Wednesday 14 October

Argentina, Benin, Burkina Faso, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Guatemala, Hungary, Ireland, Kenya, Malaysia, Maldives, Paraguay, Portugal, Singapore, Syria, and Vietnam discussed small arms and light weapons (SALW) and the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) when addressing First Committee today, Wednesday 14 October 2015.

Ireland underlined its concern for the ever increasing proliferation of SALW, which have a tendency to be called ‘today’s real weapons of mass destruction.’ SALW, according to Ireland, fuel conflicts and contribute to criminality and gender-based violence. Similarly, Burkina Faso noted with concern the increasing levels of illegal SALW in the African region, falling into the hands of rebellions, terrorists and other armed groups responsible for most contemporary conflicts in the region. These conflicts, in turn, cause grave instability, insecurity, violations of human rights and the collapse of socio-economic fabric.

On the topic of the Programme of Action (PoA), Benin, Guatemala, Ireland, Kenya and Vietnam reaffirmed the importance of the instrument and the necessity for its full implementation. Egypt underscored the importance of respecting the rights of States to manufacture and transport conventional arms and to use these arms in self-defense. Kenya, in addition to acknowledging the importance of the PoA, emphasized the need for full implementation of the International Tracing Instrument (ITI), while Benin and Paraguay noted that areas of marking and tracing should be an important priority for the international community. Paraguay further emphasized the importance of international cooperation and assistance for the full implementation of the PoA and its related instruments. Argentina, in addition, expressed its desire to forge greater levels of international cooperation to strengthen the PoA at the next Biennial Meeting of States (BMS) in June 2016.

The success of the landmark Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) was underlined by the majority of member states, with the full and effective implementation of the Treaty stressed as a priority. Most states also welcomed the conclusion of the first Conference of States Parties, although Argentina noted that it did not live up to the expectations of some member states. Further, Syria expressed its concerns over the lack of clear language in Treaty provisions to prohibit the transfer of SALW to non-state actors.

In addition to discussions regarding the PoA and the ATT, both Maldives and Vietnam stated the importance of the UN Register of Conventional Arms and noted that they are committed to submitting annual reports.

Benin, Ireland, Kenya and Maldives reiterated the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular Goal 16.4 which relates to the reduction of the illicit trafficking and flow of arms.

On the topic of gender, Ireland emphasized the important role that women continue to play in the disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control sector, while Guatemala noted with importance UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.