Friday 16 October

The last day of the general debate saw the delegations of Ethiopia, Kyrgyzstan, Jordan, Madagascar, Montenegro, Morocco and Nepal address the committee with discussions on small arms and light weapons (SALW) and the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). In addition, international organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and various civil society organizations, such as International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), had the opportunity to take the floor.

Jordan underscored its concern for the increasing level of extremism, especially in the Middle East, which fosters the illicit trade of SALW in the region and fuels and prolongs conflicts, while Ethiopia noted that SALW causes havoc and mass suffering and underlined its concern for the illicit trafficking of SALW to non-state actors.

Kyrgyzstan, Jordan, Madagascar, Morocco and Nepal underlined the importance of the Programme of Action (PoA) in curbing the illicit trade of arms, and in turn, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Montenegro, and Morocco welcomed the milestone achievement of the adoption of the ATT late last year. Jordan and Morocco, however, acknowledged the importance of the legitimate rights of states to produce and acquire SALW for their self-defense and security needs and urged that these rights not be restricted.

IANSA, while addressing the Committee, recounted the success of the inclusion of disarmament indicators in Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in addition to the adoption of Resolution 2220 on SALW. IANSA called on member states to ensure a decrease in the level of gun production and a major increase in weapon collection and destruction programs. IANSA also urged states to increase international cooperation and assistance to help governments and civil society to deal with the widespread and uncontrolled access of SALW. It also asked member states to support civil society as they play an important role in interrupting the flood of guns and preventing violence. IANSA also noted the conclusion of the Second Meeting of Governmental Experts (MFE2) in June 2015, and subsequently called on member states to rigorously regulate new weapons being produced that are more advanced and difficult to mark and trace.

At the conclusion of civil society participation, Ireland took the floor to express its support for civil society organizations working in the field of disarmament and asked if, in the future, civil society could become more involved in the formal meetings at First Committee. 

Please find the full IANSA statement made at First Committee attached below.