INTERNATIONAL SMALL ARMS CONTROL STANDARDS
About half of all homicides worldwide are committed with small arms, which translates into almost 230,000 deaths per year.
The illicit trade, accumulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons continues to fuel such armed violence in conflict-affected and fragile settings around the world. In many low- and middle-income countries suffering from chronically high homicide rates, firearms are used in up to three-quarters of illegal killings. Many of these weapons find their way into the hands of perpetrators through illicit channels, helped by inadequate (or inadequately enforced) laws and weak control mechanisms at the national level.
During 2014, UNDP, our UN partners, international and regional organizations and training institutes have used ISACS to assist the governments more than 50 countries […] to improve their own national controls over small arms and light weapons, or to assist other governments to do so.
But these deaths constitute only part of the burden of armed violence in addition to masses of other physical, psychological and material devastation. For every person killed with a small arm, many more are injured, traumatized, displaced or left without a means of income. Armed violence destroys lives and livelihoods. It breeds insecurity, fear and terror. It dissolves social cohesion and hinders the achievement of development goals. Whether in situations of conflict or crime, armed violence fuelled by illicit weapons imposes enormous burdens on States, communities and families.
UNDP works with States to combat the illicit trade, uncontrolled proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons. Alongside the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), UNDP leads the UN System in developing and rolling out International Small Arms Control Standards (ISACS). These standards provide practical guidance on establishing effective national controls over the full lifecycle of small arms and light weapons in order to reduce the risk of their falling into the hands of those who would misuse them.
During 2014, UNDP, our UN partners, international and regional organizations and training institutes have used ISACS to assist the governments more than 50 countries in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America & the Caribbean and South-East Europe to improve their own national controls over small arms and light weapons, or to assist other governments to do so.
Because ISACS were used as the basis of this assistance, beneficiary governments received consistent guidance that reflects internationally recognized practices for controlling small arms and light weapons to prevent their diversion and misuse. This support contributes directly to the reduction of armed violence and builds community security both of which are necessary for sustainable human development.
Examples of this work includes joint UNDP/UN efforts to build the capacity of the Federal Government of Somalia to manage arms imported under the partially suspended arms embargo and UNDP Bosnia & Herzegovina support of a successful small arms collection and destruction campaign. UNODA shows how the ISACS can be used to derive standard operating procedures and training materials on stockpile management and destruction tailored to the Latin American and Caribbean regions.
ISACS is widely recognized as a practical tool for strengthening national controls over the full lifecycle of small arms and light weapons
ISACS is widely recognized as a practical tool for strengthening national controls over the full lifecycle of small arms and light weapons. This was clearly demonstrated in June 2014, when 67 States called for the wider application of the standards during the 5th Biennial Meeting of States to consider implementation of the UN Programme of Action against the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.
Moving forward, UNDP will continue to work with our partners inside and outside of the UN to develop and support the use of international small arms control standards. We will encourage and assist UN partners, international and regional organizations and training institutes to integrate these standards into the support they provide to Member States.