Let me begin by thanking Dr. Robin Geiss of UNIDIR and Ms. Maria Pia Devoto for their important insights and Mexico for convening today’s Open Debate.
For Norway it is paramount to contribute to reduce the human sufferings that is linked to the trafficking and diversion of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and their ammunition. Every year more than 200,000 lives are lost to small arms and light weapons and their ammunition. These weapons have serious humanitarian impacts and contribute to exacerbating conflict and pervasive crime globally.
Norway is particularly concerned about the impact these arms have on civilians. We must take steps to ensure the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women in our efforts to prevent the diversion and trafficking of SALW and recognize the gendered impacts of the illicit flows of these weapons.
Additionally, we must ensure that children are better protected from the harmful effects of these weapons. This is also relevant to the Council’s work on Children and Armed Conflict, as children are particularly vulnerable to small arms violence in situations of armed conflict, since they can be left more exposed to recruitment and use by armed forces and groups. Norway contributes to a better regulation of the global arms trade, leading to fewer weapons at large and less abuse of SALW and their ammunition. We are a state party to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and work with partners to bring more states on board in this vital global effort. Norway is also a major supporter of efforts to increase the capacity in states with weak national export controls systems and has contributed financially to the ATT’s Voluntary Trust Fund.
An emphasis on Weapons and Ammunition Management (WAM) and Physical Security and Stockpile Management can help prevent the flow of arms from the licit to the illicit realm. It is furthermore important to take an evidence-based approach and craft strategies through analysis of ongoing trends. They should be tailored to regional and national contexts.
Norway applauds such initiatives as the African Union’s Silencing the Guns, the Regional Centre on Small Arms, and various regional roadmaps in Latin America, the Caribbean and the Western Balkans for doing just this. We support the recommendations from the SG’s Seventh Biennial Report on Small Arms and Light Weapons.
The Security Council has the ability to specifically impact diversion and trafficking during active force and deployment operations. But we must not forget that the diversion of international transfers of arms and related items can happen at all stages in the transfer chain and life cycle of the arms. For this reason, it is necessary to be always vigilant, not just in conflict settings, in order to prevent diversion. We must all work together to ensure that we mitigate the negative impact on peace and security of diversion and trafficking of arms.