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UN chief hails 'successful' end of review of programme of action for illicit small arms trade

UN chief hails 'successful' end of review of programme of action for illicit small arms trade

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomes the “successful” conclusion of the Second Review Conference of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, which ended on Friday with the adoption of a final report, according to Mr. Ban's spokesperson.

“The final report expresses the international community's unwavering commitment to combat the devastating impacts of illicit small arms and light weapons,” the spokesperson said in a statement today. “It also sets out a roadmap for the period 2012-2018, with concrete, actionable steps to implement the Programme of Action.”

The Programme of Action, which countries adopted by consensus in 2001, contains concrete recommendations for improving national legislation and controls over illicit small arms, fostering regional cooperation and promoting international assistance and cooperation on the issue.

Countries agreed to, among other measures, ensuring that licensed manufacturers apply an appropriate and reliable marking on each small arm and light weapon as an integral part of the production process, and 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.

“The Secretary-General believes that the success achieved at this Review Conference will further bolster the international community's efforts to tackle the challenges associated with the wide availability of illicit small arms,” the UN chief's spokesperson added. “In particular, this success should give further impetus to the efforts to conclude the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) process in the nearest future.”

In July, UN Member States failed to reach agreement on a treaty that would regulate the conventional arms trade. The four-week long Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty had brought Member States together to negotiate what is seen as the most important initiative ever regarding conventional arms regulation within the United Nations.

Despite the lack of agreement, Mr. Ban said, at the time, that he was encouraged that the ATT process was not over, with States having agreed to continue pursuing “this noble goal.”

At the end of 2010, an estimated 27.5 million people were internally displaced as a result of conflict, while millions more have sought refuge abroad. In many cases, the armed violence that drove them from their homes was fuelled by the widespread availability and misuse of weapons.