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UK Mission to the United Nations

New York

London 20:21, 02 Jan 2013
New York 15:21, 02 Jan 2013

UK Statement to the United Nations Review Conference 2012 on the Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons

30 August 2012

Delivered by James Roscoe, Head of the Global Threats Team to the  UK Mission to the UN

Madam President

Let me begin by congratulating you on your appointment as President of this Review Conference and assure you of the United Kingdom’s full support over the next two weeks.

It is a pleasure to be able to add my voice to the important interventions we have already heard. The United Kingdom aligns itself with the statement made on behalf of the European Union.

There is clear evidence that the poorly-controlled and illicit trade in and accumulation of small arms and light weapons continue to cause suffering and insecurity. It has been estimated that 1,500 people are killed every day in conflict or armed violence. Small arms and light weapons continue to be responsible for the majority of these deaths and injuries. In addition to ending lives, the violence perpetrated with these weapons destroys livelihoods, displaces entire communities and hampers social and economic development.

That is why the international community resolved in 2001 to work together to prevent, combat and eradicate this problem, and why the United Nations Programme of Action remains as vitally important today as it was eleven years ago.  

Madam President, the United Kingdom remains firmly committed to this task.

As part of our strategy for addressing this issue, we have funded projects to reduce the risk of illicit proliferation and the risk of accidents posed by small arms and light weapons. In particular we have provided resources to train officers and armourers to secure weapons and implement stockpile management.

Closer to home, we continue to work with our partners in law enforcement to prosecute the individuals who profit from the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.  In recent years, the United Kingdom has successfully prosecuted cases of breaches of the United Kingdom's Trafficking and Brokering Legislation relating to small arms and light weapons. Those found guilty were sentenced to imprisonment and had their assets amounting to millions of dollars, confiscated.

Madam President,

We also remain committed to work to negotiate a robust and effective Arms Trade Treaty, to regulate the international trade in conventional arms including small arms and light weapons. An Arms Trade Treaty is coming and when it does, it will have a significant impact on the poorly regulated trade in those arms that cause the greatest harm around the world. Our work here is just one part of a truly global effort to tackle the scourge of small arms and light weapons.

Turning to the specifics of this Review Conference, I agree with what a number of delegations have already said. That is: that we need to look more closely at how we measure the impact of the United Nations Programme of Action so as to maximise its effectiveness in the future.

We also think the conference should consider how it might make its work more focused on the principle objectives of the United Nations Programme of Action, perhaps by encouraging a more detailed discussion on specific areas. We welcome the opportunity to discuss how we can use the Expert Group Meetings and Biannual meetings and the 2012 Review Conference to focus our objectives and achieve our goals.

With this in mind, we welcome your programme of work for this fortnight and would like to thank you, Madam President, for the excellent work you have led, to prepare us for this Review Conference. The draft outcome documents will provide a useful basis for our discussions.

We also welcome the opportunity to discuss the integration of small arms and light weapons control into broader conflict prevention, armed violence reduction and development strategies and interventions.  
We think it is important to consider how the positive outcomes of small arms and light weapons control efforts can be maximised by linking them with other interventions that are taking place in related areas such as conflict prevention, security and justice sector reform and wider development programmes.  

Finally, the United Kingdom believes that increased cooperation and information exchange on MANPAD related projects is necessary given the nature of the threat to security and we are encouraged that there is going to be a discussion around this issue this week.

Madam President, we believe these are challenging but important issues which warrant further attention.  
We look forward to working with you over the coming fortnight and reiterate our thanks for all the work you have done thus far.

Thank You

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