Regional preparatory meeting for Asia-Pacific States held in Nepal in the lead up to the Fourth Review Conference on the Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons

فبراير 14th, 2024

 From 23 to 25 January, the  UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (UNRCPD) organized a preparatory meeting for Asia-Pacific States in Kathmandu in preparation for the Fourth Review Conference to assess progress made in the implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) in All Its Aspects (PoA) and its International Tracing Instrument (ITI). The Fourth Review Conference (RevCon4) is scheduled to take place from 17 to 28 June 2024 in New York.  The objective of the regional preparatory meeting was to prepare States for their participation In RevCon4 and to identify regional priorities and challenges with regard to the implementation of the PoA and its ITI.

The organization of this preparatory event is a part of UNODA’s global project, funded by the European Union (EU Council Decision 2022/65), [1] for the purpose of  supporting States in the full and effective implementation of the PoA and its ITI.

Eighty-five participants gathered at the Kathmandu Marriot Hotel for a three-day Regional Preparatory Meeting of the Fourth Review Conference on the UN PoA on SALW.

The regional preparatory meeting, co-hosted with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nepal, drew 85 participants (31 women, 54 men), including government officials, civil society representatives and officials from relevant UN agencies. Twenty-three countries were represented, namely: Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam. The following International/national non-governmental organizations and civil society organizations also attended: Ban Landmines Campaign Nepal (BLCN), Mines Advisory Group (MAG), Nepal Center for Security Governance (NCSG), Nonviolence International Southeast Asia (NISEA), Small Arms Survey (SAS), Sustainable Peace and Development Organization (SPADO), Women for Peace and Democracy Nepal (WPDN). An official from the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) also attended.

 In his opening remarks, Hon. Mr. N.P. Saud (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nepal) cited the gathering as an exemplar of a successful regional dialogue covering sensitive issues such as security and arms control.  Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu, Under-Secretary General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, H.E. Ms. Maritza Chan-Valverde, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the United Nations, President-designate of RevCon4, Ms. Hanna Singer Hamdy, UN Resident Coordinator in Nepal, and Ms. Joelle Hivonnet, Minister Counsellor, Deputy Head of the European Delegation to Nepal, also spoke.

Opening remarks delivered by Ms. Joelle Hivonnet (Minister Counsellor, Deputy Head of the European Delegation to Nepal), Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu (Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs), Hon. Mr. N.P. Saud (Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nepal), H.E. Ms. Maritza Chan-Valverde (Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the United Nations, President-designate of Rev Con4), Ms. Hanaa Singer Hamdy (UN Resident Coordinator in Nepal). On extreme left- Mr. Deepayan Basu Ray (Director of UNRCPD).

Through interactive breakout groups and Q&As with the President-designate of RevCon4, the meeting aimed to foster a dynamic exchange on a number of key themes likely to be considered at RevCon4, including international cooperation and assistance, new technology, linkages between small arms control and sustainable development and target-setting.

Group discussion.

Other topics discussed included challenges and opportunities presented by the use of new technologies in SALW manufacturing; the regional dimensions of illicit trafficking; and the importance of well-structured implementation efforts, with a focus on target-setting and measurability.

Ms. Laurie Mincieli (Political Affairs Officer, Conventional Arms Branch, UNODA), Ms. Ida Scarpino (Political Affairs Officer, UNRCPD), Mr. Llewelyn Jones (Regional Director Asia-Pacific, Mines Advisory Group) and Ms. Sharmini Shadagopan (Programme Manager, Mines Advisory Group Sri Lanka).

 A number of cross-cutting issues, such as the negative impact illicit small arms have on sustainable development, were also addressed by participants. Attendees shared insights on how States can effectively integrate SALW control into sustainable development and cooperation frameworks as well  how to integrate other agendas such as Women, Peace, and Security.

UNRCPD and state delegates

The regional preparatory meeting also featured a “reporting clinic” to address the challenges faced by States in regularly submitting national reports.

The final day of the regional meeting included a panel on the recently adopted  “New Global Framework for Through-life Conventional Ammunition Management”.  The panel was composed of the President-designate H.E. Ambassador Ms. Maritza Chan-Valverde, the Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu, and the Director of UNRCPD, Mr. Deepayan Basu Ray. Panelists provided an in-depth overview of the New Global Framework, situating it within the broader context of the implementation of the PoA/ITI. The panelists then participated in a Q&A session.