorised use of small arms and light weapons (SALW) and their ammunition still constitute a serious impediment for peace, growth, development, and security in the world. Illicit small arms are fuelling armed violence and organised crime, global terrorism and conflicts, thwarting sustainable development and crisis management efforts. They destabilise entire regions, states and their societies, and increase the impact of terrorist attacks.
  3. The European Union remains committed to preventing and curbing the illicit trade in SALW and their ammunition and is promoting accountability and responsibility with regard to their legal trade. On 19 November 2018, the EU adopted its strategy against illicit SALW and their ammunition "Securing arms, protecting citizens". The strategy takes into account the evolved security context and developments in SALW design and technology affecting the capacity of governments to address the threat.
  4. To this end, this Strategy is guided by the following principles:
    1. unity – taking a joined-up and coordinated approach across external policies, between Member States and the European Union, and between internal and external policies;
    2. promoting cooperation and partnership at all levels;
    3. taking responsibility in relation to priority regions, especially those likely to pose a threat to the European Union’s security and most likely to benefit from EU action;
    4. promoting a global rules-based cooperative order with multilateralism as its key principle and the UN at its core, based on respect for International Law, including Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, with a view to creating a peaceful and sustainable world;
    5. and - incorporating gender and diversity aspects in SALW-control projects and actions.
  5. The majority of assistance projects supported by the European Union 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. In order to increase efficiency and sustainability of assistance efforts, the European Union calls 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.
  6. The European Union considers that the UN Programme of Action to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects (UN PoA) continues to provide an effective framework. The European Union is a convinced supporter of the International Tracing Instrument (ITI) as one of the most important achievements of the UN PoA and an essential tool in the fight against diversion, un-authorised re-export and the illicit trade in SALW.
  7. The European Union considers that, in line with the 2030 Agenda, including SDG Targets 16.1 and 16.4, a sustainable development cannot be realised without peace and security, and that peace and security will be at risk without sustainable development.
  8. In order to reinforce international cooperation and effective implementation of UN arms embargoes, and to promote the necessary synergies across the UN system, we need to build on the momentum generated by the successful outcome of the 7th Biennial Meeting of States of the UN PoA and the 7th Conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty.

Thank you Mr. Chair.

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