Defend International (DI) co-founder, Dr. Widad, addressed the UN Fourth 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, which was held in New York in June 2010. DI speech roused a lot of attention among member states and civil society organisations. DI represents the voices and experiences of civil society in the MENA region.
2010 Biennial Meeting of States on Illicit Trade in SALW
DI was accredited by the UN to attend the Fourth 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 (BMS4) which is part of the follow-up process to the 2001 Conference on the same issue. It is worth mentioning that DI has been accredited for previous BMS meetings.
This year, Mexican Ambassador Pablo Macedo was the chairperson-designate for the 2010 BMS. Representatives of accredited organisations were again allowed to address the Conference during one meeting specifically allocated for this purpose. NGOs from 55 countries were requested to coordinate and decide among themselves which representatives were to be appointed to address BMS4. Co-founder of Defend International, Dr. Widad, was one of the nine chosen speakers at this platform.
She shared her views on the importance of a “Culture of Peace,” expressing her concerns about the proliferation of illicit trade in SALW, which has significantly intensified armed conflicts and made the proliferation of peace difficult to achieve. “Armed violence and peace cannot coexist. We need to overcome the challenges and seek practical solutions. We must replace the culture of war with the culture of peace,” Dr. Widad said. Her speech was well received and roused a lot of attention among member states and civil society organisations.
Important points on the agenda of BMS 2010
* Consideration of the implementation of the Programme of Action in all its aspects at the national, regional and global levels, including:
- Prevention and combating of illicit trade in small arms and light weapons across borders;
- International cooperation and assistance;
- Strengthening of the follow-up mechanism on preventing, combating and eradicating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, and preparations for the 2011 Experts Group meeting and the 2012 Review Conference;
* Other issues, including, inter alia, the promotion of a dialogue and a culture of peace by encouraging education and public awareness programmes on the problems of the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects.
* Consideration of the implementation of the International Instrument to Enable States to Identify and Trace, in a Timely and Reliable Manner, Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons.
In addition to the formal hearings and meetings, side events took place in the North Lawn Building (NLB):
- “Presentation of the Small Arms Survey Yearbook 2010,” organised by the Permanent Mission of Switzerland.
- “SALW Assistance and Aid Effectiveness: Opportunities and Challenges,” organised by UNIDIR.
- “Launch of the Global Small Arms and Armed Violence Web knowledge Base” – Gun.policy.org
- “Gender and the PoA: including all voices,” hosted by ODA Regional Branch.
During this event, the UN Office For Disarmament Affairs – published the “Mainstreaming Gender for the Effective Implementation of the UN PoA.” This document (29 pages) is an update of the 2006 CASA Guidelines. As an active participant of the 4th UN Biennial Meeting of States on Small Arms, Defend International has contributed to this document. DI provided perspectives, field-based experience and region-specific inputs which were added to pages 8, 9, 10, 16, 23, 24 and 27.
The Outcome Document of BMS 2010
On 18 June 2010 the draft Outcome Document was finalised by UN Member States. The “gender perspectives” was included in Section III: “Other issues, and the identification of priority issues or topics of relevance in the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects and of their implementation challenges and opportunities.”
DI Photo Gallery of 2010 Fourth Biennial Meeting of States on Small Arms
14-18 June 2010
UN Headquarters in New York
Note: After receiving numerous inquiries from media outlets, Defend International found it necessary to note that the photos published above are released into the public domain.