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General Statement of the Republic of Estonia at the third UN Conference to Review Progress Made in the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons, 19 June 2018

19.06.2018

Mr President,

At the outset, allow me to congratulate you on assuming the Presidency of the Third Review Conference of the UN Programme of Action. You can be assured of my delegation’s firm support towards your efforts to achieve a successful, comprehensive and balanced outcome of the meeting. Aligning ourselves fully with the statement of the European Union, we would like to highlight some issues in our national capacity.

Mr President,

Illicit trade, diversion and unauthorized use of small arms and light weapons (SALW) constitute a serious threat to peace and security, stability, growth and sustainable development in today´s world as these illegal practices contribute to armed violence, preventing crisis management efforts, destabilising entire regions and societies, fuelling organised crime and terrorism. We consider the Program of Action (PoA) and the International Tracing Instrument (ITI) as effective instruments to cope with these problems on the national, regional and international level, and it is important to update and ensure the relevance of these instruments.

Mr President,    

Estonia is committed to prevent and curb the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, and to the full implementation of the UN Program of Action as the universal framework on these matters.  Please allow me to emphasize some points of particular importance to Estonia regarding the Third Review Process.

We consider essential that the implementation of the PoA is supported by synergies with other relevant international instruments such as Arms Trade Treaty and UN Fire Arms Protocol, including on reporting obligations.   As controlling the supply of ammunition can have an immediate impact on the intensity of armed violence, we support adding prevention, combating and eradication of the illicit trade in ammunition to the scope of the PoA.

We are of the opinion that it is necessary to increase the effectiveness of the PoA and its ITI in light of developments in SALW technology, design, manufacture and trade.

Estonia endorses actions to promote the systematic tracing of seized illicit SALW, the exchange of information between law enforcement, custom agencies and arms control authorities on all levels, in accordance with national legislation, and the use of this information to identify and stop diversion.  The role of the PoA is vital in the fight against terrorism as the effective implementation of the PoA contributes to preventing the acquisition of SALW by terrorists.

We also highlight the role of responsible arms export control practices in preventing and combatting the illicit SALW trade.

The proliferation of small arms and light weapons has a disproportionate impact on women and girls, both domestically and in conflict settings. Therefore, it is important to promote the role of women in implementation of the PoA and gender awareness in SALW control actions as a condition for their effectiveness.

Finally, Estonia supports SALW control activities in conflict affected areas through increased role for the UN and regional peace support operations, the inclusion of assistance for arms embargo monitoring and stockpile management when defining their mandate. We also stress the important role played by regional organisations in implementing the PoA as well as for the involvement of civil society and industry in PoA related activities.

Thank you, Mr President.

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