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The Small Arms Review Conference ends with no agreement.

Project Ploughshares
For the agricultural implement, see plowshare, for the anti-nuclear group, see Trident Ploughshares

This article or section needs sources or references that appear in reliable, third-party publications.
 staff participated in 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 small arms, firearms designed primarily to be carried and fired by one person and, generally, held in the hands, as distinguished from heavy arms, or artillery. Early Small Arms

The first small arms came into general use at the end of the 14th cent.
 and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (Review Conference), which was held in New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
 from June 25 to July 7. Ken Epps was an advisor to the Canadian government delegation. Lynne Griffiths-Fulton represented Project Ploughshares and the Small Arms Working Group Small Arms Working Group (SAWG) is an alliance of U.S.-based non-governmental groups (NGO) working together to promote change in U.S. and international policies on small arms.  of the Canadian Peacebuilding Coordinating Committee and also took part in activities organized by the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Network on Small Arms (ENSA ENSA Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture (French)
ENSA Enterprise Network Storage Architecture (Compaq)
ENSA Entertainments National Service Association (WWII-era UK organization) 
). The meeting was the first review of the 2001 Programme of Action (PoA) and provided an opportunity for states to discuss and agree on further action that is needed to fully implement the PoA. Unfortunately, the Review Conference ended without a final agreement.

Lead-up to the Review Conference

In the days before the Review Conference began, there was a mood of cautious optimista. Both nongovernmental organizations Transnational organizations of private citizens that maintain a consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. Nongovernmental organizations may be professional associations, foundations, multinational businesses, or simply groups with a common interest in  (NGOs) and states were buoyed up by the fact that after the January 2006 Preparatory Committee, President-designate Ambassador Prasad Prasāda (Sanskrit: प्रसाद), prasād/prashad (Hindi), Prasāda in (Kannada), prasādam (Tamil), or prasadam  Kariyawasam had held a series of meetings with states in different regions. In May, a draft outcome document was issued (Kariyawasam 2006). The document was quite comprehensive and laid out an ambitious and progressive plan for work and discussion at the Review Conference. It referred to such contentious issues as small arras Arras (äräs`), city (1990 pop. 42,715), capital of Pas-de-Calais dept., and historic capital of Artois, N France, on the canalized Scarpe River.  transfers and transfers to non-state actors, the link between small arms and development, and regulating civilian possession of small arms. The lobbying efforts of NGOs had a significant influence on the wording of the document.

Canadian NGOs urged our government to take a leading role at the Conference. The Canadian delegation went to the Conference with a mandate to negotiate text on:

* national regulations to reduce the misuse of small arms by civilians;

* national standards to control the use of small arms by state officials and security agents;

* securing essential stockpiles and safely disposing of surplus stocks;

* identifying and addressing the factors that lead to the demand for small arms;

* strategies to collect and efficiently administer resources required by states to effectively implement the PoA;

* an inter-sessional program of work to ensure that small arms were accorded the necessary time and attention for full implementation; and

* a process that would lead to global principles on small arms transfers.

The Review Conference begins

In the statement that opened the Review Conference, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan Kofi Atta Annan (born April 8, 1938) is a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1 1997 to January 1 2007, serving two five-year terms. He was the co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001.  highlighted the impact of rampant weapons proliferation proliferation /pro·lif·er·a·tion/ (pro-lif?er-a´shun) the reproduction or multiplication of similar forms, especially of cells.prolif´erativeprolif´erous

 and misuse, including loss of earnings, disrupted economies, and strained health and social services social services
Noun, pl

welfare services provided by local authorities or a state agency for people with particular social needs

social services nplservicios mpl sociales 
. Earlier in the morning, he had received the Million Faces Petition of the Control Arms campaign Control Arms is a campaign jointly run by Amnesty International, IANSA and Oxfam International.

