SC: Small arms and light weapons

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Ambassador Trine Heimerback in the Security Council meeting on Small Arms and Light Weapons, 6 October 2021.

Protection of civilians against violence and threats of violence is a core objective for this Council and for the mandates of peace-operations. The illicit flows of small arms and light weapons and their ammunition undermine the effectiveness of peace operations  and the availability of these weapons serves to sustain and exacerbate armed conflict and pervasive crime.

These dangers threaten both the civilians living in conflict affected areas and the peacekeepers who risk their lives to protect them, and may impede the delivery of humanitarian assistance. Children are disproportionately affected by small arms and light weapons and left vulnerable to injury, displacement, death, as well as to recruitment and use in armed conflict.

Illicit flows of small arms and light weapons have a particularly destabilizing effect - as they are weapons out of control in the hands of terrorist or other groups with agendas to further unsettle often fragile situations. Norway thus proposes the following:

Firstly, Norway encourages all Member States to support the Secretary-General's desire to mainstream small arms measures in other thematic areas, including the protection of civilians, human rights, counter-terrorism, organized crime, peacekeeping, and humanitarian assistance. All small arms and light weapons control initiatives should be carried out with due attention to the potential impacts on children. We must take steps to ensure the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women in small arms control and recognize the gendered impacts of the illicit flows of small arms and light weapons. A gender responsive small arms control can help us better address this threat to international peace and security. 

Secondly, the Security Council must promote an effective approach to weapons and ammunition management and continue to integrate it as a key pillar to support peace processes, good governance and the reduction of violence.

Special emphasis should be paid to a robust Physical Security and Stockpile Management.

Furthermore, support for national weapons and ammunition management efforts in the contexts of peace operations should be strengthened, as this will prevent the harmful effects of illicit flows of small arms and light weapons.

Thirdly, we must continue to prioritize support for peace and reconciliation efforts, since conflict parties will be less prone to resort to armed violence if they are involved in a constructive political process.

Fourthly, we must continue to build on existing efforts to tackle the illicit flow in small arms and light weapons and their ammunition, at the international, regional, sub regional and national levels. We have seen positive developments at the Seventh Biennial Meeting on Small Arms and at the Seventh Conference of State Parties under the Arms Trade Treaty , and can look to models such as the Regional Centre on Small Arms in the Great Lakes Region, Horn of Africa and bordering states and the African Union Silencing the Guns initiative.

Finally, we would like to thank Kenya and Mexico, for working together to ensure that this issue stays on the Council’s Agenda.

Norway will continue to support efforts aimed at curbing the illicit flows of small arms and light weapons. 

Thank you