First Committee of the 69th Session of the General Assembly- 15 October 2014
Small arms and light weapons (SALW) and the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) were discussed by the following delegations at the First Committee General Debate on 15 October 2014: Costa Rica on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), Columbia, Madagascar, Morocco, Nepal, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, and San Marino. In addition, the President of the General Assembly, Ambassador Sam Kutesa of Uganda, spoke regarding SALW and the ATT.
The President of the General Assembly stated that conventional weapons continue to pose a significant threat to international peace and security and further emphasized that the international community must vigorously pursue common endeavors to reduce armed violence, increase human security and promote sustainable development. Thus, he noted that the human, social and economic costs demand that the international community strengthen their commitment to curb the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.
The President stated that the UNPoA is an important element which shows the collective efforts of the international community to curb the illicit transfer and circulation of SALW. CELAC, Morocco, Nepal, Peru, Columbia, Paraguay, Madagascar, and Nicaragua also discussed the UNPoA. CELAC, Peru and Columbia underlined the importance of and their full commitment to the implementation of the UNPoA. Further, Morocco, Nepal, Peru, Paraguay, and Madagascar reiterated their support for the positive outcome document, reached by consensus, of the BMS5 on the UNPoA, with Nepal highlighting that this outcome shows the international community’s commitment to curbing the illicit trade of SALW. Nicaragua noted that international cooperation and assistance is vital for the full and effective implementation of the instrument, while CELAC, Columbia, Nepal and Madagascar emphasized the vital need for multilateralism and an increase in dialogue in ensuring the full success of the UNPoA and other relevant instruments.
CELAC stressed that work needs to continue on the UNPoA, in particular towards establishing a legally binding instrument on the marking and tracing of SALW. Peru called for the better exchange of information at national, regional and international levels, particularly regarding the tracking of SALW, in order to ensure that such weapons do not fall into the hands of unauthorized non-State actors or terrorist groups.
The importance of the ITI was acknowledged by CELAC, Morocco, Peru, Columbia, and Paraguay, while Morocco also reiterated its support for Security Council Resolution 2117 on SALW adopted in 2013.
CELAC, Pakistan, Morocco, Peru, San Marino, Columbia, Paraguay, Madagascar and Nepal welcomed the adoption of the ATT. CELAC stated that the treaty contributes to the reduction in armed conflict, armed violence and violations in international human rights law. CELAC, Columbia, Madagascar and Morocco underscored the need for a full, balanced and effective implementation of the treaty while emphasizing that the sovereign rights of States to acquire, manufacture, export, import, and retain conventional arms and their parts and components for their self-defense and security needs should not be affected.
Pakistan underlined that the treaty is a step towards regulating trade and transfer of conventional weapons. However, it stated that trade and transfer are only one part of the larger landscape where equally important factors of excessive production, sale and arms control need to be addressed. It noted that such a comprehensive approach would halt human suffering, prevent conflicts and promote international security.