10 September 2012

The Programme of Inaction (or When New York becomes Geneva)

by Daniel Mack, Instituto Sou da Paz

Upon adoption of an outcome document by consensus, the office of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon lauded the PoA Review Conference (RevCon) conclusion as “successful”. But what constitutes success in such a Conference? The RevCon’s mandate was to review the implementation of the PoA, and very little of that was actually done. Rather, it was more of a “Document Review Conference” for drafts that had been available for weeks.

Outcome document adopted by consensus, but lacking in ambition

by Katherine Prizeman, Global Action to Prevent War
After the President of the UNPoA Review Conference (RevCon), Ambassador Ogwu of Nigeria, provided a third revision of the draft outcome document on Friday afternoon, delegations were able to adopt, by consensus, the compilation document. While this accomplishment was hailed as a success, particularly after the failure of the 2006 RevCon, states must use the next six-year review cycle to achieve more in the way of practical implementation.


The final outcome document: a tentative step

by Eloise Watson, Reaching Critical Will of WILPF

Today’s global strategic environment is characterized by complexity, in which the problems posed by the illicit trade of small arms and light weapon (SALW) are amplified. It was therefore of cardinal importance that the 2012 UNPoA Review Conference conclude with positive results. The conference did achieve its goal of adopting by consensus a final outcome document emphasizing the renewed commitment of the international community to combating the illegal trade in SALW. Such success, as Ambassador U. Joy Ogwu, President of the Conference, explained, will help create the “much needed and timely momentum for positive movement in the overall multilateral disarmament process.”


International media and the PoA

by Lia Petridis Maiello, Global Action to Prevent War

“Sparse” would describe the level of attention international media paid to the Second Review Conference for the UN Programme of Action (UNPoA) on small arms and lights weapons. The reasons are manifold and can obviously not be reduced to a general rule of thumb. The personal dedication of the individual journalist willing to push a story or topic that might not be as newsworthy as others in the eyes of the editor or outlet would be one reason. Needless to say, every media representative today, in particular those who are publishing with corporate media outlets, has to deal with an entirely new framework of restrictions and guidelines.



by Dr. Robert Zuber, Global Action to Prevent War

Friday saw the end of a successful two-week Review Conference (RevCon) characterized by a consensus outcome document; generous pledges of government assistance; the release of a new “Matching Needs and Resources” booklet and other, more data-driven resources; the revival of one of our small arms partners; a particularly successful series of Small Arms Monitors; the skillfulness of some relatively young and immensely talented facilitators; the consistent, helpful presence of UNODA staff; expressions of leadership on UN Programme of Action (UNPoA) implementation from a new group of regionally diverse states; and much more.


Measuring the effectiveness of the PoA

by Natalie Goldring

As we reach the end of the Review Conference, it’s important to focus once again on the fact that the real measure of the Programme of Action is whether it is saving lives.

WOMEN COUNT: Women and the RevCon on UNPoA

by Jasmin Nario-Galace, IANSA Women's Network

A total of 141 States sent representatives to the United Nations Conference to Review Progress Made in the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects in New York on 27 August–7  September 2012. 

Rest stop

by Dr. Robert Zuber, Global Action to Prevent War

We are approaching the end of what has been a long and challenging summer for many delegations and NGOs. There is one last hurdle to be overcome—approval of an outcome document that can help define for states and their public a set of obligations to drive the next six years of UNPoA activity.  

Final strides towards a meaningful consensus document

by Katherine Prizeman, Global Action to Prevent War

Thursday’s formal discussions showcased the strong efforts on the part of both the President of the Conference, Ambassador Ogwu of Nigeria, and delegates to reach consensus on a final outcome document for this UN Programme of Action (UNPoA) Review Conference (RevCon) by tomorrow afternoon. At the opening of the afternoon session prior to moving into informal consultations with the facilitators, Ambassador Owgu urged delegates to not become part of the “culture of failure”. As noted by the delegate of New Zealand in the morning session, consensus in this process is critical and achieving consensus at this RevCon is particularly significant for several reasons—to “heal the damage from 2006,” to help move the UNPoA into a new phase of practical implementation measures rather than strictly continuous debate over political norms, and to contribute to multilateral disarmament writ large.

06 September 2012

Strengthening implementation, not rewriting the Programme

by Ray Acheson, Reaching Critical Will of WILPF

During Tuesday’s discussions on the draft declaration, the Syrian delegation questioned a phrase in paragraph 7 that says states “resolve to tackle” the remaining challenges for full implementation of the UN Programme of Action (UNPoA) and the International Tracing Instrument (ITI). The Syrian delegate argued that states first have to identify what these challenges are and then propose solutions to tackle them. This should, of course, have been the key exercise of this Review Conference: to identify challenges and determine how to overcome them. Unfortunately, this crucial work has not been undertaken at this conference. Furthermore, attempts to strengthen future reviews have also been undermined by skepticism of some delegations, which will only hurt the UN small arms process going forward.

