UN to review progress in worldwide fight against illegal gun trafficking

UN to review progress in worldwide fight against illegal gun trafficking

Since its adoption in 2001, an international action plan to counter illegal gun trafficking had caused unprecedented government activity in the fight against the scourge, but the weapons continued to cause human misery, destabilize States and squelch development, the top United Nations disarmament official said today as he opened a planning meeting for a review of progress on the issue.

“The problem is a long-term one,” Nobuyasu Abe, the Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, said at the start of the preparatory session for the Review Conference to Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons, which will be held in New York from 26 June to 7 July 2006.

The huge increase in government anti-trafficking activities because of the Programme of Action was evidenced by the high volume of national reporting that occurred during meetings of States on the matter held in 2003 and 2005, he said.

At each gathering, over 100 national reports were submitted to the Department for Disarmament Affairs.

Another positive development was the increase in regional cooperation and the creation of regional institutions to assist States in carrying out the Programme.

Among the measures agreed to in the Programme of Action, countries said they would ensure that licensed manufacturers apply an appropriate and reliable marking on each small arm and light weapon as an integral part of the production process.

They also committed themselves to keeping comprehensive and accurate records for as long as possible on the manufacture, holding and transfer of small arms and light weapons under their jurisdiction.

In addition, countries agreed to strengthen their ability to cooperate in identifying and tracing illicit small arms and light weapons and guaranteed that all confiscated, seized or collected small arms and light weapons should be destroyed.

The preparatory meeting for the June Review Conference will run through 20 January.