As part of its regional project on women, peace and security (WPS), the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (UNRCPD) organized the “Workshop for South Asia on Gun Violence and Illicit Small-Arms Trafficking from a Gender Perspective”, from 18 to 21 September 2018 in Kathmandu. This was the project’s second Workshop, following the Workshop held two months earlier, in Bangkok, for Southeast Asian States.
The Workshop brought together representatives of leading national non-governmental organizations (NGOs) focused on gender issues and women’s empowerment, as well as members of parliaments (MPs) interested in arms-control and women issues. This included delegates from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Also participating were UN officials, WPS trainers from the Women’s Network of the International Action Network on Small Arms, as well as international expert speakers, inter alia from the Parliamentary Forum on Small Arms and Light Weapons. Through applying a gender perspective, the Workshop aimed to strengthen control of illicit small arms and light weapons and empower women in the region to take part in such efforts. It further sought to sensitize decision making processes by taking into consideration the distinct impact of gun violence on women.
UN officials explained key Security Council and General Assembly resolutions on WPS and the concept of gun-free zones, and they promoted relevant treaties and instruments such as the Arms Trade Treaty and the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects. Through training, practical exercises, small-group discussions and other interactive activities, the trainers generated engaged dialogues and encouraged the NGO representatives to initiate their own advocacy and awareness raising campaigns on combatting illicit small-arms trade.
Importantly, the Workshop also provided opportunities for NGOs and MPs from South Asian countries to exchange ideas, discuss strategies, and consider possibilities for joint initiatives to address challenges posed by illicit trade in small arms and its impact on women.
The Workshop is a contribution to the implementation of relevant resolutions of the UN General Assembly and the Security Council that have repeatedly called for a full and meaningful participation of women in peace, disarmament and arms control efforts. The Workshop also promoted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular Goal 5 on gender equality and Goal 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions.
The Workshop was funded by the United Nations Trust Facility Supporting Cooperation on Arms Regulation (UNSCAR).
For further information about this WPS project, please contact Aleksander Micic of UNRCPD at email address info ( at) unrcpd.org.