The campaign focuses on the international trade in arms, arguing that the lack of controls on the arms trade is fuelling conflict, poverty and human rights abuses worldwide.
, the world's largest photo petition. In his speech he noted the role civil society actors had played in the implementation of the PoA and stressed the need to engage them at the Review Conference:
   Our priorities are effective enforcement, better controls
   and regulation, safer stockpiling, and weapons collection
   and destruction. Our targets remain unscrupulous arras
   brokers, corrupt officials, drug trafficking syndicates,
   criminals and others who bring death and mayhem into
   our communities, and who ruin lives and destroy in
   minutes the labour of years. To halt the destructive
   march of armed conflict and crime, we must stop such
   purveyors of death. This is an ambitious--but achievable--goal.
   The Programme of Action has already provided
   us with a framework. Now, it is up to all of us,
   States, international and regional organizations, and
   civil society participants, to realize its aims.

In their opening statements, most states advocated a stronger PoA and its full implementation. As one speaker noted, "We also need to bear in mind that those countries most affected by the proliferation and misuse of SALW SALW Small Arms and Light Weapons  as well as international public opinion would hold this conference responsible for a weak result." Some states outlined specific mechanisms. Canada's intersessional program of work was noted with approval.

On the other hand, many governments also emphasized the hurdles on the road to full implementation of the PoA: the need for updated legislation, better stockpile stock·pile  
A supply stored for future use, usually carefully accrued and maintained.

tr.v. stock·piled, stock·pil·ing, stock·piles
To accumulate and maintain a supply of for future use.
 management and security procedures, agreement on transfers, regulating brokers, and regular, timely reporting by states. All these efforts need more international cooperation and donor funding.

Cracks begin to show

The basic separation of states into two camps--those who wanted to see the Review Conference result in a progressive outcome document that would strengthen the PoA, and those who were only going to back a reiteration of the existing document--began to appear with the issuance of the first revision of the President's draft outcome document (A/CONE 192/2006/RC/WP.4). Many paragraphs were deleted from the original draft. The preambular section was decimated. Coalitions came together around the reinsertion reinsertion,
n the reimplantation and splinting of a tooth into the alveolus after dental trauma, such as avulsion, or following removal of the tooth.
 or exclusion of key issues: specific commitments related to small arms transfers, the link between development and small arms control, human rights, respect for international humanitarian law International humanitarian law (IHL), also known as the law of war, the laws and customs of war or the law of armed conflict, is the legal corpus "comprised of the Geneva Conventions and the Hague Conventions, as well as subsequent treaties, case law, , assistance to survivors, the gender dimensions of armed violence, controlling ammunition, and the specific impact on children.

Follow-on mechanisms are, arguably ar·gu·a·ble  
1. Open to argument: an arguable question, still unresolved.

2. That can be argued plausibly; defensible in argument: three arguable points of law.
, the most critical element to full implementation of the PoA. On this issue there was some positive movement. The majority of states agreed on the need for a focused, comprehensive, and strengthened implementation process. The draft called for Action Implementation Meetings to replace the biennial meetings of the original follow-on process. These meetings would be more focused discussions with concrete mandates to promote implementation of the PoA and to make recommendations for the General Assembly and Review Conference that would take place in 2012. However, the draft did not take into account the need for the future Review Conference to also review relevant instruments that might be established by that time, such as an instrument on brokering and ammunition.

Throughout the conference, Canada forthrightly pushed for an informal intersessional process that would complement and enhance the formal follow-on process. The Netherlands also spoke for an elaborated process.

A group of countries, led by Kenya and Britain, proposed a set of guidelines for small arms transfers based on international human rights and humanitarian law. These principles were very much in keeping with the draft Arms Trade Treaty and would ensure that small arms were not transferred to countries where they would be used to carry out human rights violations or where armed conflict was already ongoing.

The Netherlands lobbied strongly for linking development and small arms in the outcome document and was supported by many states, particularly from the South.