Bombs away

by Dr. Robert Zuber, Global Action to Prevent War
There seems to be very good progress towards an acceptable and actionable outcome document for the PoA, in part because of the excellent work of the facilitators, one of the most effective groups that Global Action to Prevent War (GAPW) has ever witnessed. The hope, as in all disarmament-related matters, is that the work of the facilitators results in a document that promotes more robust implementation and does not merely produce more normative frameworks to encourage optional activity. 

Connecting the dots

by Ray Acheson, Reaching Critical Will of WILPF
During Tuesday’s discussion on the draft declaration for the UNPoA Review Conference, government delegations debated the necessity, nature, and content of such a document. A declaration would be a useful aspect of the conference’s outcome if it advances the implementation process by highlighting not just the successes but also the failures of implementation and vigorously renews commitments to meeting the challenges ahead. It should set the tone for the six-year implementation plans for both the UNPoA and the International Tracing Instrument (ITI) by firmly outlining the core objectives of the UNPoA: ending the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons (SALW) and thereby reducing armed violence and associated human suffering.

Hall pass

by Dr. Robert Zuber, Global Action to Prevent War
There is plenty to be done over the next three days to come to agreement on an outcome document for the Second Review Conference of the UN Programme of Action (PoA) and strengthen commitments to full PoA implementation until the next Review Conference in six-years time. But across the hall in Conference Room 4 this morning (5 September) there is another UN General Assembly (GA)-sponsored event for which the issue of illicit small arms is directly applicable. 

04 September 2012

Pacific paradox: Successes of PoA implementation and the struggles of 'next steps' in the Pacific

by Marcus Wilson, International Action Network on Small Arms
The Pacific is often overlooked in discussions on the international small arms process, but look closer and the region is an example of what can be achieved through the Programme of Action (PoA). However, like other regions, the Pacific too struggles with sustainable, on-going attention to small arms issues. The future of the PoA, and the outcome of the Second Review Conference, must address the same issues. How to implement successful policies and practices to ‘prevent, combat and eradicate’ the illicit trade in small arms now, while sustaining long-term, effective, and measurable approaches to small arms control and the illicit trade?

Hybrid vehicles

by Dr. Robert Zuber, Global Action to Prevent War
After a long week of textual deliberations and helpful side events, and with a long holiday weekend looming, it would have been completely understandable for PoA delegates to have been a bit 'short' with each other on Friday afternoon. Instead, we were treated to a session characterized by kind and flexible discussions that were handled quite effectively by the Chair and even carried over a few minutes into vacation time.

Qu'en est-il sur l’avenir des enfants démobilisés dans un pays à risque des ALPC?

by Jean Claude Kabuiku, International Action Network on Small Arms
L'usage abusive des armes légères et de petit calibre a provoqué, au cours des décennies, la perte de vies de millions de personnes sur le continent Africain par exemple et, les plus touches sont ceux dans l’incapacité de se protégé notamment les femmes et les enfants. Réfuter par les autres mais aussi accepter par les uns qu’il ya un lien entre la prolifération des armes de choix communément appelé "légère et de petit calibre" et les violences armée. Certes, il ya des évidences qui prouvent que la circulation illicite des armes et l'usage inappropriés causent les violences et l'intimidation.  Cela va pour autant dire la que relation cause effet est évidente selon plusieurs analyses impartiales et des recherches empiriques.  
L’évolution des Opérations de Maintien de la Paix (OMP) des Nations Unies a apporté un bon nombre de changement et de concept. Le cas du processus de Démobilisation, Désarmement et Réintégration (DDR) qui devient en ce jour partie intégrante de consolidation de la paix après un conflit armé. Néanmoins, les questions continuent à être posées sur quel avenir pour ces enfants soldats démobilisé, et, quelle réinsertion?  

Strengthening the outcome documents through specifics

by Katherine Prizeman, Global Action to Prevent War

Last week, delegates began discussions on the outcome document for the Implementation Plan for the International Tracing Instrument (ITI) for the next review cycle from 2012 through 2018. While there have been proposals to include language that praises the progress made in implementing the ITI since its adoption in 2005, many delegates and NGOs have noted that language which does not add anything new to the discussion on how to more effectively and comprehensively implement the instrument is not sufficient.