The Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects was borne out of a 2001 United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade of Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects.

An important element of the work of Project Ploughshares is to assist in the implementation of the UN Programme of Action.

The Programme of Action (PoA) requires member nations, among other steps, to:

  • Make illicit gun production/possession a criminal offence
  • Establish a national co-ordination agency on small arms
  • Identify and destroy stocks of surplus weapons
  • Manage stockpiles more effectively
  • Issue end-user certificates for exports/transit
  • Notify the original supplier nation of re-export
  • Support Disarmament, Demobilization & Re-integration (DDR)  of ex-combatants, including collection and destruction of their weapons
  • Support regional agreements and encourage import moratoria
  • Mark guns at point of manufacture for identification and tracing
  • Maintain records of gun manufacture
  • Engage in more information exchange
  • Ensure better enforcement of arms embargoes
  • Include civil society organizations in efforts to prevent small arms proliferation

The PoA remains a watershed document that provides a framework and a follow-up process for national, regional and global action to control small arms.

Small arms have remained on the international agenda in no small part because of the PoA process.

Publications on UN PoA

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