Press release on the 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
Today, the 29 August 2013, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin was nominated as Chair-designate for the 5th 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 at Open-Ended Informal Consultations in New York.
Daniel Prins, Chief of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA’s) Conventional Arms Branch, chaired the conference, in the absentia of the United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Angela Kane, who is currently in Syria.
The meeting followed Asia-Pacific Regional Group’s 31 July 2013 endorsement, which formally put forward the candidature of His Excellency Zahir Tanin for the position of Chair-designate of the Fifth Biennial Meeting of States (BMS5).
The Chair congratulated Ambassador Tanin on his nomination as Chair-designate. “I am confident that Ambassador Tanin, with his proven knowledge in particular of matters pertaining to international security, and his excellent diplomatic skills, possesses the qualities and qualifications needed to generate trust and build the consensus necessary to bring the BMS5 to a successful outcome,” he said.
Ambassador Tanin’s nomination was endorsed by consensus. Noting the general agreement in the room, Mr. Prins congratulated the Ambassador and noted that this gives him a strong mandate to prepare the BMS5 well in advance.
Taking the floor, Ambassador Tanin thanked member states for his nomination as Chair-designate. “I am grateful for your trust,” he said, “I look forward to playing this role to the best of my abilities.”
Ambassador Tanin noted the gravity of this particular issue. He reflected, “Around the world, small arms and light weapons are fueling conflict, instability, and creating obstacles to development, peace, and security.”
He praised the progress of member states in dealing with illicit arms circulation, mentioning 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.”
“Still,” he said, “Much work has to be done.” He noted the importance of this issue to his country, Afghanistan. “Afghanistan has been a major victim of this scourge,” he said, “More than 1.5 million Afghans have been killed by these weapons.”
He reassured delegates that he would do his 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,” he noted. He expressed his intention to organize the 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.
Ambassador Tanin concluded his statement by thanking member states and communicating his enthusiasm for their cooperation. In closing, the Chair expressed his confidence that this early endorsement would lead to a productive meeting next year and adjourned the Open-Ended Informal Consultations.