The FINANCIAL -- The
56 OSCE participating States and 12 Partners for Co-operation concluded a review of the OSCE Plan of Action on Small Arms and Light
Weapons that aims to counter the spread and accumulation of
An estimated 875 million small arms are in circulation around the world, killing up to half a million people every year and posing serious threats to safety and security in the OSCE region and globally. The OSCE has worked since the 1990s at the forefront of international efforts to curb this illicit trade and to develop effective national and regional practices to control small arms and light weapons.
A meeting held by the OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation on 22 and 23 May brought together experts and officials from 56 OSCE participating States as well as from international organizations and non-governmental organizations.
At the meeting, participants took stock of work in implementing the OSCE Plan of Action on SALW, adopted in 2010, and reviewed specific areas for further improvement. According to OSCE, these include export and brokering controls, stockpile management and security, and the destruction, marking and tracing of small arms and light weapons.
Ambassador Gints Apals of Latvia, the Chairperson of the Forum for Security Co-operation, underlined the need to co-ordinate work on SALW at all levels – at the level of participating States, in the OSCE framework and within global UN efforts.
“Just three months before the UN Review Conference to consider the implementation of the UN Programme of Action on SALW, it is ever more important to compare the notes and look at OSCE efforts in light of the overall implementation of the UN Programme of Action so that the OSCE contribution would be timely and effective, and would not duplicate already existing initiatives,” Apals said.
OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier highlighted the importance of the fight against the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons for the OSCE.
“The OSCE region includes major producers and exporters of SALW. Ninety percent of illicit SALW is diverted from the legal market. Internationally accepted norms, measures and standards along with co-operation at the regional and global levels are essential for establishing effective control over the entire cycle of SALW and to stop SALW diversion,” he said.
Zannier offered suggestions for improving the implementation of the Plan of Action, including through the development of implementation benchmarks, strengthening practical links with other domains of OSCE work, such as efforts to address the conflict cycle and transnational threats, and deepening dialogue with counterparts from other international organizations.
Alongside the review meeting, a special session on the practical aspects of working on SALW will be held on 24 May, featuring expert-level discussions and training on stockpile management, surplus reduction and destruction of small arms and light weapons. Participants will examine the entire project cycle, including the needs assessment of the host country, planning and execution. Particular attention will be paid to the role of donors.