Statement delivered by Ambassador Inigo Lambertini, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the Security Council meeting on the Report of the Secretary-General on Small Arms and Light Weapons —
Thank you, Mr. President.
At the outset, I would like to congratulate the Japanese Presidency on taking the initiative to convene todays’ briefing on this crucial topic. I also wish to commend Ms. Nakamitsu, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs for her insightful contribution to our discussion.
I reiterate Italy’s unwavering commitment in participating in multilateral efforts to fight the illicit trade of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW). We attach utmost importance to the universalization of the relevant multilateral instruments. The illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons constitute a very serious threat to peace and security throughout the world. The international community is well aware of the devastating consequences deriving from the widespread and illicit availability of these weapons: it contributes to instability, violence, insecurity and undermines the effectiveness of States’ development efforts. As the Secretary General pointed out in his latest report, only peaceful societies will achieve their desired level of sustainable development. This is also why the 2030 Agenda sets target 16.4 calling for a significant reduction in illicit arms flows.
The risk posed by illegal arms flows has constantly evolved and, nowadays, trafficking in weapons is not only associated with transnational organized criminal groups, but it is increasingly fueled by terrorist entities. The use of online marketplaces, including the Dark Web, to sell and acquire weapons and their components present further challenges for law enforcement agencies and national governments: the anonymity enabled by these platforms makes preventing illegal trade and linking it to specific individuals increasingly difficult.
Furthermore, over recent years, non-state actors have improved their capabilities to design and anufacture IEDs out of commercially available dual-use components.
In an effort to mitigate the threat of weapons falling into the hands of these malicious actors, last August, this very Council adopted resolution 2370 (2017), which not only represents a remarkable step forward in the fight against the scourge of terrorism but also a substantial commitment to prevent and detect the illicit supply of arms.
This resolution, the first of its kind, underscores the urgent need to adopt comprehensive measures aimed at, inter alia, enhancing Member States’ strategies to ensure the safe management of ammunition stockpiles, the implementation of marking and tracing procedures of weapons as well as the development of proper judicial and border-control capabilities.
Addressing the disposal of small arms and excess ammunition is critical in post-conflict contexts. I recall in this regard the ongoing efforts carried out in the Western Balkans by national authorities in partnership with UNDP, the European Union and the Regional Cooperation Council.
Illegal arms’ trafficking is a fundamental driver of violence and contributes to erode institutional stability and the rule of law. The Security Council has often addressed this scourge by mandating peace keeping operations to assist national authorities in controlling the flow of small arms, developing appropriate legal frameworks and improving policing capacities and practices. In Haiti MINUSTAH has played an important role in this regard, pairing such activities with an effective community violence reduction programme.
There are many crucial actions that Member States should undertake with the support and expertise of the United Nations and several tools that should be effectively deployed to tackle the illegal flows of arms.
In this regard, I would like to draw the attention on two important initiatives. Firstly, I wish to recall the relevance of the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, whose third Review Conference will be held in New York in June 2018. The Review Conference will constitute an opportunity to achieve concrete progress in countering the illicit trade of SALW, including by increasing the mobilization of all stakeholders in the security, arms control and development sectors, and by exploiting all the potential synergies between existing instruments.
Secondly, I would like to underscore the importance of the INTERPOL Illicit Arms Records and tracing Management System (iARMS). This tool enables information exchange and investigative cooperation between law enforcement agencies in relation to the international movement of illicit firearms, as well as licit firearms that have been used to perpetrate crimes. Along this line, let me express the crucial importance of the implementation of the International Tracing Instrument outlining requirements on marking, record-keeping, and international cooperation to trace illicit small arms and light weapons.
It is important to recall that illegal arms usually start off as legally produced and traded weapons. However, their diversion and irresponsible export can produce damaging effects and facilitate the spread of illegal flows. The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) constitutes a crucial instrument that has the potential to mitigate this risk by regulating the international trade in conventional weapons and making it more responsible and transparent. In addition, the Firearms Protocol, is a very powerful tool to our common objective, since its States Parties commit to adopt and implement a series of crime-control measures against the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, their parts and components and ammunition.
Italy stands ready to actively contribute to the international community’s efforts to curb the destabilizing accumulation and misuse of SALW and their ammunition and will continue to offer its cooperation to interested States and partners. In this respect, we welcome the review and update of the EU SALW strategy with due regard to the cross-cutting issues such as the analysis on the origins and dynamics of SALW trafficking and new technological developments to secure SALW and their ammunition and mitigate the risk of diversion.
Lastly, a specific reference to Africa. The African Continent is particularly affected by armed violence fueled by illicit SALW. In this regard, we support any initiative taken and owned by the States of the region, like the Kinshasa Convention. We encourage the signatories to fully implement this treaty, which provides a unique framework to address the specific issues of the Central African region. We fully support also the joint G7/African Union initiative on small arms control in the Greater Sahel Region as well as the Africa-wide Plan of Action aimed at implementing the 2018-2020 Road map ”Silencing the Guns”.