The International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA IANSA International Action Network on Small Arms ) made forceful presentations on five issues that members, including Project Ploughshares, felt the outcome document should include: transfer controls, national firearms legislation, links to development, assistance to survivors, and follow-on mechanisms. Countering IANSA's demand that national regulation be included were gun-lobby groups from Canada, New Zealand New Zealand (zē`lənd), island country (2005 est. pop. 4,035,000), 104,454 sq mi (270,534 sq km), in the S Pacific Ocean, over 1,000 mi (1,600 km) SE of Australia. The capital is Wellington; the largest city and leading port is Auckland. , Brazil, Australia, and the US, which had three National Rifle Association National Rifle Association (NRA)

Governing organization for the sport of shooting with rifles and pistols. It was founded in Britain in 1860. The U.S. organization, formed in 1871, has a membership of some four million. Both the British and the U.S.
 members in its official delegation.

As high-level statements continued into the second week, the real work was being done behind the scenes by NGOs, delegates, and facilitators. Although there were certainly obstacles, some hope remained that the process could be brought back on track.

It all falls apart

The third iteration One repetition of a sequence of instructions or events. For example, in a program loop, one iteration is once through the instructions in the loop. See iterative development.

(programming) iteration - Repetition of a sequence of instructions.
 of the outcome document was a real step backwards. There was no link between development and small arms, no recognition that illicit trafficking and proliferation of small arms fuel human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law, no reference to global guidelines on transfer controls, and no reference to the human costs. References to national laws to stem misuse and a commitment to develop best practices on stockpile and destruction had been deleted. Many NGO NGO
nongovernmental organization

Noun 1. NGO - an organization that is not part of the local or state or federal government
nongovernmental organization
 analysts felt that this version could weaken the PoA itself.

At the end of the second week there were still diverging di·verge  
v. di·verged, di·verg·ing, di·verg·es

1. To go or extend in different directions from a common point; branch out.

2. To differ, as in opinion or manner.

 views on too many issues. Unfortunately, there was some confusion among delegates about the negotiation process, facilitators the President had appointed were not always available, and a handful of spoiler spoiler: see airplane.

1. spoiler - A remark which reveals important plot elements from books or movies, thus denying the reader (of the article) the proper suspense when reading the book or watching the movie.
 states took advantage of the consensus-based process. Finally, the President gave up trying to reach consensus on an outcome document.

In his press release, the Secretary-General noted that the Review Conference did succeed in "recalling the issue of small arms and light weapons to the attention of the international community, which clearly remains committed to the Programme of Action as the main framework for measures to curtail the illegal trade in these weapons." But without agreement on follow-up actions is that enough for the hundreds of thousands of people who continue to live in fear of gun violence?

What happens now?

The PoA remains intact. The control and reduction in numbers in numbered parts; as, a book published in numbers.

See also: Number
 of small arms are still a priority for many NGOs and the vast majority of states.

The UN's First Committee on Disarmament may become the forum to move small arras issues forward. Resolutions at the First Committee will be voted on in the General Assembly and, as it is not bound by consensus, there is a greater likelihood that resolutions will be passed. In recent years, Japan, South Africa South Africa, Afrikaans Suid-Afrika, officially Republic of South Africa, republic (2005 est. pop. 44,344,000), 471,442 sq mi (1,221,037 sq km), S Africa. , and Colombia have sponsored an "omnibus" resolution on small arras. This year the omnibus resolution could include features that garnered widespread support at the Review Conference.

The relationship between development and small arms is an issue that might get some traction at the First Committee and will most likely be carried forward by the Netherlands. In its final statement at the Review Conference Canada also suggested that it would hold an informal international meeting to address key small arms issues, especially transfer principles. Lessons learned over the five years since the first Review Conference have shown that some of the most progressive steps have been taken at the regional level.

Work still needs to be done to ensure that the Marking & Tracing Agreement of 2005 is implemented. States, including Canada, must exert pressure to ensure that the Group of Governmental Experts on Brokering that was mandated by the General Assembly in 2005 begins work by November.

There was growing agreement at the Review Conference that a separate process on ammunition would be welcome. This process should be championed by one or more states and could begin outside the UN system.

A significant development since the Review Conference has been the drafting of a resolution for states to begin negotiations on an Arms Trade Treaty that would regulate all conventional arras transfers, including small arms. So far, seven countries--the UK, Costa Rica Costa Rica (kŏs`tə rē`kə), officially Republic of Costa Rica, republic (2005 est. pop. 4,016,000), 19,575 sq mi (50,700 sq km), Central America. , Australia, Argentina, Finland, Kenya, and Japan--have co-sponsored the resolution, which will be voted on at the General Assembly. Unfortunately, the draft does not mention states' obligations under existing human rights law to keep weapons out of the hands of human rights violators.

