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.
Regional small arms measures help strengthen the implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action by allowing regions to address small arms problems in a way that is uniquely suited to them. Regional action on small arms is vital. Small arms trafficking cannot be fully controlled by individual countries because illicit trade thrives on porous borders.
Project Ploughshares is currently undertaking initiatives to strengthen the capacity of governments and civil society in the Caribbean to reduce gun violence and crime.
Horn of Africa
Project Ploughshares provided technical assistance to the government of Kenya in drafting the Nairobi Declaration, a ground-breaking regional small arms agreement signed in March 2000 by 10 countries in the Horn of Africa and Great Lakes region. The declaration and a subsequent statement by the Organization of African Unity (now the African Union) contributed to a cohesive African role in achieving consensus on the Programme of Action on small arms adopted in 2001.
Publications on UN PoA
The programme of inaction (or When New York becomes Geneva)January 2, 2013
Author Daniel Mack Daniel Mack is Policy and Advocacy Coordinator, Arms Control, Instituto Sou da Paz, São Paulo, Brazil. This article first appeared on the website The Small Arms Monitor: ...
Canada’s international firearms commitmentsJune 21, 2012
Author Kenneth Epps Presentation to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, June 21, 2012 Thank you for the invitation to address the Standing Senate Committee on the ...
A glaring omission: Landmark UN Resolution 1325 on women and peace makes no reference to small arms and light weaponsApril 10, 2012
Author Maribel Gonzales The Ploughshares Monitor Spring 2012 Volume 33 Issue 1 United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325, unanimously adopted in 2000, was a turning point in how the ...