In preparation of the Seventh Biennial Meeting of States on the United Nations Programme of Action on Small Arms (BMS7) and the Seventh Conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty (CSP7), the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) hosted five live webinars for staff members from regional and sub-regional organizations to learn about the role of gender in relation to small arms control.
From 17 May until 8 June 2021, the training series provided a space for representatives of regional and sub-regional organizations in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean to exchange on their work and activities to ensure that gender considerations are implemented across policies, programmes, and actions in the fight against small arms trafficking and misuse, in accordance with the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda.
During the webinars, participants, 47 women and 35 men, learned about good practices from all regions and analyzed the ways in which global policy frameworks can be translated into practical regional and national actions.
Each webinar had a specific thematic focus. The first centered on the role that disaggregated data plays in informing sound gender analysis on the different ways small arms and light weapons impact women, men, boys and girls differently. The United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SEESAC) provided perspectives and approaches on gender mainstreaming in South Eastern Europe, while the Mexican UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) spoke about household surveys that were conducted in Latin America and the Caribbean that revealed how safe people felt in relation to firearms possession within their communities. Concluding the first webinar, the African Development Bank Group presented on gender mainstreaming in fragile transition states.
The following webinar showcased work that various UN entities are undertaking to support States to implement global policy frameworks, including on the role of women in the fight against the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. UNODA and the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) introduced participants to different policy frameworks, including the UN Programme of Action on small arms, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. This was followed by a presentation from the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC), who examined the role of women in law enforcement in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region. Next, the UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (UNRCPD) discussed how small arms control is addressed in the Women, Peace and Security Action Plans in Nepal and Timor-Leste. Finally, the UN Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) presented its Forces of Change publication, which highlights the contribution of women to disarmament in the region.
At the third webinar, participants examined different approaches to operationalizing gender-responsive small arms control and ammunition management. After UNDP/SEESAC presented on the regional roadmap for small arms control in South Eastern Europe, UNLIREC showcased a roadmap to combat the illicit trafficking of firearms for the Caribbean region as well as its work on a specialized course on firearms investigations from a gender perspective. The UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC) discussed a monitoring and evaluation framework used in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) that incorporates gender sensitive approaches to small arms control. The Small Arms Survey, in closing, provided information on its research paper on Gender Dimensions of the Life-cycle Management of Ammunition.
The fourth webinar addressed small arms in the context of violence against women and the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. UN Women, followed by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), discussed ways in which small arms can contribute to gender-based violence and gave examples of efforts to combat conflict-related sexual violence in the Central African Republic. UNLIREC presented findings and recommendations from its normative studies on preventing violence against women through operationalizing small arms control in legal frameworks and examined possible response mechanisms in the region in response to the surge in violence against women during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fifth and final webinar highlighted the role of regional and sub-regional organizations and other vital stakeholders, including civil society. Representatives from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Regional Centre on Small Arms in the Great Lakes Region, the Horn of Africa and Bordering States (RECSA), the MenEngage Alliance DRC, youth activists and the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly showcased the importance of multi-stakeholder action for inclusive policy making in the area of small arms control.
The webinars, which were hosted on the Disarmament Education Dashboard, were part of UNODA’s global flagship project on gender and small arms, funded by the European Union (EU).