Background

More than a decade has passed since the adoption of the UN Programme of Action (PoA) in 2001. The PoA laid the foundation for action countering the illicit trade and uncontrolled circulation of small arms and light weapons at the national, regional and global levels.

In accordance with the two-year cycle of PoA meetings, the Fifth Biennial Meeting of States to Consider Implementation of the PoA (BMS5) will take place in New York from 16 - 20 June 2014.

H.E. Zahir Tanin of Afghanistan has been endorsed by Member States as chair-designate of BMS5.

The meeting will include a segment on the International Tracing Instrument, a separate instrument agreed to by Member States in 2005 on the marking and tracing of small arms.

It is expected that BMS5 will be open for NGO participation and press coverage, just as previous PoA meetings.

Programme of Action Implementation Support System



UN Photo

COMBATTING THE ILLICIT TRADE IN SMALL ARMS

Most present-day conflicts are fought with small arms and light weapons. They are the weapons of choice in civil wars and for terrorism, organized crime and gang warfare.
Illicit small arms have a negative impact on security, contribute to the displacement of civilians, facilitate the violation of human rights and hamper social and economic development.
Secretary-General's report to the Security Council on small arms



Photo courtesy of BICC 

COMBATTING THE ILLICIT TRADE IN SMALL ARMS

To address the issue of illicit small arms, the United Nations adopted in 2001 the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (PoA).
The PoA contains concrete suggestions for improved national legislation and controls, regional cooperation, and international assistance and cooperation. It covers a wide range of topics including: small arms manufacturing; marking, record-keeping, and tracing; stockpile management and security; surplus identification and disposal; brokering; public awareness; and DDR programmes.
Programme of Action on Small Arms

 


UN Photo

COMBATTING THE ILLICIT TRADE IN SMALL ARMS

The Programme of Action on Small Arms recommended starting negotiations on a separate instrument on tracing illicit small arms. In 2005, the International Tracing Instrument (ITI) was adopted by the UN General Assembly.
If weapons can be traced back to their last legal owner, they need to have been marked, and a record should be kept. In the ITI, governments have committed to do just that.
International Tracing Instrument


Photo courtesy of the DRC National Commission 

COMBATTING THE ILLICIT TRADE IN SMALL ARMS

Since 2001 a number of States have enacted new, or have revised existing legislation. Some States have integrated small arms action plans into national development strategies. The number of regional or sub-regional initiatives, guidelines and instruments inspired by the PoA has multiplied.
Cooperation and assistance among States and regional organizations have increased. And there has been an increased awareness and understanding of how small arms problems relate to broader issues, such as armed violence, economic and social development, transnational crime and terrorism.
Secretary-General's report to the Security Council on small arms

 


UN Photo

COMBATTING THE ILLICIT TRADE IN SMALL ARMS

Member States have gathered periodically to review the implementation of the Programme of Action and the International Tracing Instrument, and how to strengthen their implementation. Over the past decade, four Biennial Meetings of States were held. In 2011, technical officials have gathered for a meeting of governmental experts, to discuss how marking, record-keeping and tracing of small arms could be improved.

 

 
Photo Courtesy of MAG  

COMBATTING THE ILLICIT TRADE IN SMALL ARMS

Much has changed since 2001, including that rich countries have agreed that small arms control activities are formally eligible for development assistance. So BMS5 will be an opportunity to thoroughly consider the state of implementation of the PoA and agree on an outcome document to make progress in the implementation of the PoA and the International Tracing Instrument in the coming years.

 

Chair-designate

Ambassador
Zahir Tanin
Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations

 
"Around the world, illicit small arms and light weapons are creating obstacles to development, peace, and security.
The human cost is massive.
Amb. Zahir Tanin
Curbing this devastating scourge is of prime importance for countries like mine. As Chair-designate, I will do my utmost to have an open, inclusive, and balanced process in dealing with this issue."
   
Essential documents
 ‘Zero draft’ outcome  [E]
 Provisional Agenda [E]
 
 Letters from  
 Chairperson-designate
5 March 2014
16 January 2014
20 December 2013
11 December 2013
7 November 2013
10 October 2013
 Report of 2012
 Review Conference

 (with Outcome Documents
 annexed)
[A] [C] [E] [F] [R] [S]
 More documents  
National reports


Information for NGOs

List of NGOs

Accreditation:
Aide-mémoire for NGOs

NGO focal point:
newyork@iansa.org

UN contact:
UNODA-web@un.org

Voluntary standards

The United Nations has developed a set of International Small Arms Control Standards (ISACS) to provide guidance to policymakers and practitioners on the full range of small arms control issues.