In March 2003, the Small Arms Working Group (SAWG) of the Canadian Peacebuilding Coordinating Committee met for two days to discuss issues relating to the upcoming UN Conference on the Program of Action (PoA). The event, which involved a number of civil society representatives, was intended to facilitate connections between SAWG members and civil society, provide an opportunity for information sharing, advance a broad understanding of arms control issues, outline the process leading up to the UN Conference and expand the engagement of the Canadian public.
Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) is a multi-faceted problem that requires a variety of responses to meet its many challenges. With this in mind, the SAWG meeting included a series of workshops, each aimed at a particular facet of the issue. The workshops were followed by an overview of the problem – including policy challenges and obstacles to civil society involvement, a report on government activities in pursuit of the UN PoA and the chance to develop initial steps to move the process forward.