First Committee of the 69th Session of the General Assembly- 7 October 2014

Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), the European Union, Nigeria on behalf of the African Group, Egypt on behalf of the Arab Group, Philippines on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Trinidad and Tobago on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and Mexico and India in their national capacity spoke on the topic of small arms and light weapons (SALW) at the first session at the General Debate of the First Committee of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly.


The African Group, the Arab States, ASEAN, CARICOM, India, Mexico and NAM discussed their support for the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons In All Its Aspects (UNPoA) and the importance it has in combating the issues related to the illicit trade in arms. The African Group and NAM emphasized the importance of international cooperation and assistance for the successful implementation of the UNPoA, while the Arab States and ASEAN reiterated that proper implementation of the UNPoA is key for dealing with arms control. CARICOM, India and Mexico noted the success of the 5th Biennial Meeting of States (BMS5) in June 2014. CARICOM and NAM expressed that, along with the UNPoA, the International Tracing Instrument (ITI) was also an important instrument that needed to be fully cooperated with in order to successfully combat the illicit trade in SALW. NAM also called on major arms producing States to limit their dealings to government and official state actors and refrain from transferring SALW to non-state actors.


The African Group, ASEAN, CARICOM, the EU, India, Mexico and NAM considered the adoption of the legally binding Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) which will enter into force by the end of 2014 following the 50th ratification of the treaty in September 2014. The EU and CARICOM have the highest number of countries which have ratified the treaty, with 23 and 8, respectively. The African Group, ASEAN, CARICOM, the EU, Mexico and NAM acknowledged the adoption of the ATT as a milestone in SALW control. The EU noted the adoption as a success for international multilateralism, while Mexico noted the importance of the collective will of Member States in achieving the treaty. CARICOM emphasized the contribution the treaty will have in reducing human suffering from the impacts of the illicit proliferation of SALW. The African Group underscored that the ATT should be implemented in a balanced and objective manner where the interests of all States are protected and not just the major weapons producing and exporting States. It also called on major arms suppliers to ratify the treaty to ensure the end to unfettered access of SALW by non-State actors. Furthermore, ASEAN and NAM expressed the importance of the sovereign right of States to acquire, manufacture, export, import, and retain conventional arms and their parts and components for their self-defense and security needs. NAM called for no undue restriction to be placed in the way of the sovereign right of States to acquire such arms.

India, on its part, stated that its expectations to produce a treaty that ensured a balance of obligations between exporting and importing States was not achieved. Further, India questioned whether the impact of the ATT on the illicit trafficking in conventional arms and the illicit use of arms by terrorists and non-State actors was meaningful.

With regards to the location of the Secretariat of the ATT, CARICOM acknowledged its endorsement for the Secretariat to be based in Trinidad and Tobago.

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