Project Ploughshares will continue to collaborate with our colleagues around the world and to work with the Canadian government to assist other states in implementing the PoA and to preserve a place of high priority for small arms control on the Canadian foreign policy agenda.


Full documentation of the conference can be found by going to the Project Ploughshares website ( and clicking on the United Nations Small Arms Review Conference 2006 icon.

Kariyawasam, Prasad 2006, President's non-paper for informal consultation purposes, 18 May. presidents-composite-text18-may-06.pdf.

The Control Arms campaign and an Arms Trade Treaty

A three-year effort to construct and deliver the "Million Faces Petition" to the UN Secretary-General did not produce the hoped-for agreement on global transfer principles during the UN Review Conference. Nevertheless, the Control Arms campaign behind the petition has drawn worldwide attention to the problem of irresponsible arms transfers and campaign organizers are determined to press on. The campaign will now focus on the early stages of proposed global treaty negotiations that would go beyond small arms and light weapons to transfer controls on all conventional weapons, the original goal of the campaign.

The campaign is pressing governments to support a resolution drafted by a group of seven countries, led by the UK, and expected to be tabled at the First Committee of the UN General Assembly this fall. The resolution calls for the UN Secretary-General to establish a group of governmental experts "to examine the feasibility, scope and draft parameters for a comprehensive, legally binding instrument establishing common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms." If the resolution is passed by a majority vote, the group of experts would likely meet in 2008 and report by the end of that year.

While many governments (including Canada) have announced support for the negotiation of an Arms Trade Treaty, opposing states could block progress if the resolution is not passed by a significant majority. The campaign will help sponsors garner states' support for the resolution, while calling for improvements to the reporting timeframe and mandate of the group of governmental experts.

During 2007 the Canadian government is planning to host an informal, intersessional meeting that would discuss global principles for small arms transfers. Although this meeting is intended to support the politically binding UN Programme of Action on small arms, the results could be beneficial to the governmental experts who are studying a legally binding treaty.

For more information about the Control Arms campaign visit For information about the efforts of Project Ploughshares to control small arms, go to http://www. The lead agencies in the Control Arms campaign are Oxfam, Amnesty International Amnesty International (AI,) human-rights organization founded in 1961 by Englishman Peter Benenson; it campaigns internationally against the detention of prisoners of conscience, for the fair trial of political prisoners, to abolish the death penalty and torture of , and the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), to which Ploughshares belongs.

Progress since 2001

Although much remains to be done, some significant initiatives have been undertaken at the national, regional, and global levels since the adoption of the Programme of Action in 2001:

* National legislation to control the illegal trade in small arms has been strengthened in more than 50 countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, Germany, Mauritius, Nicaragua, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. Reforms are underway in many other countries.

* Three legally binding regional agreements have been adopted in Africa: the "Nairobi Protocol" on firearms, covering East Africa and the Great Lakes Region The Great Lakes region can refer to:
  • Great Lakes region (North America)
  • African Great Lakes region
; a Southern African Development Community The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is an inter-governmental organization. It furthers socio-economic cooperation and integration as well as political and security cooperation among 15 southern African countries. It complements the role of the African Union.  (SADC SADC Southern African Development Community
SADC State Agriculture Development Committee
SADC St Albans District Council (administrative authority for St Albans, Hertfordshire, UK)
SADC Sector Air Defense Commander
) Protocol; and the Economic Community of West African West Africa

A region of western Africa between the Sahara Desert and the Gulf of Guinea. It was largely controlled by colonial powers until the 20th century.

West African adj. & n.
 States (ECOWAS ECOWAS Economic Community Of West African States ) Convention on Importation and Manufacture of Light Weapons.

