Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects

Statement by  H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin  Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations
Open-Ended Informal Consultations on the Biennial Meeting of States to Consider the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects

I would like to profoundly thank all the Member States for the nomination as Chair-designate of the “Fifth Biennial Meeting of States to Consider Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects,” tentatively scheduled for 16–20 June 2014. I am grateful for your trust, and I look forward to playing this role to the best of my abilities.

Around the world, small arms and light weapons are fueling conflict, instability, and creating obstacles to development, peace, and security.   The human cost is massive, and their impact fueling violence by terrorists, drug cartels, criminal gangs, and insurgents is extreme.

Since the adoption of the Programme of Action in 2001, the world has witnessed a great deal of progress in dealing with illicit arms circulation. Member states have made major achievements in terms of establishing national laws and commissions, enhancing capacities of institutions, increasing the security of their arms depots and ammunitions, and preventing the diversion of these weapons to non-state actors.

The outcome document on the implementation of the Program of Action to prevent, combat, and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects, which was adopted by consensus during the 2nd review conference from the 27th of August to the 7th September last year in New York, represented considerable progress.   We consider this document a major success of the international community on the implementation of the Programme of Action.

Still, much work has to be done. Cooperation among states in tracking illicit arms remains a challenge. Many countries lack the capacity to exercise effective control over unregulated weapons within their borders.  Others have weak national reporting mechanisms. State budgets are still invested in weapons at the expense of investment in development programs.

Curbing the devastating scourge of illicit small arms and light weapons is of prime importance for countries like my country, Afghanistan.   Afghanistan has been a major victim of this scourge; more than 1.5 million Afghans have been killed by these weapons.  The atrocities are ongoing- one of the biggest killers is the IED used by the Taliban and other terrorist groups.

As Chair-designate, I would like to reassure you that I will do my utmost to have an open, inclusive, and balanced process in dealing with this issue. I will listen carefully, and pay close attention to your views and suggestions.

The upcoming First Committee will be an excellent and timely opportunity to consult with you on your priorities for BMS5. Therefore, I intend to organize our first open-ended consultations in October to discuss priority issues and topics of relevance to be addressed during the BMS5, as well as problems and opportunities arising from the implementation of the Programme of Action.

Moving ahead, I am open to your suggestions, comments and concerns. Thank you and I look forward to your cooperation.