Statement by Sweden at the UN Security Council Briefing on Small arms
National Statement delivered by Ambassador Carl Skau on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on Small arms, 18 December 2017, New York.
Let me begin by thanking Under-Secretary-General Nakamitsu for her important briefing a well as the Secretary-General for his report. We welcome the inclusion in the report of recommendations that offer means of implementation for both Member States and the Secretariat, which provide a clear road map for the future, as well as the initiative to address past recommendations in this report.
Today's discussion is particularly timely and important as we approach the Third Review Conference of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects and its International Tracing Instrument, which will take place in June of next year.
The humanitarian consequences of the illicit flows of these weapons are devastating, resulting in civilian casualties and hampering development. Weapons and ammunition flows have a particularly destructive effect in vulnerable and fragile settings. Preventing armed conflict and building sustainable peace based on respect for human rights cannot be achieved without addressing the wide-reaching harm caused to civilians by small arms and light weapons.
For this reason, it is necessary to mainstream the issue of small arms and light weapons into all relevant discussions on the Council's agenda. This includes in the mandating of peacekeeping operations as well as in efforts to sustain peace throughout the conflict cycle. Sweden will continue to support efforts to prevent the flows of small arms and light weapons and ammunition as an integral part of our work to sustain peace and prevent conflict, including through our membership of this Council.
We are encouraged to see that significant developments and trends in weapons and ammunition management in peace operations and conflict-affected settings are addressed in the Secretary-General's report. It is vital to tackle the complex linkages between transnational illicit trafficking in weapons and the resilience of conflict-affected and post-conflict States, especially in our discussions on peace operations.
The illicit spread of small arms and light weapons enables and fuels armed conflicts that are having devastating effects on sustainable development. We welcome the call for improved controls and regulation as a means to reduce armed violence and achieve the 2030 Agenda. We welcome that the relationship between the international trade in arms and the Sustainable Development Goals is a theme in the Arms Trade Treaty.
We strongly welcome the focus on gender in the report. Mainstreaming gender issues in small arms control efforts is of utmost importance in addressing the consequences of illicit arms flows.
Armed violence affects women, men, and children differently. While recognising that both women and men can be victims and perpetrators of armed violence, cases where small arms contribute to acts of sexual and, or, gender-based violence are of particular concern. We must also promote the role of women in preventing, combating and eradicating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.
This has long been a priority for Sweden., One example of Sweden's support is a project by UNODA and UNREC, which commences today, and which aims to improve the contribution by, and participation of, women in disarmament work. The project focusses on the prevention of acquisition of small arms, light weapons and ammunition by terrorist groups in the Lake Chad Basin as well as countries in the Sahel. While the strength of Boko Haram has been severely weakened, the threat of attacks and the prevalence of terrorism remains all too real for the people of the region. The recognition of women as agents for change is central to countering radicalization and building a sustainable future.
The effective control of small arms and light weapons requires the effective control of ammunition, since these weapons can only be operated and misused if ammunition is available. Significant efforts to further regulate and control ammunition is therefore needed.
The European Union is currently in the final stages of developing a revised EU Strategy against Illicit Small Arms & Light Weapons and their Ammunition. The new strategy presents a shared vision on how to address the threat of these weapons and their ammunition. It also presents common actions to be implemented by the EU and its Member States.
The human, economic and social toll from the use of illicit small arms & light weapons is immense. Preventing, combatting and eradicating this destructive trade is urgent and essential if we are to achieve both the 2030 Agenda and the Sustaining Peace agenda. We will continue to do all we can towards this end.