At BMS6, States unanimously reaffirm link between illicit small arms trade and underdevelopment

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UN Photo/Andrea Brizzi

NEW YORK, USA — The 6th Biennial Meeting of States (BMS6) to consider implementation of the UN Programme of Action against the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons came to close on June 10 with consensus agreement by all UN Member States that preventing the illicit small arms trade is vital to achieving sustainable human development.

A significant achievement of the meeting was to consolidate the global consensus—established by the Sustainable Development Goals—that significantly reducing illicit arms flows will be essential to achieving key milestones in sustainable human development over the coming 15 years.  

States wecomed the adoption of Global Goals and noted that combatting the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons is important not only in order to realize Goal 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions, but also to end poverty (Goal 1), boost economic growth (Goal 8), protect health (Goal 3), promote gender equality (Goal 5), and build safe cities and communities (Goal 11).  

States encouraged the development of national-level indicators, based on the UN Programme of Action and the International Tracing Instrument, that could be used to measure progress in implementing SDG Target 16.4 to significantly recuce illicit arms flows.  

Moving forward, States undertook, in reporting on their implementation of the Programme of Action, to highlight progress made in implementing the relevant goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and to use national reports on their implementation of the International Tracing Instrument to support data collection for relevant SDG indicators, particularly on the seizure and tracing of illicit arms.  

Support for ISACS

As was the case during BMS5 in 2014, the utility of international standards and guidelines such as ISACS featured strongly during BMS6 plenary debates and side-events.  In official working papers and conference statements, a number of governments—including AustriaGermany, the EU and CARICOMpromoted the widespred use of ISACS in order to help strengthen national controls over the full lifecycle of small arms and light weapons and prevent their diversion and misuse.  

In the outcome document of BMS6, which was adopted by consensus, States "highlighted the utility of exchanging information on standards and practices they use to combat the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons” and, moving forward, encouraged "the utilization of good practices and lessons learned, including the voluntary use of standardized implementation guidelines for the full and effective implementation of the PoA.”  

FULL REPORT — Report of the Sixth Biennial Meeting of States to Consider 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 (A/CONF.192/BMS/2016/2)