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Statement by Ambassador Kelly at Arria Meeting on Small Arms and Light Weapons

Thank you Ambassador and our congratulations to Mexico on its national day. We would like to thank Mexico for convening this important meeting and would also like thank our briefers today for their excellent presentations, some of whom Ireland has had the pleasure of working with directly.


Illicit flows of SALW remain significant drivers of conflict and instability. They endanger civilians and peacekeepers, facilitate organised crime and terrorism, impede humanitarian assistance, and they facilitate human rights abuses including gender-based violence. They undermine peace, stability, and sustainable development.


It is vital that the Security Council maintains a consistent focus on these weapons and their impact.                 


So we see three areas, in particular, where we can do more.


Firstly, we should promote synergies across the various UN initiatives in this area to better use the tools that we already have – from Resolution 2220, to the Programme of Action on SALW, the Arms Trade Treaty, and the Secretary General’s Agenda for Disarmament, as well as regional initiatives such as “Silencing the Guns”.


To address the security impacts, humanitarian consequences and human rights impact of these weapons we should implement the recommendations of the Secretary General’s biennial reports on small arms, including mainstreaming small arms issues into the work of the Security Council.


We need to make better use of the vital work of the ICRC, civil society, and researchers who are critical to ongoing action in this field.


Secondly, we know that the weapons have a particular impact on women and girls, including in terms of sexual and gender-based violence.


We also know that gender-responsive small arms control policies and programmes, where women participate at all levels of decision-making, have proven to be more successful and sustainable. We must learn from this experience, and ensure women’s full, equal and meaningful participation.


Integrating SALW considerations into the WPS Agenda should be a priority. And equally, the needs of children ought to be incorporated in gender-sensitive and age-sensitive programmes.


Thirdly, SALW are the most widely traded weapons and alongside ammunition are among the most vulnerable to illicit diversion. Embargoes are being circumvented, including through the diversion of national stockpiles.


Effective management of stockpiles of weapons and ammunition, and the tracing and elimination of illicit trafficking routes and points of diversion, is therefore essential.


Export controls, international cooperation and information-sharing are all critical, including to ensure the effectiveness of tracing, and addressing emerging challenges in the use of polymer materials, modular design and three-dimensional printing.


The work of effectively and collectively combating illicit trade in weapons has an important role to play in conflict prevention and resolution, the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the WPS Agenda.


So we will continue to work with partners in the Council and the General Assembly to accomplish these ends.

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