Summary: 5 June 2015, New York â European Union Statement at the Second Open-ended Meeting of Governmental Experts of the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects
- As this is the first time that we are taking the floor, the EU would like to congratulate you, Mr Chair, on your election and an excellent chairing of the Second Open-ended Meeting of Governmental Experts (MGE2). We warmly thank you and your team as well as UNODA for the support provided in preparation of and during the MGE2 this week. We would also like to thank CARICOM, Japan, Switzerland, the United States as well as Austria, Belgium and Germany for their stimulating working papers in order to advance our common understanding and discussions on the most appropriate way forward. During the past days, we have also listened with great interest to the views expressed by all Governmental experts.
- The EU remains a convinced strong supporter of the UN Programme of Action (UN PoA) and the International Tracing Instrument (ITI). In fact, the EU considers the ITI as one of the most important practical achievements of the UN PoA. The EU has therefore been at the forefront of promotion and implementation of the ITI, in particular promotion of regional cooperation, through different initiatives. Our objective is to support States in fulfilling their obligations deriving from the ITI at the national level and also to ensure a maximum degree of harmonization and exchange of information about adequate tools and practices at the regional and international levels.
- We share the view expressed by the Secretary-General in his 2014 report on “Recent developments in SALW manufacturing, technology and design and implications for the implementation of the International Tracing Instrument” that the ITI could be strengthened by taking into account new developments in technology to enhance weapon marking, record-keeping and tracing. In order to achieve such an increased usefulness, and to ensure the continued relevance of the ITI, we support the proposal made by the Secretary General to further discuss the possible value of agreeing on a document supplementary to the ITI to reflect the implications of recent technological developments in the marking, record-keeping and tracing of SALW. We believe that the MGE2 proved to be an excellent opportunity to deepen such a discussion among experts and we are looking forward to continue these discussions, on the basis of the Chair’s Summary of this meeting and in a results-oriented manner, next year at BMS6 and, as appropriate, at the UN PoA Review Conference in 2018.
- The EU is also ready to support and fund future projects to concretely explore the potential use of new technologies to secure SALW in close cooperation with countries with relatively limited infrastructure. New mobile and flexible technologies may offer solutions to effectively secure SALW in instances when the risk of diversion is especially high and we believe that they could offer appropriate cost effective solutions for States that are lacking a large weapons security infrastructure. We are looking forward to funding pilot activities that will be the base for a guidance document outlining a long term roadmap for the possible use of new technologies in certain contexts.
- On tracing, the EU very much welcomes the increased efforts by the international community to more effectively monitor the implementation of arms embargoes and to further improve its diagnostic capacity in the field of combating illicit trade in and diversion of SALW. This evolution is also reflected in the most recent UN Security Council Resolution 2220 (2015) on Small Arms and Light Weapons, adopted on 22 May 2015. The ITI plays a central role in this field. But we need to ensure full and effective implementation of the ITI as well as the realization of additional measures to shed more light on SALW trafficking routes in order to combat them more effectively. Both lack of sufficient capacity as well as lack of sufficient reliable data constitute key challenges in this regard. We consider it essential to improve capacities and assist States in their national obligations to mark SALW. In order to implement these national obligations, adequate legislation, standards and practices are also essential.
- We also wish to echo the Secretary-General’s call, in his recent report on SALW to the UN Security Council from April this year, that UN Member States should continue to strengthen their cooperation among each other and with relevant international, regional and subregional organizations with regard to the sharing of operational information for the tracing of illicit SALW and to make full use of the EU-funded Illicit Arms Records and Tracing Management System global firearms database of INTERPOL – iARMS. iARMS provides a common global platform for facilitating information exchange and investigative cooperation between law enforcement agencies in relation to the international movement of illicit firearms as well as licit firearms that have been involved in the commission of a crime. We welcome that iARMS is being used by law enforcement agencies in more and more States.
- Moreover, we are convinced that we need to supplement tracing of SALW that States have recovered from crime scenes with additional on-the-ground, coordinated monitoring to provide policy makers with the information necessary to formulate effective policies against diversion and illicit trafficking of SALW. This is the reason why the EU is also funding the iTRACE project, which is complementary to iARMS. It is providing significant additional information to strengthen the implementation of the ITI by focusing on tracking illicit SALW and ammunition with an extensive programme of field investigations in conflict-affected regions where on-the-ground monitoring is scarce. All of our efforts in this regard, however, require the continued effectiveness and adaptation of the ITI, especially with regard to the marking of weapons. This is why the work of the MGE2 has been so important and we are looking forward to the next steps in order to ensure the necessary guidance on recent developments in SALW manufacturing, technology and design and their implications for effective marking, record-keeping and tracing. And in this regard the EU supports the approach and suggestions made in the working paper submitted by Austria, Belgium and Germany.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
- Ref: EUUN15-089EN
- EU source: European Union
- UN forum: Other
- Date: 5/6/2015