First Committee of the 69th Session of the General Assembly- 9 October 2014

Statements were made on the topics of small arms and light weapons (SALW) and the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) by Chile, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Georgia, Iraq, Ireland, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Lesotho, Nigeria, Norway, People’s Republic of China, South Africa, Turkey and Venezuela on the 9 October 2014 at the First Committee of the 69th Session of the General Assembly.


Iraq and People’s Republic of China expressed the necessity of all conventions in respect to SALW, with Iraq noting that the proliferation of arms is a threat no less than the threat of weapons of mass destruction.

Lesotho, Iraq, Turkey, Venezuela, Nigeria, South Africa, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Qatar discussed the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons (UNPoA) and its impact in curbing the illicit trade in conventional arms. These States reaffirmed their commitment to this key instrument with certain States- Turkey, Nigeria, and South Africa- emphasizing the importance of a full and effective implementation of the instrument. Lesotho and South Africa reinforced the crucial need for international cooperation and assistance on the proper implementation of the UNPoA. Lesotho stressed that international cooperation to date has not been fully effective due to impediments such as lack of predictable funding. Furthermore, Venezuela underscored the lack of political will by some States and thus emphasized the importance of both unilateral and multilateral efforts in implementing the instrument as strongly as possible. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia expressed the view that the UNPoA is a starting point and basis to strengthen further efforts to combat the illicit trade in arms.

Ecuador and Ethiopia welcomed the outcome document by consensus of the 5th Biennial Meeting of States Parties (BMS5) on the UNPoA. Ethiopia, Iraq and Nigeria stressed that the illicit transfer and misuse of SALW by unauthorized non-State actors and terrorist groups is a source of threat and great concern, and Ethiopia noted that the implementation of both international and regional commitments and treaty-based obligations in respect to combating this illicit trafficking is crucial. Ecuador and Turkey made reference to the success of the Second Review Conference on the UNPoA in 2012, with Ecuador reaffirming its commitments to the agreements set out in this Conference.


Lesotho, Iraq, Turkey, Yemen, Ireland, Georgia, Nigeria, Norway, Chile, and South Africa welcomed the adoption and entry into force at the end of this year of the milestone ATT and reaffirmed their support for the treaty. Ireland reaffirmed the importance of universal membership and international cooperation and assistance in implementing the treaty and Georgia acknowledged the potential the treaty has to eradicate the illicit arms trade. Chile stated the contribution the ATT is expected to have on the transparency of conventional arms trade. Norway welcomed the specific provision in the ATT relating to gender-based violence and emphasized the importance of translating this into practice on the ground.  Lesotho, Ireland and Nigeria expressed the importance of a treaty that is fair, robust and balanced, while Nigeria emphasized that the integrity of all States and not only those major exporting States be protected.

Yemen and Ecuador noted concerns with the ATT. Yemen acknowledged the treaty as a milestone but expressed its concerns regarding the interpretation of the treaty provisions, while Ecuador noted the adoption of the treaty was not by consensus as it had hoped. In addition, both States mentioned their hope that the treaty will be implemented in a non-discriminatory manner and that the sovereignty of States to acquire, manufacture, export, import, and retain conventional arms and their parts and components for their self-defense and security needs is not affected.

On the topic of gender equality, Chile discussed the crucial need for women to participate in disarmament processes and encouraged the implementation of mechanisms to allow this to occur.

Further, Chile expressed the vital role that civil society plays in the disarmament process and stressed the need for States to end their resistance on the inclusion of civil society.


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