1. It is my honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the European Union. The Acceding Country Croatia**, the Candidate Countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Iceland+and Serbia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the EFTA country Liechtenstein, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, Armenia and Georgia, align themselves with this declaration.
2. The European Union warmly congratulates you, Madam President, on your appointment as President of this Second Review Conference. We are looking forward to continuing working closely with you and your team, the UN Secretariat and all interested delegations to ensure a successful outcome of this conference.
3. Eleven years after the adoption of the UN Programme of Action, the European Union strongly shares the view that the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects still constitutes a huge impediment for peace and security, growth, development, and safety in the world. We also believe that the Programme of Action remains the key universal starting point for further action on SALW at national, regional and international levels.
4. We must use the Review Conference to adopt substantial outcome documents that not only reaffirm our commitment to fully implement both the PoA and the International Tracing Instrument. They must also assess the progress made in the implementation of the PoA and the ITI and explore ways to strengthen their implementation. They should also focus on those areas where significant concerted efforts are further needed. Finally, we have to design our way forward in order to eventually achieve the common goals that we set ourselves in 2001 to reduce the death and suffering caused by small arms and light weapons and to prevent, combat, and eradicate the serious impact of their spread and accumulation on conflict, development and human rights. We will be held responsible if we do not reach this aim.
5. The Review Conference should build on the existing obligations of the PoA and the ITI. Its outcome should highlight those issues where improvements are mostly needed in the future, including suggestions on how weaknesses in implementation should be overcome. In addition, it should also focus on those aspects that have become especially relevant in view of how the control of the illicit trade in SALW has evolved in the past years and on tangible activities for the implementation of both instruments.
6. Madam President, the European Union wishes to warmly thank you for your results-oriented approach and the preparation and early circulation of the zero drafts of the outcome documents. We would also like to thank you for the new draft documents. They provide a good basis for our work in the days to come. We fully rely on your guidance and that of your facilitators in steering our deliberations on the outcome documents.
7. As at the First Review Conference in 2006, the European Union remains convinced that our efforts to control small arms and light weapons still have to be intensified, in particular in those areas, where significant obstacles to full implementation persist. We believe that these areas are transfer controls and the issue of diversion of SALW, stockpile management, stockpile security and stockpile destruction, inter-agency cooperation and coordination, our future cooperation with other international organizations such as Interpol, marking and tracing, ammunition, gender perspective, as well as the need to better address the humanitarian and socio-economic consequences of the illicit trade in SALW, including in particular the devastating consequences of the illicit trade in SALW on children.
8. We should also carefully discuss and decide upon the question of how we wish to structure the follow-up process to this Review Conference to ensure progress in the further implementation of the Programme of Action.
9. The European Union remains strongly committed to fighting the spread and misuse of SALW around the world. Through a Council Decision that was adopted in July 2011, the European Union supported the preparation of this Review Conference, among other things, through the organization of regional meetings on advancing the implementation of the PoA at regional level in Bali, Kingston, and Nairobi, and by supporting the development and implementation of UN technical guidelines for ammunition stockpile management. Another regional meeting is going to take place in Cairo after the Review Conference. The European Union will also continue to provide assistance to States, sub-regional, regional and international organizations to fully implement all provisions of the PoA.
10. We are now looking forward to working together with all interested delegations on a successful and substantial outcome of this Review Conference and to provide our detailed comments on the draft texts that you have prepared. You can rely on the full support of the European Union to accelerate and enhance the future implementation of the PoA to ensure real progress.
*Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
+ Iceland continues to be a member of the EFTA and of the European Economic Area.