Tackling Illicit Small Arms, Light Weapons on Agenda of Latin American, Caribbean States in Lead-Up to Global Milestone Meeting

NEW YORK, 11 March (Office for Disarmament Affairs) — In June 2024, United Nations Member States will meet in New York for the fourth Review Conference on the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (PoA).  In preparation for the global meeting, States from Latin America and the Caribbean will gather over the coming two weeks to discuss regional priorities, as well as challenges and opportunities, to combat small arms trafficking.

Kicking off the preparatory process will be representatives from Latin American countries who will convene from 11 to 15 March 2024.  From 18 to 22 March, all Caribbean States will be invited to commence their preparations.  Both meetings will take place virtually and will bring together representatives from respective national authorities in capitals, such as foreign affairs, defence and security, as well as diplomats from the respective Permanent Missions to the United Nations in New York and Geneva.

As a mark of the importance of those meetings, the President-designate of the fourth Review Conference, Maritza Chan Valverde of Costa Rica, as well as Izumi Nakamitsu, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, will be in attendance.

The PoA was adopted in 2001 by all United Nations Member States and encompasses commitments to enhance control measures over small arms, including through improved national regulations, stockpile management, import/export controls and international cooperation.  The adoption of the International Tracing Instrument in 2005 further strengthened this framework, introducing the commitment for cooperation in weapons tracing and emphasizing the need for effective marking and record-keeping of weapons.  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 the implementation of the commitments made in the PoA and the International Tracing Instrument, with the fourth Review Conference scheduled from 17 to 28 June in New York.

Over the next two weeks, the regional preparatory meetings will provide a forum for States and other stakeholders, including regional organizations, to identify region-specific small arms and light weapons-related challenges and to discuss regional priorities for the fourth Review Conference.  The five-day meetings will feature thematic presentations and State discussions, including developing effective national policies; enhancing tracing of small arms and light weapons through the International Tracing Instrument framework; developments in small arms and light weapons manufacturing, technology and design; the role of private security companies; 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 to engage in constructive discussions on combating illicit trafficking and transnational crimes within the framework of the Programme of Action and contribute to States’ mandatory national reports.

The regional meetings will be hosted by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs and its Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean.  They take 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.

More information on the Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects and the International Tracing Instrument is available at https://disarmament.unoda.org/convarms/salw.

Further details on the regional Preparatory Meeting can be found here https://unlirec.org/en/publicacion/regional-preparatory-meeting-revcon4/.  More information on the fourth Review Conference is available at https://meetings.unoda.org/poa-salw-revcon/programme-of-action-on-small-arms-and-light-weapons-review-conference-2024.

For additional details on the regional preparatory meetings in Latin America and the Caribbean, please reach out to Katja Boettcher, Political Affairs Officer at email:  boettcher@unlirec.org.

For information media. Not an official record.