The UK works with other countries through several treaties on conventional weapons to build confidence, ensure security and reduce threats to civilians. These treaties include:
In 2006 the UN General Assembly adopted a Resolution calling for an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), to curb the irresponsible transfers of conventional weapons. In November 2009, plans for this were agreed.
Read more about an Arms Trade Treaty.
The UK ratified the Ottawa Convention in 1998, prohibiting the use, production and stockpiling of anti-personnel mines.
The UK is also one of the biggest donors for mine action. We contribute around £10m annually to demining programmes in the worst affected developing countries where mines regularly kill, maim and disrupt lives.
These countries include Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan.
There are an estimated 875m small arms and light weapons in global circulation – that’s one gun for every 7 people.
The threat and use of these weapons cause enormous suffering around the world because they:
We're implementing the UN Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons. It's important to exchange information and work with states to build their capacity to better manage their stockpiles. We’re promoting better ways of tracing small arms and contributing to projects which destroy excess stocks.
We're also supporting national and regional initiatives to tackle illicit transfers of these weapons. Our earlier work on global guidelines for transfers is now being taken forward as part of our work towards an Arms Trade Treaty.