* More than 60 countries have collected and destroyed large numbers of illegal small arms. Weapons have been destroyed in "Flames of Peace" bonfires in Burundi, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC DRC Democratic Republic of Congo
DRC Down (Stage) Right Center
DRC Director(ate) of Reserve Components
DRC Disability Rights Commission (United Kingdom) 
), Ghana, Haiti, Rwanda, Senegal, and South Africa; crushed by steamrollers, bulldozers, and tanks in Brazil, Macedonia, Paraguay, and Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (srē läng`kə) [Sinhalese,=resplendent land], formerly Ceylon, ancient Taprobane, officially Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, island republic (2005 est. pop. ; dismantled in Argentina, Costa Rica, Timor-Leste, and Uganda; and discarded in deep water in Senegal. Other cost-effective and environment-friendly methods have also been used.

* UN peacekeeping operations have developed and implemented disarmament, demobilization de·mo·bil·ize  
tr.v. de·mo·bil·ized, de·mo·bil·iz·ing, de·mo·bil·iz·es
1. To discharge from military service or use.

2. To disband (troops).
, and reintegration reintegration /re·in·te·gra·tion/ (-in-te-gra´shun)
1. biological integration after a state of disruption.

2. restoration of harmonious mental function after disintegration of the personality in mental illness.
 programs in such post-conflict countries as Burundi, DRC, Liberia, Sierra Leone Sierra Leone (sēĕr`ə lēō`nē, lēōn`; sēr`ə lēōn), officially Republic of Sierra Leone, republic (2005 est. pop. 6,018,000), 27,699 sq mi (71,740 sq km), W Africa. , Cambodia, Central African Republic Central African Republic, republic (2005 est. pop. 3,800,000), 240,534 sq mi (622,983 sq km), central Africa. The landlocked nation is bordered by Chad (N), Sudan (E), Congo (Kinshasa) and Congo (Brazzaville) (S), and Cameroon (W). , and Guinea-Bissau.

* In December 2005, the UN General Assembly adopted the International Instrument to Enable States to Identify and Trace, in a Timely and Reliable Manner, Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called this instrument the most significant UN achievement in 2005 in fighting the illicit trade in small arms.

* The United Nations Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition came into force in July 2005. The first legally binding global instrument on small arms, this Protocol supplements the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime In 2000 the United Nations adopted the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, also called the Palermo Convention, and the two Palermo Protocols thereto:
 and is expected to become a useful tool for law enforcement in the countries that ratify it.


Project Plougshares is a member of the Ecumenical Network on Small Arras that is coordinated by the World Council of Churches (WCC WCC n abbr (= World Council of Churches) → COE m (Conseil œcuménique des Églises)

WCC n abbr (= World Council of Churches) → Weltkirchenrat m
). During the Review Conference, ENSA members met together to discuss the future role of ecumenical agencies in controling small arms. ENSA members represent most regions of the world and are engaged in significant policy development and community safety programs.

The first evening of the conference Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, and Christians participated in a Multi-Religious Service organized by the New York WCC office. Based on the theme "Claiming Hope: To Control Arms," the event included speakers from the UN, the diplomatic community, and ENSA. ENSA also organized a side-event entitled "The Lethal Trade: A Spiritual Perspective." As well, Bishop Dinis Sengulane of the Christian Council Christian Council may refer to:
  • Christian Biblical Council, a splinter group of The Way International
  • Christian Council of Britain, an organisation formed to defend Britain's Christian heritage and national identity from Islam and political correctness
 of Mozambique provided a faith-based perspective at the IANSA presentations and was on hand during the Control Arms campaign activities.

In response to the disappointing conclusion of the conference, ENSA issued this prayer:
   One death per minute ...
   Am I my brother's and sister's keeper?
   One bullet to kill hope, to destroy life ...
   Am I my brother's and sister's keeper?
   More words, debates, recommendations ...
   Am I my brother's and sister's keeper?
   Let us together find ways forward creating a secure world,
      favourable to development and to Life.
   Let us pray to GOD to provide us with the courage and
      wisdom to be the keeper of our brothers and sisters.
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Author:Griffiths-Fulton, Lynne
Publication:Ploughshares Monitor
Article Type:Conference notes
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Sep 22, 2006
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