Asia-Pacific Countries to Tackle Specter of Illicit Small Arms in Preparation for Global Meeting

KATHMANDU, 22 January (Office for Disarmament Affairs) — Kathmandu is set to host a pivotal gathering of Asia-Pacific countries to tackle the spectre of illicit small arms.  The Regional Preparatory Meeting for the Fourth Review Conference on the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (UN PoA) and its International Tracing Instrument is set to take place from 23 to 25 January.  As a mark of the importance of this gathering, the President Designate of the Fourth Review Conference, Maritza Chan Valverde of Costa Rica, as well as Izumi Nakamitsu, UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, will be in attendance, along with delegations from over 25 countries in the region.

The UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, established in 2001 at the UN General Assembly, is a critical, politically binding framework.  It encompasses commitments by Member States to enhance control measures over small arms, including through improved national regulations, stockpile management, import/export controls and international cooperation.  The introduction of the International Tracing Instrument in 2005 further strengthened this framework, by emphasizing the need for effective marking and record-keeping of weapons, thus aiding in their traceability.  These measures are integral to the global effort in addressing the challenges posed by the illicit arms trade and align with the objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

United Nations Member States periodically review progress on these commitments, with the Fourth Review Conference scheduled from 17 to 28 June in New York.  A Preparatory Committee meeting to lay the groundwork for that meeting will take place from 12 to 16 February.

In anticipation of the Fourth Review Conference, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific, in collaboration with the Government of Nepal, is organizing the preparatory regional meeting in Kathmandu.  The regional meeting will provide a forum for participating States and other stakeholders, including civil society organizations, to identify region-specific small arms and light weapons-related challenges and discuss priorities for the Fourth Review Conference.  The three-day meeting will feature thematic presentations and group discussions on various themes, such as developing effective national policies, enhancing tracing of small arms and light weapons through the International Tracing Instrument framework, and identifying and developing strategies to curb the supply and demand of small arms and light weapons.  It also offers a unique opportunity for participating States and regional organizations of Asia-Pacific to engage in constructive discussions on combating terrorism, illicit trafficking and transnational crimes within the framework of the Programme of Action, and contribute to countries’ mandatory national reports.

The regional meeting takes place in the context of the Office for Disarmament Affairs’ global project that seeks to support full and effective implementation of the Programme of Action and its International Tracing Instrument, supported by the European Union.  The Australian Government provided additional support that allows for the participation of States’ delegates in the event.

For additional details on the Preparatory Regional Meeting, please reach out to Ida Scarpino, Political Affairs Officer at email:  ida.scarpino@un.org.

For information media. Not an official record.